Thoughts on the Weekend - Week Four

September 24, 2017

Thoughts on the weekend

- Two weeks ago we launched a rather pointed rant towards the MPA, the Football Committee, and the Maine Football Coaches Association following Traip Academy having to forfeit a game due to lack of numbers. Fast-forward to this week, and those same Rangers have now forfeited the remainder of the season for the same reason of lack of numbers. We aren’t going to launch a long-winded diatribe, but when will enough be enough? Do we care about sustaining football in Maine? Or is it literally going to be one way or no way? We are going to bring stories from around the country where 8-man football has been tried and it works well. And if the state doesn’t want to try it as a way of saving football at the small school level, then we as a state just need to start shrugging our collective shoulders and say "oh well" and admit that stubborn adult pride and prejudice is more important than chances and opportunities.

- With weather that seemed more at place during August than in late September, it was an unseasonably warm weekend in the state.

- Without their starting quarterback in the lineup, Lewiston showed that their ground game is just as effective as they ran for a total of 368 yards in their 40-7 victory over Bangor. At the forefront of that effort was Garrett Poussard, who averaged 15 yards a carry with a total of 210 rushing yards.

- Just in case you thought that Scarborough might not be out for a bit of revenge following last week’s loss to Thornton Academy, they seemed to get it during their 63-14 win over Massabesic. Owen Garrard showed his stuff as he ran for five touchdowns in the first half alone.

- We weren’t expecting a defensive showdown when Oxford Hills traveled to Auburn to take on the undefeated Edward Little Red Eddies. For instance, Edward Little went a little under 18 minutes of game time before they finally picked up a first down. In the second half the Vikings only got one first down. A 7-6 win wouldn’t have been among the predications of many, but a close battle was expected.

- Skowhegan’s Marcus Christopher tossed four of his seven touchdown strikes against Brunswick in the second half, even as the Indians were down to the winless Dragons 29-28. This included two scores off the arm of Marcus that was less than a minute apart.

- Down 26-21 in the third quarter, Falmouth didn’t let the pressure of the road game in Biddeford get the better of them. The Yachtsmen went on to score three touchdowns, two of which happened in less than a minute following a Garrett Aube 41-yard scoring run and then a pick-six by Emilio Micucci. The win puts 3-1 Falmouth into third place while Biddeford falls back into the pack at 2-2.

- Just two weeks ago, York’s struggles were well known. In their first two games of the season they had good first quarter performances that evaporated away amidst a wave of turnovers and mistakes. After committing their fourth turnover of the game to Gardiner, the Wildcats faced a Tiger drive that began on their 39-yard line with 1:37 left in the game. Despite giving Gardiner a first down following an offside penalty, they failed to complete their last six pass attempts and York walked away with a second consecutive win and a 2-2 record at the midway point of the season.

- It was homecoming in Rockland as Oceanside hosted Oak Hill. But it wasn’t looking too promising for the Mariners as they were down 20-14 going into the third quarter. The wow factor likely wasn’t Ben Ripley’s 44-yard gallop that gave Oceanside a 21-20 lead. But it was the recovery of a Raiders fumble on the Mariners five yard line and the ensuing 95-yard drive for a score ultimately put Oceanside up for good.

- Among those that got a five-for-Friday in terms of touchdowns, Spruce Mountain’s Brett Frey had a hand (or foot) in all five Phoenix touchdowns. He threw four scoring strikes and ran in another touchdown as part of a 34-8 victory over Winthrop/Monmouth.

- In the battle amongst the two expert picks to compete for the LTC crowd, the Ponies from Foxcroft Academy had no problem on Friday night at Oakes Field with Bucksport. As part of their 45-18 victory, quarterback Nick Clawson threw two touchdown passes and ran in two on his own. The win helped solidify Foxcroft Academy’s place as the top team in the Class D Northern Conference.

- For a brief period of time, the Madison Bulldogs held a lead over the Wells Warriors. First was a 7-0 lead following Sean Whalen’s kickoff return for a touchdown. Following a corresponding Wells score, Madison needed only three plays before quarterback Evan Bess took off on a 52-yard sideline scamper that gave the Bulldogs a 13-7 lead just 5:44 into the game. This was further extended as Jacob Meader caught an Evan Bess toss and turned it into a 74-yard touchdown. With the two-point conversion, the Bulldogs were up 21-7. But Wells responded with 18 unanswered second half points, capped off by a Madison fumble that led to a 6-yard Ethan Marsh run. And finally, with only 2:05 remaining, Sean McCormack-Kuhman blocked Madison’s punt and iced out the remainder of the clock for the win.

