It’s a matchup that in recent seasons has merited “game of the year” status based on the success of the participants.
And even though it’s just Week 2 of the high school football season, when Lawrence of Fairfield visits two-time defending Eastern Maine Class A champion Bangor on Saturday evening, it may still get that kind of attention.
That’s because it’s the only game in the state set to be played Saturday night after being rescheduled from Friday night a week ago to ensure a full five-man crew of officials.
“It will be an event,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett. “I think it will be special. It always seems better when we play later, but we’re going to line up and play and they’re going to line up and play, and the team that loses will say that’s not the one they want to win, and the team that wins will say they’ve got one.”
Lawrence Bulldogs (1-0) at Bangor Rams (1-0), 7 p.m. Saturday, Cameron Stadium: Both teams struggled at times during their season openers before emerging with victories.
Lawrence built a 26-6 lead, only to have Edward Little of Auburn rally late before seeing its chance to tie the game halted at the 30-yard line as the Bulldogs held on for a 26-18 victory.
The Bulldogs did get a big game from tailback Shaun Carroll Jr., who rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries and also returned a punt 81 yards for a score. Junior quarterback Spencer Carey struggled early on offense, completing just 3 of 13 passes, but he sparked the Lawrence defense with 12 tackles and two interceptions.
“They’re doing some different things offensively, running some shotgun and one-back sets,” said Hackett of Lawrence, “so we need to keep it simple defensively because if we don’t play aggressively we won’t have a chance.”
Bangor employed a bend-but-not-break philosophy in its 21-20 victory at Brunswick, The Rams managed just 148 yards of total offense — including 71 rushing yards and two touchdowns by junior tailback Zeb Tuell — but the Rams won the turnover battle 6-0, committing no giveaways and just one penalty while recovering six lost fumbles by the Dragons.
“Our kids know what happened in that game,” said Hackett. “We know we won the game, but we know it could have gone the other way.
“And Lawrence is probably a better team than Brunswick.”
The lights at Cameron Stadium have been fixed, according to Hackett. They went out during last Friday night’s game between John Bapst and Mattanawcook, forcing the game to be finished Saturday morning.
Old Town Coyotes (0-1) at Brewer Witches (0-1), 7 p.m. Friday, Doyle Field: These two returnees to the Class B ranks hope to build some early season success at each other’s expense.
Brewer, back in Class B after a four-year stint in Class A, is coming off a 28-6 loss at Mt. Blue of Farmington, a team considered one of the favorites in the Pine Tree Conference Class B ranks.
The Witches, unveiling their new “pistol” spread offense, managed just 114 yards of total offense, but was within 14-0 at intermission before the Cougars gradually pulled away.
Brody Valley scored Brewer’s touchdown on a 15-yard, fourth-quarter run.
Brewer’s defense should have some familiarity with Old Town’s double-wing offense, as the Witches themselves ran the double wing in recent years until switching to the spread upon being reclassified to Class B.
Old Town, up to Class B after three years in Class C, suffered a 52-48 loss to Madison-Carrabec last Friday night. The Coyotes were able to move the ball successfully but were hurt by turnovers, and the defense allowed two different Madison backs to rush for more than 200 yards.
A bright spot for Old Town was senior running back Danny Rivers, who rushed for 237 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, caught one pass for 22 yards and also amassed 100 yards on four kickoff returns.
Waterville Purple Panthers (1-0) at Oceanside Mariners (1-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Wasgatt Field, Rockland: Fresh off the first win in its history, Oceanside now plays its first home game since the merger of Rockland and Georges Valley high schools.
The Mariners showed plenty of perseverance in its 23-14 victory at Nokomis of Newport last Saturday, with a goal-line stand leading to a 16-point fourth quarter that erased a 14-7 deficit.
Dan Stone led the Oceanside offense with 99 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Sam Meklin passed for 163 yards.
Oceanside likely will have to play more consistently over the full 48 minutes of play to be successful against Waterville, which steadily pulled away last Saturday to a 28-3 victory over Mount Desert Island. Veteran fullback J.T. Whitten led the Purple Panthers with 173 rushing yards and three touchdowns, while Racean Wood and Aaron Saucier combined for 157 more yards as coach Frank Knight’s club used a dominant ground game as the catalyst for victory.
Mount View Mustangs (1-0) at John Bapst Crusaders (1-0), 1 p.m. Saturday, Cameron Stadium, Bangor: This is the first game of a football doubleheader at the venerable stadium Saturday, as well as John Bapst’s second straight home game.
The Crusaders opened with a 38-6 win over Mattanawcook in a game that began Friday night but ended Saturday after a power failure at the field. Senior Deven Romain, making his first start at quarterback for John Bapst, passed for 207 yards and three touchdowns while Andrew Catlin rushed for 135 yards and scored twice.
That offense may be challenged by a Mount View defense that did not allow an offensive touchdown during its 14-6 win over Stearns of Millinocket — the Minutemen got their only score on a third-quarter kick return.
Mount View’s defense was led by linebackers Craig Nealley and Mike Robinson and ends Jay Babin and Andrew Gibbs, and Neally scored both of the Mustangs’ touchdowns on runs of 47 and 25 yards by Nealley.