The Bangor High School football team took another step forward last weekend, shutting out Edward Little of Auburn 28-0 for its second straight victory.
That doesn’t sound like a lot until you consider the fact the Rams scored only three regular-season victories during the previous four years and had not won two in a row since late 2015.
Bangor coach Dave Morris sees week-by-week growth within a Rams’ roster dominated by sophomores and juniors.
“They’ve worked awful hard, and they’re excited. It’s been awhile since we’ve had two in a row,” said Morris, whose team hosts 4-2 Sanford at Cameron Stadium on Friday night. “I think if anything they’re realizing that their hard work is paying off.”
The road victories at Skowhegan in Week 5 and at EL last Friday night came after back-to-back homefield losses to powerhouses Scarborough and Thornton Academy of Saco by a combined score of 91-7.
“One of the big things at this point has been not worrying about outcomes,” Morris said. “It’s real easy to hope you don’t lose as opposed to working to win, but the attitudes have been great. There’s been a lot of growth that has taken place from character to football-related things.”
Sanford Spartans (4-2) at Bangor Rams (3-3), 7 p.m. Friday: Bangor’s Week 6 victory over winless Edward Little featured a 245-yard rushing attack led by sophomore Joey Morrison, who gained 174 yards and scored three touchdowns on 28 carries as the Rams pulled away with 21 fourth-quarter points.
Bangor ranks sixth in Class A, two spots behind Sanford.
But like Bangor, the Spartans long to eventually join Class A’s upper echelon with Thornton Academy, Scarborough and Bonny Eagle of Standish, which have combined to win the past seven state championships.
Coach Mike Fallon’s Spartans own a 26-22 regular-season record over the past six years with four trips to the Class A semifinals.
“This week will be a great challenge for us,” Morris said. “Sanford is a really good team, but if you look at past history we’re kind of at a point where we could take a big step for ourselves.”
Houlton Shiretowners (3-3) at John Bapst Crusaders (4-2), 7 p.m. Friday: Houlton is coming off its biggest victory yet this season, a 7-6 win at Class C Belfast that ended the Lions’ four-game winning streak and enhanced the Shiretowners’ status in Class D North.
Coach Brian Reynolds’ club returns to the road for a second straight crossover matchup against a formidable Class C North foe. John Bapst already has amassed its most regular-season victories since 2014.
Coach Dan O’Connell’s team has won four of its past five games and averaged 36 points during that stretch. But like Houlton’s most recent victory, John Bapst’s Week 6 win was keyed by defense as it shut out Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor 21-0.
Old Town Coyotes (3-3) at Belfast Lions (4-2), 7 p.m. Friday: Both teams are in good position to advance to the Class C North playoffs but would like to re-ignite their respective momentum after each had a three-game winning streak snapped last week.
Fourth-ranked Belfast was nipped at home by Houlton, while seventh-seeded Old Town was edged 22-18 by No. 6 Oceanside of Rockland behind a 283-yard, three-touchdown rushing night by the Mariners’ Aidan Munro.
Mattanawcook Academy Lynx (4-2) at Foxcroft Academy Ponies (3-3), 7 p.m. Friday: There’s no such thing as an easy game for Foxcroft these days, as the final six games on its schedule are against foes with a combined a 29-7 record.
That includes this week’s challenge for the Ponies, ranked fourth in Class D North, against No. 3 Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln, which claimed four straight victories.
The game represents a step up for the Lynx, whose winning streak has come against teams with a combined 5-18 record. Likely at stake is third place in the division with one week left in the regular season.
Hermon Hawks (4-2) at Winslow Black Raiders (5-1), 1 p.m. Saturday: The Winslow steamroller faces its next challenge as Hermon treks to central Maine to try to slow the high-scoring Black Raiders.
Winslow, No. 1 in Class C North, has averaged 64.6 points per outing during its five-game win streak, including last Friday’s testing 61-37 victory at No. 3 Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield.
Hermon used that result and its 43-0 victory at Medomak Valley of Waldoboro to slip ahead of MCI into second place in the division. The Hawks host MCI in their Oct. 25 regular-season finale.
The Hermon-Winslow clash is a rematch of their 2018 Class C North semifinal won 20-13 by the Hawks.