Thoughts on the Weekend - Week Seven

October 15, 2017

Thoughts on the weekend

- Just one more week. One more week for teams to get their final win for Heal Point positioning before the field of 56 is set for the 2017 playoffs.

- Portland’s 17-14 overtime win against Lewiston was a story of second chances and breaks for a team that has been on the opposite side of them all season long. The Bulldogs came back twice to tie the game. Their first chance was when Ben Stasium picked off a pass on the Portland 28. The Bulldogs drove down the length of the field before Quinn Clarke lined up for a 35-yard field goal with 13 seconds left in the 14-14 tie game. But while his kick had the distance, it went right of the uprights and the game went to overtime. In overtime Lewiston got possession first. However, Vinnie Pasquale intercepted Lewiston’s Tanner Cortes to put the ball back in the Bulldogs hands. Portland’s Terion Moss ran twice up the middle. The team sent out the field goal squad and this time around Quinn converted his second chance to give Portland the win and a two-game winning streak. And to borrow the Sun Journal’s quote from Portland head coach Jim Hartman, "We needed that so bad. It’s been a season of bad luck and we finally caught a break there."

- Just two weeks ago, an undefeated Edward Little was only a few Heal Points ahead of 2nd place Windham and 3rd place Lewiston. Fast forward to today after wins over Deering and Windham and the Red Eddies have created plenty of separation with the four 3-4 teams behind them. In fact, should Lewiston win next week the Red Eddies could still hold onto first place with help from the results of a game or two.

- Even though Brunswick’s 38-22 win against Mt. Blue nudged them into the sixth and final playoff spot in Northern Class B, the spot isn’t a lock at this point. It will be however if Brunswick beats Brewer on Friday, or if Skowhegan defeats Mt. Blue.

- After falling to Kennebunk and Marshwood, the Greely Rangers have won game after game after game since. Their five-game winning streak has seen them outscore opponents 145-33 as they’ve moved into fourth place. This sets the stage for their annual Battle of Route Nine meeting with third place Falmouth. A win by the Rangers wouldn’t net anything beyond bragging rights and a third place finish, but it would solidify their spot as one of the hottest teams in the state right now.

- With the Skowhegan Indians 58-56 win against Lawrence, Skowhegan has earned the unique distinction of having two of the five highest scoring games since 2004. And while their high-octane attack gets plenty of attention, the overlooked aspect of their shootout wins have been the points that they’ve allowed. Only five teams have allowed more than the 273 points that the Indians have surrendered. And those five teams are a combined 1-34 this season.

- Cony’s win against Messalonskee launched the Rams from fifth place into second place in Northern Class B. They can hold onto second place and a first round bye with a win against their long-time rival Gardiner on Friday.

- A benefit of Heal Points compared to Crabtree Rankings is that it affords more teams the opportunity to remain in the playoff chase. For instance, 9th place Noble still has a mathematical chance to get into the playoffs with a win against Marshwood. If they defeat the Hawks on Friday, they’ll end the season with 66.8750 Heal Points and could move them up as high as sixth place.

- Cape Elizabeth’s 23-7 win against Fryeburg Academy gave the previously fifth place Capers a boost into third in Southern Class C. And that isn’t the end of the upward movement. If Cape Elizabeth defeats York on Friday, they’ll take over second place in the conference regardless of how the Raiders perform in their game against Gray-New Gloucester. Leavitt will finish the season in first place.

- It has been a magical season for the Morse Shipbuilders. They haven’t won six games in a season since 2009. But where they finish the regular season is going to be interesting. A win against Leavitt could propel them into second or third place based on how other teams perform. However, a loss may see them playing on the road in the regional quarterfinal and playing an opponent with an identical record.

- Yarmouth’s 13-6 win against Gray-New Gloucester has set the stage for a 'win and you’re in' game on Friday at home against Freeport - reliant upon Fryeburg Academy beating Gray-New Gloucester. The Clippers and Falcons have identical 1-6 records and 1.2500 Heal Points and a win. The Falcons have scored twice as many points though and allowed 55 fewer points than their Battle of the Bay rival.

- Northern Class C is providing us with a treat next week, as the top four teams in the conference will be matched up against one-another. On Friday First ranked Mount Desert Island will host fourth place Nokomis in Bar Harbor while number two Winslow will be at Pittsfield to play third place Maine Central Institute.

