Icy field conditions on Bucksport High School’s home turf has prompted Friday’s scheduled Little Ten Conference Class D North championship game to be moved from Carmichael Field to the artificial surface at Hampden Academy.
The game time also has been moved up an hour, with the opening kickoff for the matchup between top-ranked Bucksport and second-seeded Dexter set for 6 p.m.
“We have about an inch of ice on top of the field right now,” Bucksport athletic administrator Jared Foster said. “It’s like a solid, thick sheet of ice. I just think it’s not going to be melted and good to play on, and I don’t want to see the kids getting hurt running on ice.”
The shift of the LTC final means two North regional championship games will be played at Hampden Academy this weekend.
The Class C North game between No. 1 Winslow (9-1) and No. 2 Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield (8-2) already had been scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday.
This will be the second straight year the Class C North final has been played on Hampden Academy’s artificial surface, the result of a vote by member schools before the 2018 season to play that league’s title game at a neutral site with artificial turf every year.
The LTC traditionally has played its postseason games on the home fields of the highest-ranked participants, though there have been some weather-related exceptions.
The league’s 2014 semifinals were played at two artificial-turf sites, with MCI defeating Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln 20-0 at Seaverns Field on the campus of Colby College in Waterville and Bucksport topping John Bapst of Bangor 41-13 on Ritchie Field at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine.
That year’s LTC championship game was played at MCI’s natural-turf facility, Alumni Field.
This year’s Bucksport team is 8-0 after its 49-12 semifinal victory over No. 5 Foxcroft Academy at Carmichael Field last Friday. Dexter improved its record to 8-1 and extended its winning streak to seven games with a 14-6 victory over No. 3 Mattanawcook at Tiger Field in Dexter last Saturday.
Bucksport and Dexter last met on Sept. 13, with Bucksport scoring a 43-7 victory in their Week 2 regular-season matchup.