Bangor High School’s Friday night football game at Sanford has been canceled due to COVID cases in Sanford’s school district, according to Bangor High School athletic director Steven Vanidestine.
But thanks to a collaborative effort between Vanidestine and Lewiston athletic director Jason Fuller, the Rams will still be playing on Friday night — only it will be in Lewiston against the Blue Devils instead.
Lewiston also had a Friday night game canceled when COVID cases at Scarborough High School prevented Scarborough from making the trip to Lewiston.
Bangor and Lewiston played in Bangor on Sept. 10 and the Rams came away with a 42-6 victory.
Vanidestine said his first option was to go to Bonny Eagle of Buxton, which wasn’t scheduled to play this weekend.
But the Rams are scheduled to host the Scots the following Friday night (Oct. 22), so it would have meant playing them on back-to-back weekends. In addition, it would have left the teams with only one day to prepare for the game, Vanidestine said.
“Since we had already played Lewiston, we had our scouting reports on them,” he added.
Fuller said this will be a “good gauge for where we’re at.”
Vanidestine and Fuller both said it was important for their players to have a game rather than a weekend off.
After learning of the Sanford cancellation, Bangor coach Dave Morris had scheduled a 25-player intrasquad scrimmage for his team on Thursday on their new artificial turf surface at Cameron Stadium.
The Bangor-Lewiston game will count on their records. It won’t be considered an exhibition.
Fuller and Vanidestine said they are grateful to the Maine Principals Association for their support of schools trying to work around COVID-19 cancellations.
“[Athletic directors] have had to come up with solutions to a lot of weird problems,” Fuller said.
Shortages of bus drivers and officials have been among the issues athletic directors have had to deal with this season due to the pandemic.
Vanidestine and Fuller said their two schools have a great relationship, which has proved beneficial in solving this predicament.
“Jason knew our Sanford game was canceled and we weren’t going to play Bonny Eagle so he called me around 8 o’clock Wednesday night to see if we wanted to travel down to Lewiston to play,” Vanidestine said.
Bangor will come into Friday’s game sporting a 5-1 record while the Blue Devils are 1-5.
The top six teams in the eight-team Class A league will qualify for the playoffs with the top two earning first-round byes and the third and fourth place teams hosting quarterfinal games.
Bangor is currently in fifth place while Lewiston is seventh.
Bangor has strung together back-to-back wins over Class B South team Deering High of Portland (55-0) and Class A rival Edward Little of Auburn (49-13) while Lewiston comes with a two-game losing streak after losing to Bonny Eagle 48-8 and Sanford 27-24.
Thornton Academy of Saco and Oxford Hills of South Paris are atop the Crabtree points standings at 6-0 and they will collide in South Paris on Friday night.
Bonny Eagle and Scarborough are third and fourth with 4-2 records followed by Bangor (5-1), Sanford (3-3), Lewiston (1-5) and Edward Little (0-6).
After hosting Bonny Eagle, Bangor will finish its regular season at Oxford Hills.
Lewiston has remaining games against Class B South leader Portland and rival Edward Little.
The senior-laden Rams have been led by quarterback Max Clark, who has already thrown for more than 1,000 yards; running backs Joey Morrison and Cabryn Stream; and a stable of talented receivers including Keegan Cyr, Colton Emerson, Landon Clark, Ryan Howard and Jackson Vorenkamp. Three-year starters Luke Missbrenner, the center, and tackle Jake Hirsch anchor the offensive line.
The defense features sacks leader Yedi Moneke, linebackers Kevin Grover and Emeson and defensive backs Howard and Brayden Caron.