AUGUSTA, Maine — The state’s Class B high school football ranks will have a different look this fall — and it also will have a different locale for its state championship game.
The football committee of the Maine Principals’ Association formalized a plan Tuesday that will involve the playing of state championship football games for Classes A, C and D at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland on Saturday, Nov. 23, after the Class B final on Friday evening, Nov. 22, at Alfond Stadium on the campus of the University of Maine in Orono.
This year’s Class B matchup will be the first state championship football game played at the University of Maine since South Portland defeated Oxford Hills of South Paris 24-10 in the 1999 Class A final.
The plan was necessitated this spring when the Maine Principals’ Association’s general membership approved the expansion of high school football in the state from three to four classes for the first time since the 1986 season.
Fitzpatrick Stadium has hosted three state championship games on the same day for more than a decade, but the addition of a fourth state final prompted discussion of several options, including the approach that first became public in June and was given committee approval during the panel’s pre-season meeting.
“Both facilities were interested and we talked about having two and two or all four [at one place],” said Todd Livingston, Maine Principals’ Association football committee chairman and athletic administrator at South Portland High School. “At least for this year, the one and three works, and just determining that rotation is the next step provided everything goes as it should.”
The Class A state final likely will remain in Portland every year given the geographic status of the teams in that division. Bangor is the only school north of Lewiston-Auburn in the reconfigured Class A, with nearly all of the other 15 schools in the division located within an hour or less of Fitzpatrick Stadium.
The state finals for Classes B, C and D are then expected to be put on a three-year rotation, with one of those games held in Orono each year provided there are no conflicts with University of Maine sports.
The expansion from three to four classes has resulted in significant changes in all classes for next season, including Class B.
Eastern Maine Class B teams this fall are Brunswick, Skowhegan, Messalonskee of Oakland, Cony of Augusta, Hampden Academy, Mt. Blue of Farmington, Lawrence of Fairfield, Brewer and Gardiner.
Western B teams hoping to earn the trip north this year are Gorham, Mount Ararat of Topsham, Falmouth, Marshwood of South Berwick, Kennebunk, Greely of Cumberland Center, Westbrook, Oceanside of Rockland-Thomaston, Fryeburg Academy, Morse of Bath and York.
Preseason football practices around the state begin Monday, Aug. 19, with season openers in all classes set to begin Friday, Sept. 6.
The Bangor chapter of the Maine Football Officials is looking for people who enjoy the sport and might be interested in joining.
Classes for prospective officials are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, in the lecture hall at Bangor High School.
The course is held on 11 consecutive Tuesdays, and new officials will be allowed and encouraged to officiate middle school and youth league games this fall once the basic rules are covered.
For more information, call Alan Kochis at 989-4372 or Allan Snell at 825-4515.
While the fall sports preseason in most of the state is nearly two weeks away, high school teams in Aroostook County are more than a week into their practice schedules as compensation for the potato harvest break that comes later in the season.
One of the bigger preseason events on the County calendar is the annual Presque Isle High school soccer round robin slated for Friday at the Gehrig T. Johnson Athletic Complex adjacent to Presque Isle Middle School.
Boys and girls teams from seven schools — Ashland, Caribou, Fort Fairfield, Fort Kent, Madawaska, Presque Isle and Van Buren — will compete beginning at 9 a.m. in a day of 25-minute mini-contests on the facility’s artificial surface as well as at two nearby natural grass fields.
The top two teams during the round-robin portion of the event will meet again for the play-day championship, with the girls’ match at 4:35 p.m. followed by the boys game at 5:15 p.m.
Rain date is Saturday, Aug. 10.
Dustin Cole, a 2013 first-team Bangor Daily News All-Maine guard from Bonny Eagle High School in Standish, has verbally committed to continue his basketball career at Division II Franklin Pierce College in Rindge, N.H., beginning in the fall of 2014.
That decision first was reported by www.newenglandrecruitingreport.com.
Cole, who will be a senior at Bonny Eagle this fall, was named the Southwestern Maine Activities Association player of the year last winter after leading the conference in scoring (28.6 ppg) and assists (6.0 apg).
The 5-foot-9-inch guard’s play also helped coach Phil Bourassa’s club reach the Western Maine Class A championship game for the third straight year.
Franklin Pierce, a member of the Northeast 10 Conference, finished last season with a 24-9 record after reaching the NCAA Division II Elite Eight under 14th-year head coach David Chadbourne, a graduate of Saint Joseph’s College in Standish.
Cole becomes the second player on his MBNation AAU squad to verbally commit to a Northeast 10 program in 2014. Isaiah Bess of LaGrange, who led Penquis Valley of Milo to the 2013 Class C state title, previously made a verbal commitment to attend Stonehill after his senior year of high school.