- Further up the coastline another battle of the unbeaten was played out, with another team also using a second-half comeback. The Boothbay Seahawks got a touchdown score from Hunter Crocker and a score on the ground from Jay Hasch to take the lead and eventual win over the Maranacook Black Bears.

- When you’re in a rut, it feels like absolutely nothing goes your way. Breaks that may have seemingly been in your favor stop. Favorite bounces and hops go to the other side. Blocking holes stop happening, mistakes pile up, and heads are hung low. That sad state of affairs describes the Portland Bulldogs. Despite being in the game until the very end, Portland had to contend with 16 flags that backed them up 123 yards – almost half of their 280 combined yards in the game. Terion Moss, in his first game as the Bulldogs signal caller, had a good game. But they gave up 9 points on three missed field goals, one of which was hotly contested at the end of the game. With 16.5 seconds left, Quinn Clarke booted a ball from 27 yards out that was initially called good by the lone official watching the uprights. However, another official called it no good – wide right and that call was the one that was used.

- Up in Fryeburg in an unlikely battle of the unbeaten, it was a completed first half field goal by Eli Lind proved to be the unlikely decider in a 17-14 Leavitt Hornets win over the Raiders.

- 107 points. That was the combined score between Washington Academy and Telstar. The 58 and 49 points represent the most points scored by each respective team during their time in the MPA. And while reaching the century mark in points here in Maine is unlikely, it isn’t without precedent. Going back to 2004, here twelve times that two teams went into triple-digits.
142 - 2014, Belfast (82) vs Madison (60)
115 - 2013, Scarborough (58) vs South Portland (57)
111 - 2011, Cony (62) vs Lewiston (49)
110 - 2011, Gorham (63) vs Massabesic (47)
110 - 2009, Boothbay (70) vs Freeport (40)
108 - 2009, Mattanawcook Academy (89) vs Old Town (19)
107 - 2017, Washington Academy (58) vs Telstar (49)
107 - 2016, Brunswick (65) vs Skowhegan (42)
106 - 2009, Calais/Woodland (54) vs Dexter (52)
104 - 2009, Edward Little (56) vs Oxford Hills (48)
102 - 2014, Orono (58) vs Mount View (44)
100 - 2011, Madison (52) vs Old Town (48)

- Unlike the Crabtree Rankings, where rankings tended to fluctuate very little unless a team lost, we are seeing just how crazy Heal Points can be on a week-to-week basis. And yes, we are fully aware of the comments and complaints of the system. While under the Crabtree, a team that was undefeated but had a weak strength of schedule would, at the worst, be ranked second or maybe third in the presence of other undefeated teams. Under Heal Points the following peculiarities have occurred in the standings
4-0 Edward Little is ranked third behind two 3-1 teams
3-1 Messalonskee is ranked third behind two 2-2 teams
3-1 Hermon is ranked fourth behind two other 3-1 teams and a 2-2 team
3-1 Nokomis is ranked seventh in an eleven-team Class C
1-3 Gardiner is ranked 3rd, ahead of two 3-1 teams
3-1 Lake Region is ranked 7th
2-2 Mattanawcook Academy is ranked 2nd, ahead of a 3-1 team
3-1 Washington Academy is ranked 8th
2-2 Oak Hill is ranked 9th, behind two 1-3 teams

Yes, we get it. It doesn’t appear right. How exactly is a 3-1 team ranked behind a 1-3 team? That is the trick of Heal Points. It doesn’t matter how many higher-classed opponents you defeated. It just depends on how many teams got beaten by the teams you’ve beaten.

- 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 9 unbeaten teams in Maine after week four
The longest active winning streak belongs to Bonny Eagle - 15 consecutive wins
The longest active losing streak belongs to Gray-New Gloucester - 15 consecutive losses

- First place teams after week four
Class A North - Windham
Class A South - Bonny Eagle
Class B North - Brewer 
Class B South - Kennebunk 
Class C North - Winslow
Class C South - Leavitt 
Class D North - Foxcroft Academy
Class D South - Wells
Class E - Boothbay

- Games of interest in week five
Messalonskee at Falmouth
Mount Desert Island at Maine Central Institute
Dexter at Bucksport
Windham at Oxford Hills
Bonny Eagle at Thornton Academy