October 22, 2018
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Key matchups abound in final week of football regular season

Ashley L. Conti | BDN
Ashley L. Conti | BDN
Brewer's Anthony Chiappone (right) and Jacob McCluskey (right) bring down Greely's Joey Casella during their Sept. 22 football game in Brewer. The Witches play host to Brunswick on Friday looking to boost their position in Class B North. Ashley L. Conti | BDN

The race to the high school football playoffs truly has seemed like a race this year, with Week 8 suddenly here after two months of mild weather that generally has belied the typically deteriorating conditions of autumn and portend an additional challenge of postseason pursuits.

First-round byes, home-field advantages and mere qualification for the playoffs are among the prizes at stake as teams face their final regular-season tests.

Brunswick (1-6) at Brewer (3-4), 7 p.m. Friday: This marks a rematch of the last two Class B North championship games, though both teams are in markedly different positions from a year ago.

Brunswick, the reigning Class B state champion and three-time defending regional title holder, dropped its first six games this fall before defeating Mt. Blue of Farmington 38-22 last week — a win that may earn the Dragons a postseason berth.

Fifth-place Brewer is coming off a 48-16 victory at Hampden Academy last weekend and would like to build on that momentum against the Dragons. The Witches loom as a team the top echelon of Class B North teams won’t want to face in the playoffs given their last-second loss to No. 2 Cony, their three-point defeat at No. 3 Messalonskee of Oakland and their season-opening win against No. 4 Lawrence.

Messalonskee (4-3) vs. Lawrence (4-3), 7 p.m. Friday at Fairfield: This rivalry game — the BDN Sports Game of the Week, live-streamed at www.bangordailynews.com — has plenty of playoff implications. Losses by both teams last week dropped them out first-round bye positions in Class B North behind No. 1 Skowhegan and No. 2 Cony of Augusta.

But that will change for the winner of this point-worthy battle as it is likely to climb back into at least second place, if not earn the No. 1 seed.

Messalonskee features Class B North’s top rusher in Austin Pelletier (1,223 yards, 13 touchdowns on 149 carries) while Cony boasts the leading receiver in Jordan Roddy (54 catches, 554 yards, seven TDs) and second-leading passer in Anthony Sousa (144 of 225, 1,518 yards, 15 TDs).

Winslow (6-1) vs. Maine Central Institute (4-3), 7 p.m. Friday at Pittsfield: Longtime Winslow coach Mike Siviski was on hand last Friday to scout MCI’s 34-20 victory over Foxcroft Academy and had to be impressed by what he saw.

MCI unleashed a multifaceted ground game featuring Adam Bertrand, Pedro Matos and converted lineman Seth Bussell, and freshman quarterback Ryan Friend continued to show his development as a first-year starter as the defending Class D state champions moved up to third place in Class C North.

Winslow has won its last five games, but may have to settle for second place in the division if top-seeded Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor wins its regular-season finale against Nokomis of Newport.

The Black Raiders pulled away from a solid Oceanside of Rockland club 35-21 last weekend behind Ryan Fredette’s 169 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

Nokomis (6-1) vs. Mount Desert Island (6-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Bar Harbor: Nokomis seeks to continue its breakthrough season in Class C North and earn a home playoff game, but the Newport team will have to go through the reigning regional champions.

MDI brings a six-game winning streak into the contest, including last week’s 36-22 victory over previously undefeated Leavitt of Turner Center, the top-ranked team in Class C South. That win moved the Trojans solidly into first place in the North.

Nokomis has won five straight games since its lone loss, a 12-0 decision at MCI in Week 2.

Waterville (3-4) at Hermon (5-2), 7 p.m. Friday: Both teams have already taken major strides this fall, with Waterville improving from a winless campaign in 2016 while Hermon has two more victories than it had in the previous three years combined.

Hermon, sixth in C North, is seen as a team no one wants to play in the regional quarterfinals next week.

The Hawks have won two straight since their two-point loss to perennial powerhouse Winslow, including last week’s 44-13 victory over Dexter-Piscataquis.

Waterville, ranked seventh in a Class C North race that will send its top eight teams to the playoffs, halted a four-game losing streak with its 41-13 win over Old Town last Saturday.

Foxcroft Academy (5-2) vs. Mattanawcook Academy (5-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Lincoln: The winner likely will finish atop the Class D North standings and earn a first-round playoff bye, while the loser is expected to host an LTC quarterfinal next weekend.

Second-ranked Foxcroft, which had its five-game winning streak halted in a 34-20 loss at Class C MCI last weekend, has averaged 40.7 points per game this fall.

Third-seeded Mattanawcook Academy, which defeated Stearns-Schenck 56-6 last Friday, has averaged 37.1 points per game, including 54.4 points per game during its three-game winning streak.

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