Thoughts on the Weekend - Week Three

September 17, 2017

Thoughts on the weekend

- Basketball has the buzzer beater. Baseball has the walk-off. Football has the game-winning drive. And if you were in Scarborough, Portland, or Newport you got to see quintessential examples of it. In Scarborough, Thornton Academy’s Will Mitchell lofted an eight-yard pass to Anthony Bracamonte with 45 seconds left to give the Golden Trojans a 32-28 win over the Red Storm. In Portland, Edward Little’s quarterback Grant Hartley scored on a QB-keeper from inside the five yard line with 27 seconds left to give the Red Eddies a 26-20 win over Cheverus. In Newport, having just scored a touchdown and down by two with ten seconds remaining, Nokomis quarterback Andrew Haining faked a PAT attempt snap and then fired the ball to Chance Graves for a 15-14 win over Oceanside.

- Margin of victory during Bonny Eagle’s three wins; 48 over Sanford, 48 over Windham, and 54 over Portland. Their 174 points is 24 more than the 147 of Leavitt and Madison (second high scoring teams in Maine). Only Wells, Fryeburg, and Maranacook have allowed fewer than the Scots 21 points.

- Windham’s victory is best described as a contrast of two halves. The Eagles were down 14-0 to the Lewiston Blue Devils at halftime. They had a pass intercepted, turned over the ball on a fumble at their 13-yard line, had two punts blocked, and picked up just four first downs. In the second half they scored on their first two drives of the half to tie the game 14-14. In the fourth quarter the Eagles blocked a Lewiston punt from their 18 yard line and recovered the ball in the end zone with 5:06 remaining for what would be the final score of a 26-20 Windham win.

- It was a first this season for Cony, as they were led in a first by Anthony Sousa. The first for the Rams was a win and the first for Anthony was a game as the varsity quarterback as they defeated Brunswick 26-14. The nascent senior QB did go 18 for 30 for 254 yards with the three scores being caught by wide receiver Jordan Roddy. Jordan accounted for seven of Anthony’s completions. The production was in a game when Cony never trailed at any point.

- Speaking of Brunswick, the Dragons join Portland as 0-3 teams after week three. In case you forgot, Brunswick was the 2016 Class B state champion while the Bulldogs were the 2016 Class A state runner-up. But this isn’t the first time a defending title contender went into the next season with struggles. In 2014 the Kennebunk Rams, then the Class B runner-up, started the season 0-2 and finished 2-6. In 2010 the Windham Eagles, then the Class A state champion, started the season 0-2 and finished 4-4. In 2009, the Skowhegan Indians, then the Class A runner-up, started the season 0-3 and finished 3-5.

- Coming into the week, there was a logjam in Southern Class B with four undefeated teams; Biddeford, Falmouth, Kennebunk, and Marshwood. In a quirk of scheduling, those four undefeated teams were halved to two as Marshwood beat Biddeford 35-21 and Kennebunk beat Falmouth 51-34. But the Hawks and Rams took vastly different ways to get there. Marshwood exchanged touchdowns with Biddeford until the fourth quarter, when they scored two touchdowns to go up three scores. In a total opposite, Kennebunk scored 45 points in the first half. Kennebunk ends the week in first in the conference and Marshwood finished second.

- Surprise 2-1 teams; Gorham and Mt. Ararat. They are proof that the new scheduling process does have its benefits. Especially for those teams that have traditionally struggled.

- The 99-point shootout in Oakland saw two players account for a combined twelve touchdowns and 776 yards of offense. Messalonskee running back Austin Pelletier scored seven touchdowns and Skowhegan quarterback Marcus Christopher passed for five touchdowns.

- Speaking of offense, Maine got to see two-300 yard rushing efforts today. The other took place in Bucksport where Mount Desert Island’s Colby ran for 313 yards on the ground with four touchdowns as the Trojans beat the Golden Bucks.

- Lisbon continued their unbeaten start with a 39-yard run off a fake punt, which led to the game-winning three-yard score by Lucas Francis that gave the Greyhounds the 22-20 lead over Mountain Valley. It wasn’t like the Falcons didn’t have their chances in the fourth quarter though. They forced two fumbles. However, Lisbon’s defense stuffed them each time. The first time the Falcons had to punt, the second time they were unable to convert on the fourth-and-seven with 1:43 remaining. The second half performance by the Greyhounds featured a defensive effort that allowed just 61 yards.

- What may haunt Cape Elizabeth the most from their 14-7 loss to Wells are the two chances that never were. In the final minutes of the fourth quarter, Cape was able to drive to the Wells three yard line but were unable to score as a fourth-and-goal Andrew Hartel pass to receiver Sulayman Shir was beyond his reach. Following a Wells punt on the ensuing drive that pinned Cape Elizabeth to their own 28 with 1:17 remaining, the Warriors held firm on their 44 as Tyler Bridge tipped a pass that found its way into the hands of Michael Wrigley. He came down with the ball and Wells killed off the final 38 seconds for the win.

- Last week the Old Orchard Beach Seagulls were poised to pull out a victory over Winthrop/Monmouth before a late-game rally carried the Ramblers to victory. The Seagulls didn’t let that fate befall them this week as they held onto a 16-6 halftime lead and turned that into a 30-13 win against previously undefeated Oak Hill.

- As we mentioned at the start of the season, one of the unfortunately by-products of the scheduling change was that some traditional end-of-season rivalry games were moved further ahead in the regular season. One of them was the Battle of the Bridge game between Waterville and Winslow. The game was still just as fiercely contended as it has been in the past. Unfortunately for Waterville, it ended it yet another Winslow Black Raider victory. The Purple Panthers have not beaten their neighbors since their 2013 25-21 regular season victory. This time around, they were outgained on the ground 457 yards to 91.

