BANGOR, Maine — At the outset of the season, who would have predicted that Friday night’s Class D East football game between Mount View High School of Thorndike and Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield would be one of the most meaningful games on the Week Four schedule?
They combined for two wins a year ago with Mount View having both of them.
But they have already won five games between them, and they square off in Pittsfield with the opening kickoff slated for 7 p.m.
Maine Central Institute is 3-0 and sharing the division lead with Bucksport and Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln.
Mount View is 2-1.
“It’s exciting,” said MCI coach Tom Bertrand. “There’s a lot of parity in our league this season.”
On Saturday, the Bangor High School Rams will entertain a very good Portland High School team in a duel between 2-1 teams that have each beaten Deering of Portland and Edward Little of Auburn.
Mount View (2-1) at MCI (3-0), Alumni Field, 7 p.m.
MCI running back Jonathan Santiago is having a terrific junior season. He has scored 12 touchdowns and rushed for more than 500 yards.
“He’s having a great year. He’s fast, and he’s one of those kids who finds seams. Once he does, look out,” said Bertrand. “We look to him to make big plays.
“But this will be a game where we will have to grind it out a little bit more,” added Bertrand.
Bertrand said his Huskies will have their hands full.
“Mount View is a big, physical football team. They are certainly bigger than us. We’re going to have to be prepared for their size up front,” said Bertrand. “And they have a great running back in Steven Davis. He’s a really talented kid who runs hard. And they’re also able to throw the ball.”
Sophomore quarterback Greg Vigue has three primary targets in Tanner Littlefield, Mitchell Hallee and Austin Tolman. The league’s stingiest defense, which has allowed only 24 points, features linemen Brian Buzzell and Gus McWilliams and linebackers Jim Hall, Alex Bertrand and Nick Deckert.
Portland (2-1) at Bangor (2-1), Saturday, 1 p.m., Cameron Stadium, Bangor
The schedule-makers certainly didn’t do the Rams any favors by scheduling a talented Portland High School team as Bangor’s homecoming opponent.
The Bulldogs are the second-highest scoring team in all of Class A with 115 points in their three games thanks to a stable of quality running backs and a top-notch offensive line featuring center Steve Walsh, fleet-footed guards Luigi Grimaldi and Josh Sullivan and tackles Dominic DiMillo and Jake Dunton.
Running backs Justin Zukowski and Jayvon Pitts-Young have averaged more than 10 yards per carry behind that line.
“We expect a good football game,” said Portland coach Jim Hartman. “Bangor is a good team, a physical team. We’re going to have to make sure we hit [quarterback Xavier] Lewis when he runs the option.”
Bangor coach Mark Hackett said Portland has “as athletic a team as I’ve seen in all of my years coaching football.
The Rams have been led by Lewis, running back Logan Lanham, tight end Nick Ashey, linebacker Adam Allen and free safety James Deane. The Rams will be bolstered by the return of 230-pound fullback Jacob Lavoie, who missed last week’s win over Deering with an ear infection.
“We’re excited. We’re really looking forward to the challenge,” said Hackett.
Hampden Academy (2-1) at Gardiner (0-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
This may look like a mismatch on paper but Hampden Academy coach Kevin Canty isn’t going to let his Broncos take the youthful Tigers lightly.
“Gardiner is young, but they’re well-coached, and they’ve been able to move the ball,” said Canty.
Gardiner returned just two starters off last year’s 6-3 team and has been outscored 111-16. Although, its three opponents, Lawrence of Fairfield, Brunswick and Morse of Bath, are a combined 7-2.
The Broncos are coming off an impressive 32-26 win over Skowhegan, and senior quarterback Matt Martin is off to a sizzling start.
He has played in just two games and completed 26 of 43 passes for 554 yards and 11 touchdowns. And defensing the Broncos is made more difficult by the fact they spread the wealth among the receiving corps.
Four different Broncos have at least five receptions and 100 receiving yards: Austin Spencer (13 catches for 260 yards, 3 touchdowns), Matt Closson (9-250, 5 TDs), Tanner Bisbee (7-140, 2 TDs) and Dan Marquis (5-100, 3 TDs).
Martin has also run the ball 17 times for 125 yards.
Jeremy Kelsey (26 tackles), Billy Campbell (23) and Josh Hoch (18) anchor the defense.
Lawrence (2-1) at Cony (2-1), Friday, 7 p.m., Augusta
This should be an entertaining affair featuring Lawrence’s formidable running game against the aerial wizardry of dynamic Cony quarterback Ben Lucas, who threw for 444 yards (36-for-58) and six touchdowns in a 54-38 loss to Brunswick last week. Lawrence’s Beau Grenier (198 yards/9 carries, 5 TDs) and Ethan Powers (117 yards/17 carries, 2 TDs) each ran for over 100 yards in a 48-6 win over Brewer last week.
Mount Desert Island (2-1) at Belfast (1-2), Friday, 7 p.m., Belfast
This game features two of the top running backs in Class C East. MDI’s Teagan Candage scampered for 165 yards on just 15 carries in a 49-18 loss to Winslow last weekend, including TD runs of 80 and 55 yards, while Belfast’s Greg Clark racked up 163 yards on 16 carries against Foxcroft Academy. Winslow and Foxcroft are both undefeated. Belfast quarterback Zach Collier completed six of nine passes for 138 yards in the 28-27 loss to Foxcroft.
John Bapst (1-2) at Mattanawcook (3-0), Friday, 7 p.m., Lincoln
The Lynx, under first-year coach Bill McCarthy, have already won more games than a year ago behind A.J. MacEachern and Trysten Pelkey. They were 2-7 last season. They will look for their fourth win against the Crusaders, who have lost two straight.