Here is a quick review of some games of note from the opening week of the Maine high school football season.
Oxford Hills of South Paris, considered a darkhorse in the Class A North division entering the season, earned instant respect by upending two-time defending regional champion Portland 20-14 in the division’s Week 1 showcase game on Friday night.
Dawson Stevens rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries and the Vikings set an early tone by driving 80 yards in 15 plays on their opening possession with Stevens scoring on an 18-yard run. Quarterback Colton Carson, part of a talented Oxford Hills junior class, kept that march alive with two third-down pass completions to classmate Cam Slicer.
Messalonskee of Oakland backed up its status as a Pine Tree Conference contender with a convincing 23-0 Class B North victory over defending state champion and three-time reigning regional title holder Brunswick.
The Eagles, coming off a one-sided loss to Class C Winslow in their exhibition game a week earlier, used a goal-line stand in the second quarter to take a 3-0 halftime lead against Brunswick, then used its relentless rushing attack to score three unanswered touchdowns after intermission.
The highly anticipated rematch of the 2016 Class C North regional final lived up to its billing, with Winslow scratching out a 21-20 victory over Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor to avenge a 12-7 loss to the Trojans in last year’s title game.
This back-and-forth battle was tied 14-14 at intermission before MDI took a six-point lead on a 4-yard run by quarterback Andrew Phelps that capped off a 16-play, 80-yard march at the start of the second half. Winslow countered with a go-ahead 7-yard TD run by Alex Demers late in the third quarter, then stopped an MDI drive late in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.
Two crossover games displayed the early strength of Class D South over its North rivals as Madison-Carrabec roared past Foxcroft Academy 49-28 and Lisbon-Saint Dominic handled Bucksport 36-13.
Madison-Carrabec dominated its battle of former Class C North programs with the Bulldogs (now in Class D South) racing out to a 35-7 lead behind quarterback Evan Bess and running backs Sean Whalen and Eric Wescott, who combined for 486 rushing yards and six TDs.
Lisbon, the defending Class D South champ, jumped out to a 24-0 lead against a Bucksport team missing injured lineman David Gross (knee). Lucas Francis rushed for 110 yards and four TDs for the Greyhounds, while Isaiah Thompson also rushed for 110 yards as the defense forced four Bucksport turnovers.