If the Brewer Witches weren’t wary of the unpredictable nature of high school football’s postseason before last weekend’s first-round games, they are now.
Both Class B North quarterfinals produced upsets according to the seedings, most notably No. 6 Cony of Augusta’s last-second 28-27 victory at No. 3 Lawrence of Fairfield.
Lawrence not only had home-field advantage, but it took a six-game winning streak into that contest that included a 36-12 drubbing of Cony in Week 4.
Cony, meanwhile, had to win two of its last three games against teams in the lower half of the standings just to earn the sixth and final playoff berth.
Given a chance to avenge the earlier loss to Lawrence, Cony led early and rallied late, using a 20-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Heath to Jordan Roddy and Roddy’s two-point conversion run with no time remaining to score the victory.
Now coach B.L. Lippert’s Rams (4-5) get the chance to erase the memory of another one-sided defeat when Cony visits No. 2 Brewer in a B North semifinal and the BDN Game of the Week at 7 p.m. Friday at Doyle Field.
Brewer (7-1) outslugged Cony 36-12 at Augusta during Week 5 as senior halfback Trey Wood rushed for 267 yards and four touchdowns behind a veteran line anchored by seniors Austin Lufkin and Cam Green.
Cony will be charged with matching the Witches’ size and physicality on both sides of the ball if it wants to deny coach Nick Arthers’ club a return trip to the Class B North championship game.
Brewer will have to contend with a prolific Cony passing attack, as Heath has thrown for more than 1,800 yards and 24 touchdowns and Roddy has nearly 1,000 receiving yards and 16 touchdown catches.
Here’s a look at Friday’s other North semifinals:
No. 5 Messalonskee Eagles (5-4) at No. 1 Brunswick Dragons (8-0), 7 p.m.: Messalonskee avenged one regular-season loss last weekend with a 33-27 quarterfinal win at No. 4 Skowhegan. Avenging another loss this weekend to advance to the B North final likely will be much more problematic. Brunswick dominated the division throughout the regular season, with no opponent coming within less than 30 points of the two-time defending regional champion. That includes Messalonskee, 3-0 before falling to the Dragons 42-0 at Oakland in Week 4.
No. 4 Oceanside Mariners (6-3) vs. No. 1 Mount Desert Island Trojans (7-1), 7 p.m. at Bar Harbor: Oceanside scored a history-making 27-7 quarterfinal victory over Foxcroft Academy last Saturday, marking not only the school’s first postseason football victory but what is believed to be the first home playoff win in the history of Wasgatt Field, where Rockland played home games before merging with Georges Valley of Thomaston. The Mariners and MDI met on the island three weeks ago with the Trojans scoring a 14-12 victory, and another close battle featuring the rushing attacks and defenses of both teams is anticipated in the rematch. MDI, which has won five straight since a Week 3 loss at Winslow, is seeking its first trip to a regional final since 2008 after reaching the semifinals last fall.
No. 3 Winslow Black Raiders (7-1) vs. No. 2 Madison-Carrabec Bulldogs (7-1), 7 p.m. at Madison: The last time these teams met, Madison-Carrabec pulled off the program’s biggest victory in a generation when it defeated the two-time defending state champions 28-21 and ended Winslow’s 25-game winning streak. Winslow has been on a tear since then, averaging 53 points per game in five-consecutive victories, including a 55-16 Class C North quarterfinal win over Old Town last Saturday. Madison-Carrabec, which dropped only a 20-19 decision at MDI in Week 6 to create a three-way logjam atop the division standings, will need to be at its defensive best in order to back up its regular-season victory with semifinal success.
No. 4 Bucksport Golden Bucks (6-3) vs. No. 1 Maine Central Institute Huskies (9-0), 7 p.m. at Pittsfield: Bucksport returns to postseason play after a one-year absence, with the Golden Bucks not long removed from facing MCI in the 2014 LTC Class D North championship game. Coach Joel Sankey’s club stretched its winning streak to five games by defeating Ellsworth-Sumner last weekend. MCI, meanwhile, has won 29-consecutive games against LTC competition, including a 42-21 decision over Bucksport in Week 2. The Huskies got a late boost last weekend with the return to the lineup of senior halfback Willie Moss, who had been sidelined the previous few weeks. Bucksport also will have to be alert on special teams, as MCI’s Josh Buker has seven touchdowns on punt returns.
No. 3 Dexter Tigers (7-2) at No. 2 Orono Red Riots (8-1), 7 p.m.: Little separated these teams during their Week 8 battle for second place at Orono, where the Red Riots rallied from a pair of two-touchdown deficits to eke out a 27-26 victory. These are both senior-laden squads with additional memories of last year’s LTC quarterfinal meeting also won by Orono 35-18. Dexter must slow the diverse Orono offense, and the Red Riots must contain the Tigers’ special teams, which produced touchdowns during the earlier meeting on plays of 84 and 65 yards and set up another score with a 47-yard return.
No. 4 Oxford Hills-Buckfield Vikings (5-4) at No. 1 Portland Bulldogs (7-1), 7 p.m.: Oxford Hills-Buckfield is the first team other than Bangor to join Portland, Windham and Cheverus of Portland in the Class A North semifinals since the statewide switch to four classes in 2013 thanks to its overtime win over Edward Little of Auburn last weekend. Portland has won seven straight, including a 36-7 victory over the Vikings in Week 4.
No. 3 Cheverus Stags (5-4) at No. 2 Windham Eagles (5-3), 7 p.m.: These teams played a one-point game just two weekends ago, with Windham forging a 13-12 victory to earn a first-round bye. Cheverus of Portland earned the rematch with a 30-14 quarterfinal victory over No. 6 Lewiston.