- If you do not understand how much Old Orchard Beach Dylan Boudreau means to the Seagulls attack, read this. In their 33-32 loss to Spruce Mountain, he accounted for 348 yards of total offense and four rushing touchdowns. This total offense ranked as one of the top five efforts this weekend in Maine.

- While nobody admits to it, scoreboard watching around this time of the year happens. Especially when it means a playoff spot on the line. That’s going to be the case for the Oak Hill community. They currently sit in the eighth and final playoff spot in Southern Class D. Ninth place Dirigo will host seventh place Old Orchard Beach. A Cougars win will move them into the playoffs and will force the Raiders to have to win in Lisbon on Saturday if they want to play beyond the eighth week.

- The other battle of the undefeated was in Wells on Friday between the Warriors and the Lisbon Greyhounds. And like any top-card match, it was an even battle early on. Both sides found ways to keep the other side limited during the first 24 minutes. Wells only had a 14-6 lead at halftime. But during the second half Wells took to the air and moved their ground game to outside the tackles, and that was something Lisbon just wasn’t able to counter. What was telling was the yardage gained at the end of the contest; 401-140 in favor of Wells. Lisbon’s normally dominating ground game only averaged a little over two yards on their 38 rushing attempts. Meanwhile, Wells running back Nolan Potter’s numbers into the second half as he ran for 136 yards along with two touchdowns.

- The Washington Academy Raiders are enjoying the best season of their seven-year program’s history. But despite their 4-3 record, they are now in eighth place and two spots back of the sixth and final playoff spot in Northern Class D. The Downeast showdown against Ellsworth could be worth more than regional bragging rights though. A Raiders win would net them enough Heal Points to move them into the playoffs and knock Ellworth out of the playoffs.

- Being Class E, the effort won’t get the attention. But it should. Maranacook’s Skyler Boucher had a hand in all 40 points scored by the Black Bears. He accounted for five touchdowns while also helping with the team’s five two-point conversions.

- If you want to look at another person that spurred his team to victory, check out Massabesic’s Nick Roberge. After going down 14-0 in Bangor to the Rams, Nick through a scoring strike to teammate Noah McGrath cut the Rams lead in half. In the third quarter he ran in a touchdown to tie the game 14-14. And then with a minute left Nick found Isaac DesVergnes for the game-winning score with less than a minute into the game to give the Mustangs the 21-14 win.

- We’re going to admit it now - we want to see Marshwood play Kennebunk in the playoffs. And we want to see a battle that was every bit as compelling and gripping as their game on Saturday. Marshwood’s defense deserves all sorts of praise for shutting down Kennebunk in the second half. They limited the Rams to 120 rushing yards during the game while picking off Kennebunk quarterback Tripp Bush four times. And that isn’t to take away from Kennebunk’s play either. They rushed ahead to a 12-7 lead and limited the Hawks to 3 completions through the air. But the player that did make an offensive difference was Hawks quarterback Tommy Springer. His 80-yard scoring jaunt along the sideline in the third quarter would go on to be the difference maker. It also represented over half of his 157 ground yards during the game.

- Traditional end-of-season rivalry games this weekend
Edward Little at Lewiston - Battle of the Bridge
Greely at Falmouth - Battle of Route 9
Messalonskee at Lawrence
Cony at Gardiner
Freeport at Yarmouth - Battle of the Bay
John Bapst at Orono
Portland at South Portland - Battle of the Bridge

- Quote of the week
"You can’t hang your head. You’ve got to move on to the next play and not let it get to you."
Vinnie Pasquali, Portland running back

- Unbeaten tracker
There are 5 unbeaten teams in Maine after week seven
The longest active winning streak belongs to Bonny Eagle - 18 consecutive wins
The longest active losing streak belongs to Gray-New Gloucester - 18 consecutive losses

- First place teams after week seven
Class A North - Edward Little
Class A South - Bonny Eagle|
Class B North - Skowhegan
Class B South - Marshwood
Class C North - Mount Desert Island
Class C South - Leavitt
Class D North - Bucksport
Class D South - Wells
Class E - Boothbay

- Games of interest in week eight
Edward Little at Lewiston
Scarborough at Bonny Eagle
Greely at Falmouth
Nokomis at Mount Desert Island
Foxcroft Academy at Mattanawcook Academy