The Bangor-Brewer football rivalry is on the rebound.
While Bangor has a 74-26-8 lead in the series that began in 1903, Brewer won four preseason meetings in a row before Bangor rallied from a 21-7 first-quarter deficit for a 42-21 victory in 2019’s mutual regular-season opener. The teams have not faced each other since.
Now they will battle for the 109th time Friday night at historic Doyle Field in Brewer as the 2021 high school season begins. And another highly competitive battle between the neighboring communities — this time featuring the middle school teams — is still fresh in their minds.
That came in 2017, when the current varsity football coaches, Dave Morris of Bangor and Scott Flagg of Brewer, were their cities’ respective middle school coaches and this year’s high school seniors were eighth graders.
Bangor won that meeting 22-20, riding a second-half touchdown run by Joey Morrison to victory as those Rams went on to have an undefeated season.
“It was raining, it was a hard-fought battle but both teams played well,” Morris said. “It’s always a great rivalry.”
Both of this year’s teams are coming off preseason victories.
Class A Bangor scored a 35-13 victory over Skowhegan last Saturday night, with senior quarterback Max Clark throwing four touchdowns, three to senior tight end Colton Emerson and the fourth to his brother, 6-foot-6 sophomore wideout Landon Clark.
Morrison added 118 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, including a tone-setting 68-yard sprint down the right sideline on the game’s first play from scrimmage.
One night earlier, Class B Brewer came on strong in the second half to score a 28-0 victory at Hampden Academy. Junior Cameron Hughes led a Brewer rushing attack that amassed 217 yards on 51 rushing attempts, while junior Ryder Goodwin was successful in his first varsity start at quarterback.
This will be Flagg’s first game against Bangor as Brewer’s varsity coach, but he is no stranger to the rivalry.
Flagg played for Brewer during the early 1990s and went on to coach throughout the Witches’ football system along with a stint as head coach at Hampden Academy.
“Even when I was in southern Maine coaching, that was a game you made sure you always got the score of,” he said.