A weekend doubleheader of championship battles at Hampden Academy highlights Week 11 of the high school football season, with the Class D North final set for Friday night followed by the Class C North title game Saturday afternoon.
Other North and South regional finals are scheduled around the state this weekend, along with Class A semifinal battles sending No. 3 Scarborough to No. 2 Bonny Eagle of Standish on Friday night and No. 4 Oxford Hills of South Paris at No. 1 and defending state champion Thornton Academy of Saco on Saturday.
Also on the docket is the first state championship game for eight-player football as Mt. Ararat of Topsham and Old Orchard Beach collide Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.
Class D North
No. 2 Dexter Tigers (8-1) vs. No. 1 Bucksport Golden Bucks (8-0), 6 p.m. Friday at Hampden Academy: These teams last met more than two months ago, with Bucksport churning out 453 rushing yards en route to a 43-7 victory at Carmichael Field in Bucksport on Sept. 13.
Neither team has lost since that Week 2 clash, with Dexter riding a seven-game winning streak and Bucksport winning all six of its games.
Dexter’s challenge remains to slow Bucksport’s physical, relentless rushing attack, a ground game that last week generated more than 500 yards during the Golden Bucks’ 49-12 semifinal elimination of two-time defending league champion Foxcroft Academy last week.
Josh Miller rushed for 313 yards and two touchdowns against the Ponies while freshman Jaxon Gross rushed for 192 yards and three scores. That duo combined for 358 rushing yards and six touchdowns in the earlier meeting with Dexter behind the Bucks’ big offensive line.
Coach Joel Sankey’s Bucksport club, seeking its first regional title since 2013, has been equally impressive on defense, yielding only 4.9 points per game.
While the Golden Bucks have outscored their opponents by more than 37 points per outing, Dexter has been at its best in the close games.
Coach Andrew Shorey’s veteran Tigers own an overtime victory over Foxcroft as well as two competitive wins — 21-8 and 14-6 — over third-seeded Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln in its last four games.
Dexter’s defense was successful in twice limiting MA’s wing-T ground game, but whether it can experience similar success against Bucksport rushing attack will go a long way toward determining whether the Tigers can capture their first LTC crown since 1989.
Class D South final: No. 2 Lisbon (6-3) at No. 1 Winthrop-Monmouth (9-1), 7 p.m. Friday.
Class C North
No. 2 Maine Central Institute (8-2) vs. No. 1 Winslow Black Raiders (9-1), 1 p.m. Saturday at Hampden Academy: MCI will bid for its fifth regional championship in the last six years against a Winslow team looking to snare the Class C North crown for the first time since 2015.
But MCI certainly threatened Winslow in a game that included six lead changes, with the Black Raiders not taking the lead for good until late in the third quarter.
Both teams have plenty of playmakers, so while the weather may help keep the scoring down, that may be offset by the smooth track of Hampden Academy’s artificial turf.
Senior Colby Pomery of Winslow and junior Ryan Friend of MCI are multidimensional threats at quarterback. Friend passed for 210 yards in the earlier meeting against Winslow while Pomeroy passed for 156 yards and three touchdowns.
Robert Clark (293 rushing yards against MCI in Week 6) and Evan Bourget lead the Winslow ground game, while Cole Steeves is back to lead MCI’s rushing attack after missing the earlier meeting against Winslow due to injury.
Both clubs are coming off impressive semifinal victories.
MCI spotted John Bapst of Bangor a 7-0 lead 21 seconds into their matchup, then scored 46 unanswered points en route to a 46-21 victory.
Steeves rushed for 139 yards and Friend completed all four of his passes while a defense led up front by Isaac Bussell and Harrison Sites allowed just 44 more yards through three periods after John Bapst’s Max Chadwick raced 63 yards for a touchdown on the game’s first play from scrimmage.
Winslow extended its winning streak to nine games since a season-opening loss at Wells with a 49-7 victory over Hermon. Pomeroy passed for 123 yards and four touchdowns and Bourget rushed for 107 yards on 18 carries.
Class C South final: No. 2 York (9-1) at No. 1 Leavitt (10-0), 7 p.m. Friday at Turner Center.
Class B North
No. 3 Lawrence Bulldogs (9-1) at No. 1 Brunswick Dragons (10-0), 7 p.m. Friday: This Pine Tree Conference title game marks yet another regular-season rematch, as Brunswick scored on its first six possessions and rolled to a 50-21 victory in a Week 4 victory at Keyes Field in Fairfield.
Brunswick will seek its fifth regional championship in the last six years, while Lawrence last won an East/North title in 2012 while still competing in Class A under the former three-class system.
Brunswick has averaged 46.5 points per game this fall with a lineup featuring Class B North player of the year Owen Richardson at fullback and linebacker along with backfield mate Mitchell Lienert and all-conference quarterback-safety Noah Goddard.
Lawrence counters with its backfield duo of Nate Reglardo and Christian Larouche.
Class B South final: No. 2 Kennebunk (8-2) at No. 1 Marshwood (9-1), 1 p.m. Saturday at South Berwick.