Week 9 of the high school football season is Week 1 of postseason play in all divisions except the Pine Tree Conference Class A ranks, where unbeaten Lawrence of Fairfield has clinched the top seed while Brunswick, Cony of Augusta and Messalonskee of Oakland are all playoff-bound but battling for home-field advantage.
The Bangor Rams, meanwhile, will travel to Skowhegan on Friday night for a clash for fifth place in the final PTC Class A standings. While no playoff berth is at stake, both teams are 4-4 and riding two-game winning streaks, and the winner also will salvage a winning season from a slow start.
Here’s a look at the Eastern Maine quarterfinal matchups in Classes B and C:
No. 8 Mount Desert Island (4-4) at No. 1 Mt. Blue (8-0), 7 p.m. Friday at Farmington: In its second year since dropping from Class A, Mt. Blue completed its first unbeaten regular season since 1986. The Cougars, a PTC Class B finalist a year ago, defeated MDI in the 2011 quarterfinals and will be facing the Trojans for the fourth time overall in the last two seasons. Mt. Blue defeated MDI 47-15 at Farmington on Sept. 14. MDI will try to use its ground game to control the clock against a high-powered Cougars’ offense.
No. 7 Belfast (4-4) at No. 2 Leavitt (7-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Turner Center: Belfast is back in the playoffs for the second time in three years after reaching the 2010 semifinals. The Lions tied MDI for the seventh seed but won the tiebreaker by virtue of their come-from-behind 30-22 win over the Trojans on Sept. 28. Leavitt, the three-time defending PTC Class B champion, trounced Belfast 36-0 at home on Sept. 7.
No. 6 Waterville (4-4) at No. 3 Hampden Acad. (7-1), 7 p.m. Friday: This is one of two PTC Class B quarterfinals matching teams that did not meet during the regular season. Hampden has won seven straight since a season-opening loss to Leavitt, and the Broncos are averaging a robust 42.4 points per contest. Waterville, after a 3-1 start, has lost its last two games and three of its last four.
No. 5 Brewer (5-3) at No. 4 Gardiner (5-3), 7 p.m. Friday: Brewer is back in the Class B playoffs for the second straight year, edging Waterville for the fifth seed, thanks to its last-second win over the Purple Panthers in Week 7 before Hampden ended the Witches’ three-game winning streak with a 45-14 victory last Friday night. Gardiner has shown its strength even in defeat this fall with its losses coming by a combined 17 points to Mt. Blue, Leavitt and Hampden Academy — teams with a collective record of 22-2.
No. 8 Mattanawcook Acad. (2-6) vs. No. 1 Foxcroft Acad. (7-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Dover-Foxcroft: These teams meet at Oakes Field for the second straight week after Foxcroft’s 49-14 win over the Lynx last Friday night. Foxcroft and John Bapst of Bangor tied for the LTC’s No. 1 seed in the final Crabtree points, but the Ponies’ 40-0 Week 6 victory over the Crusaders was the tiebreaker. Foxcroft remains the state’s top-scoring club at 46.3 points per game, and its 35 points allowed during the regular season was second statewide to the 32 points yielded by Traip Academy of Kittery.
No. 7 Washington Acad. (3-5) vs. No. 2 John Bapst (7-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Husson University, Bangor: Washington Academy’s second varsity season produced its first playoff berth. John Bapst has successfully blended a pass-oriented offense with quickness on defense, a combination that helped the Crusaders finish their regular season with a convincing 49-18 win over No. 3 Orono. John Bapst defeated WA 27-0 in their Sept. 15 meeting, but it was just a 7-0 game at intermission.
No. 6 Stearns (4-4) at No. 3 Orono (6-2), 7 p.m. Friday: Orono and Bucksport tied in the final Crabtree points, but a 38-14 win over the Golden Bucks in Week 3 earned the Red Riots the third seed. Orono, an LTC finalist in 2011, handled Stearns of Millinocket 52-12 in Week 7 but lost fullback-linebacker Cam Mowrer to a concussion just before halftime in that game, and his return to the lineup is uncertain. Stearns ended a four-game losing streak last week with a 39-13 win at Washington Academy to edge the Raiders for the No. 6 seed.
No. 5 Dexter (6-2) at No. 4 Bucksport (6-2): 7 p.m. Friday: It’s a vastly different Bucksport team than the squad that won the 2011 LTC championship, but this year’s Golden Bucks displayed their championship potential with a 13-0 victory over previously unbeaten Foxcroft in Week 7. Dexter, meanwhile, is coming off its best regular season in a generation and will be making its first postseason appearance since 2009. Both teams enter the playoffs riding a hot hand, with Dexter winning its last four games and Bucksport sporting a three-game winning streak. These teams did not meet during the regular season.