- The good times continue to roll for the Fryeburg Academy Raiders football team. One of the state’s pleasant surprises in the unbeaten ranks, The Western-most team in Maine notched a 48-6 win against Poland on Saturday to move into first place in Southern Class C. This will set up a showdown of the unbeaten next Saturday in Fryeburg against the Leavitt Hornets. Class C’s highest scoring offense (147 by Leavitt) and Class C’s fewest points allowed (12 by Fryeburg Academy).

- In 2009 and 2010, one of Eastern Class B’s more anticipated showdowns was between Gardiner and Leavitt. The Hornets were in the midst of their back-to-back-to-back state run. Gardiner was trying to return to state for the first time since 2007. That was then, this is now. Gardiner and Leavitt’s match-up on homecoming night in Turner seemed to be a return to that era. The 19-7 score was plenty physical and a defensive battle through much of the contest. Where last week’s win was a feast of passing and running for Leavitt’s Tim Albert, Saturday’s yardage was gained the hard way. And we don’t think this will be the last that we’ll see of these two central Maine rivals.

- Lost in the hoopla of this weekend was a streak-ending victory. With their 34-21 win over Telstar, the Camden Hills Windjammers have brought an end to Maine’s longest active losing streak of 23 consecutive games. Prior to Saturday’s win, Camden Hills last won a game a little under four years ago – a 22-18 win against Hermon.

- The Football Committee and the MPA agreed upon the move to Heal Points over the Crabtree Rankings for 2017. Unlike the more commonly used Heal Points, Crabtree Rankings was something unique only to football. However, both systems had their detractors. The argument against Crabtree was that the system placed less of a premium on the actual wins and losses against opponents, which is what Heal Points focus heavily on. The argument against Heal Points is that overall record gets overlooked, which is what Crabtree Rankings focus on. For those that do not know how these two methodologies are calculated, we’ll give a brief rundown.

In Crabtree Rankings, a team’s winning percentage is added with the average winning percentage of all opponents on their schedule that season. That number was then multiplied by 100 and the decimal was carried out three places to the right to determine the final number. While winning all the games was important for a team, the teams on a schedule could be just as important. For instance, in 2016, 2-6 Leavitt finished 8th while 3-5 Morse finished 9th. The important factor for Leavitt was that their opponents had a combined winning percentage of 62%, while Morse’s opponents had a combined winning percentage of 47%. Of course that is a rare exception. Normally the team that won more games was ranked higher, but there was no differential given for wins out of class. In the aforementioned Leavitt and Morse example, Morse won their three games in conference while Leavitt won one of their games in conference while the other win was against lower-class Spruce Mountain.

In Heal Points, a team is awarded a preliminary index based on the teams they beat; 70 points for Class A wins, 60 points for Class B, 50 points for Class C, 40 points for Class D, and 30 points for Class E. Once that preliminary index is determined for every team in the state, a tournament index is calculated based on added the preliminary index of every team they’ve beaten divided by the number of games they will play that season. So it isn’t exactly how many teams someone defeats, rather it is the preliminary index of the teams they defeat. A 1-2 team could be ranked higher than a 3-0 team based solely on the team that the 1-2 team defeated. As this number can fluctuate quite a bit every week, it can cause a top-ranked team to drop several places through no fault of their own.

As we shared earlier this morning, we showed a calculation of the Crabtree Rankings if they were currently in use. And yes there would be quite a bit of variation compared to Heal Points. 3-0 Edward Little would be in first place, not third place. 3-0 Thornton Academy would be ahead of 3-0 Bonny Eagle, not behind them. 2-1 Biddeford would be in fifth place, not seventh place. 3-0 Hermon would be in first place, not fifth place. 2-1 Winslow would be in third place, not first place. 3-0 Fryeburg Academy would be tied with 3-0 Leavitt, not ahead of them. 1-2 Bucksport would be in fifth place, not third place. 3-0 Lisbon would still be in third place regardless of the system used. 2-1 Oak Hill would be in fifth place, not ninth place.

But with the proliferation of out-of-conference games, we do not see Heal Points going away in football. The MPA has an affinity with the traditional Heal Points system. And we do not see the MPA or the Football Committee developing another ranking system for football or returning to Crabtree Rankings. So we ask that people exercise patience and restraint when looking upon the rankings at the end of the week, especially when they see a 1-2 team ranked higher than a 3-0 team and don’t understand why. As it was explained to us, Heal Points will even themselves out the farther along into the season a team goes. “In Heal Points we must trust”…

- Quote of the week
"We really wanted this one. It was important to us. We wanted to show we can stand on our own against a team that’s a class higher than us. We wanted to show we can play all four quarters."
Nolan Potter, Wells running back

- Unbeaten tracker
There are 13 unbeaten teams in Maine after week three
The longest active winning streak belongs to Bonny Eagle –14 consecutive wins
The longest active losing streak belongs to Gray-New Gloucester – 14 consecutive losses

- First place teams after week three
Class A North – Lewiston
Class A South – Bonny Eagle
Class B North – Brewer 
Class B South – Kennebunk 
Class C North – Winslow
Class C South – Fryeburg Academy 
Class D North – Foxcroft Academy
Class D South – Wells
Class E – Maranacook

- Games of interest in week four
Oxford Hills at Edward Little
Lawrence at Marshwood
Hermon at Mount Desert Island
Madison at Wells
Leavitt at Fryeburg Academy