The final weekend of regular-season play in Maine high school football features something for everyone — last chances to qualify for postseason play, opportunities to gain home-field advantage, battles for bragging rights atop conference standings and numerous traditional rivalries.
Mattanawcook Academy Lynx (7-0) at Bucksport Golden Bucks (7-0), 7 p.m. Friday: Relatively rare are the battles of the unbeatens reserved for the final week of the regular season.
Rarer still is Bucksport’s chance to play back-to-back undefeated teams in the final two weeks of the Little Ten Conference campaign after coach Joel Sankey’s club outlasted Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield 42-35 last Friday night.
The winner of this game will earn the No. 1 playoff seed, with Bucksport set to finish no worse than second in the standings and thus ensured of one of the two first-round byes in the conference’s six-team playoffs.
A Mattanawcook loss combined with a win by 6-1 MCI over Dexter on Friday night would require a coin flip Saturday to determine the No. 2 seed since all other tiebreakers between MA and MCI would be even, and they have not met this year.
If Mattanawcook and MCI both fall Friday night, MA would gain the No. 2 seed.
Like Bucksport, Mattanawcook also is coming off an exhausting Week 7 encounter when the Lynx outscored Dexter 50-44 in two overtimes.
Bangor Rams (3-4) vs. Oxford Hills Vikings (1-6), 7 p.m. Friday, at South Paris:
Bangor will seek to lock up the No. 4 seed in Eastern Maine Class A and the opportunity to host a first-round playoff game when it makes the long trip southwest to face an Oxford Hills team that hasn’t won since defeating Lewiston in Week 1.
Bangor is coming off back-to-back losses to Lewiston and undefeated Cheverus of Portland, and could use a victory to generate some momentum heading into a postseason matchup that likely will be against the winner of Friday night’s rivalry game in Auburn between Edward Little and Lewiston.
Brewer Witches (1-6) at Hampden Academy Broncos (4-3), 7 p.m. Friday:
Hampden may be locked into the sixth and final playoff berth in Eastern B after back-to-back losses to Cony of Augusta and Messalonskee of Oakland.
The Broncos share the same record as Messalonskee, Skowhegan and Mt. Blue of Farmington but trail those teams, as well as top-ranked Brunswick (6-1) and No. 2 Cony of Augusta (5-2) in the Crabtree point ratings because it has played the weakest schedule in the division — its opponents have a combined 20-35 record.
Mount Desert Island Trojans (5-2) at Old Town Coyotes (4-3), 7 p.m. Friday:
Two Eastern C teams with late-season momentum clash in a game with plenty on the line.
Both teams are playoff bound, but an MDI team coming off back-to-back victories over Foxcroft Academy and Waterville can finish as high as second in the division with a third straight victory over a winning opponent to close out its schedule.
Old Town currently is seeded seventh, but with No. 6 Nokomis ineligible for postseason play because it is a Class B school by enrollment that petitioned the Maine Principals’ Association to play a Class C schedule, the Coyotes are comfortably situated in the sixth and final playoff spot — with the chance to move up depending on how this weekend’s games play out.
Dexter Tigers (3-4) vs. Maine Central Institute Huskies (6-1), 7 p.m. Friday:
Coming off a narrow loss to Bucksport in their battle of the unbeatens last weekend, MCI has to avoid a letdown if it wants to maintain its hopes of landing a first-round LTC playoff bye.
And Dexter has proven itself a team worthy of not being overlooked, its season so far including tough battles in losses against both of the league’s remaining undefeated teams, Bucksport and Mattanawcook Academy.
This could be an offensive showcase, with MCI displaying an effective passing game last week to complement the running of junior speedster Jonathan Santiago while Dexter features senior quarterback Trevor Fogarty.
Winslow Black Raiders (7-0) at Waterville Purple Panthers (6-1), 1 p.m. Saturday:
This battle of the bridge would be an emotional affair without any postseason ramifications.
But they’re also playing for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern C playoffs.
Winslow, the reigning Western C champion, remained undefeated with a 31-20 survival of defending state champion Foxcroft Academy last Saturday.
Waterville wasn’t as fortunate in Week 7, building an early two-touchdown lead only to have Mount Desert Island rally for a 42-35 victory that knocked the Purple Panthers from the unbeaten ranks.
Waterville leads the series between the neighboring schools 50-29-4.