East seeks to turn title tide in football

By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 15, 2012, at 4:57 p.m.

The news has been rather ugly in recent years for Eastern Maine high school football fans when it comes to the biggest day of the season, Super Saturday at Portland’s Fitzpatrick Stadium.

The West swept the East in the three state championship games a year ago, winning the Classes A, B and C crowns by a combined score of 111-34.

In 2010 the results were much the same with the West winning all three games by a combined 100-14.

Not since Leavitt of Turner Center won the Class B title in 2009 has a gold ball in football been placed in any Eastern Maine trophy case.

In Class C the drought extends to John Bapst of Bangor’s victory over Winthrop in 2008, while in Class A the West boasts a dynastic hold on the state championship.

Since Bangor won it all in 1981, Western Maine teams have won 28 of the 30 Class A state finals — with the lone exceptions Bangor’s 20-14 win over Portland in 2001 and Lawrence of Fairfield’s 14-13 victory over Gorham in 2006.

That’s the bad news. The heartening news for Eastern Maine fans is that there’s reason to anticipate some reversals of fortunes this Saturday.

Class A: Lawrence has a senior-laden roster that largely only rarely was challenged by its Eastern Maine brethren this season, but in the big picture the numbers don’t lie. Not only has the West dominated in terms of wins and losses over three decades, but the East hasn’t come within single digits since Lawrence’s win six years ago.

And the last two years it’s been Cheverus of Portland 95, East 15.

Lawrence may threaten the West’s dominance, but it’s hard to argue the history.

Prediction: Thornton Academy 28, Lawrence 17.

Class B: Mt. Blue has been the leading light in Eastern B this fall, motivated by its double-overtime loss to Leavitt in last year’s EM final.

The Cougars boast offensive balance between the pass and run and a solid defense that will be tested by Marshwood of South Berwick’s Wing-T formation.

Marshwood returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2008 this year and survived all the challenges of a balanced Western Maine Class B field — the Hawks won their semifinal and regional final by a combined three points.

New Marshwood coach Alex Rotsko has plenty of postseason success on his resume, previously guiding Longmeadow (Mass.) High School to 15 straight Western Massachusetts Super Bowl appearances and winning 11, including last year.

Prediction: Mt. Blue 27, Marshwood 20.

Class C: Foxcroft Academy has been the cream of the LTC since the turn of the century, this being their seventh trip to the state final in the last 11 years with victories in 2003 and 2007.

The Ponies are the state’s highest-scoring team as well as one of its stingiest, outscoring opponents 514-48.

Yet Foxcroft also has been humbled, its 13-0 midseason loss at Bucksport reminding the Ponies nothing can be taken for granted.

Winslow represents an even more tradition-laden program, with just three head coaches and 10 state championships since 1958.

While the paper mills have vacated that community, the milltown work ethic remains within its football program, as reflected by a hard-nosed defense and power running game that are the hallmarks of this year’s team under 28th-year head coach Mike Siviski.

But Foxcroft may have too many weapons.

Prediction: Foxcroft 24, Winslow 14.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/11/15/sports/east-seeks-to-turn-title-tide/ printed on September 20, 2014