Thoughts on the Weekend - Week Eight

October 22, 2017


Thoughts on the weekend

- In light of the news out of Gray this past week, our opening comment is directed at the players and students of Gray-New Gloucester. No matter how much it is claimed to be a joke, no matter who tells you to do it, and no matter what the justification is, being told to target another player for any reason other than the fact that he is the ball carrier is as wrong as it can get. There is nothing correct or fun or positive or right about going after a player because of who his parents are. NOTHING. The learning moment out of this sad, sad incident is that it is your duty as a young adult to always do the right thing. No matter who it is that gets in your face telling you to do otherwise. You are not less than a player or a member of your team for doing the right thing. Just as it can be said for a captain to set the example for your team and let everyone know that showing courage and integrity in the face of an dishonorable request is the correct path to lead your peers on. To quote Martin Luther King, Jr, “The time is always right to do the right thing.”

- What was once considered a sure-fire thing was flipped on its head with Scarborough defeated Bonny Eagle on Friday. This set off a list of possible scenarios of where those teams, with Thornton Academy, might fall, by the end of the weekend. And indeed, the final rankings were solidified until the conclusion of the Portland vs South Portland game. After Friday Scarborough had locked up first place with their 218.75 points. Because Thornton Academy had only played and beaten South Portland, while Bonny Eagle had played and beaten Portland and South Portland, a Bulldogs victory could swing enough points in the Scots favor that it would draw them level with the Golden Trojans. And if they were tied for points, the first tiebreaker of head-to-head series would go in Bonny Eagle’s favor and they would finish in second place. The Red Riots would beat Portland 34-17 and that is what put Thornton Academy into second place and Bonny Eagle into third place.

- You would have to go back to Scarborough’s early years of the football program in 1999 to 2002 when they finished first place in their conference/league.

- For the first time since 2014, Class A will finish the regular season without an undefeated team.

- With undefeated Edward Little coming to the temporarily home field at Bates College, the Lewiston Blue Devils had to wonder if this was going to be another second-half let down in a season where they had seen more than their share of them. The Blue Devils had a 14-8 lead but only had 15 positive yards of offense in their favor. A great game though isn’t always decided by a dominating attack, but an offense that maximizes its chances and a defense that limits those of the opposition. Lewiston put two scores on the board going into the fourth quarter, while holding Edward Little to a little under a hundred yards and seven first downs in the second half. When the Red Eddies finally were able to find the end zone, the score was 35-16 with two minutes to go in the game. The victory gives Lewiston their 93rd win in the 175-game history of the cross-river rivalry.

- If you need an example of how much Heal Points can swing over the course of a single week, take a look at Northern Class A. At the finish of week seven, Windham held onto second place. Behind them was Lewiston and Oxford Hills. By the end of week eight, Lewiston gained 98.4375 Heal points to take over second place and Oxford Hills gained 32.8125 Heal points. Windham only gained 12.1875 Heal points to move into a two-way tie with Oxford Hills for third place. By virtue of the first tiebreaker, head-to-head meetings, Oxford Hills got third place and Windham dropped into fourth.

- In a final game befitting the venerable Cobb Stadium field, the Sanford Spartans held a lead for 36 minutes before Thornton Academy broke through with three fourth-quarter scores to delivery a road victory for the Golden Trojans. Next year Sanford will be moving to their new school campus, complete with a track and artificial turf field.

- The Massabesic Mustangs haven’t had much to cheer about in the past couple of years. One-win and zero-win seasons have kept the Waterboro team near the bottom of the standings. Their last winning record season was 2008 (6-2) and their last playoff trip was 2009 (8th seed). However, they finished up the season with back-to-back wins. The last time they won consecutive games was 2012, when the beat Kennebunk 54-6 and Deering 56-32.

- Since Alex Rotsko took over as head coach at Marshwood in 2012, the Hawks have been Class B’s most successful regular season team with a six-year record of 40-8. In those six years they have never had less than five wins in a season, they finished first three times, and they’ve recorded their second perfect season.

- It seems fitting that Class B North’s changing ranks from one week to the next would result in ties amongst the top four teams. Skowhegan would edge out Lawrence for first place based on the week seven 58-56 victory. Cony would clinch third ahead of Messalonskee based on their week seven 27-17 win against the Eagles.

- Before this season, the 2006 Bonny Eagle held an unofficial distinction of surrendering the most points by a first place team. Those Scots went 8-0 in the regular season but allowed 192 points. Since then, no first team came within 40 points of that mark. That mark though was shattered this season. The Skowhegan Indians finished first, but allowed 299 points in Northern Class B. When you look at the combined sum of all the points surrendered by the eight first-place teams this season (1063), 28% of that was allowed by one team.

- For the concerns and issues that have been voiced with the new scheduling system, one needs to look at where the process worked. And that brings us to Gorham. Coming into the season the Rams had a 17-game losing streak and had just one win in the previous five years. With their 3-5 season, Gorham finished with their most wins since 2011 and are in their first playoff game since 2008.

- Congratulations are in order to three teams that will be making their first ever postseason appearance. The Nokomis Warriors had the best season in their program’s 11-year history and will host Maine Central Institute on Saturday. The Hermon Hawks’ 6-2 year is the best in their program’s seven-year history and will host Oceanside on Friday. The Ellsworth Eagles made the playoffs on their first year of eligibility and will be traveling to Dexter on Saturday.

- The advent of inter-class games allowed Gardiner and Cony to play a meaningful contest despite the difference in Class for the first time in decades. The state’s longest-running series has been very one-way in the past five years, as Cony had no problem dispatching the Tigers in both exhibition and regular season play. But this game was very different as the Tigers and Rams played neck-and-neck to force overtime. However, it may not have required extra plays as Cony had a chance at a field goal from 27 yards out. But Rams kicker Kyle Douin’s chip shot went just right of the uprights to force overtime. On defense, Gardiner picked off their fifth interception of the night and Collin Foye found paydirt on a ten-yard run which gave the Tigers the victory over their Cony rivals.

- How dominating was Oceanside during their Friday-night game against winless Belfast? The Mariners sailed to an overwhelming 61-6 lead at halftime before playing their reserves in the second half.

- In the Battle of the Bay between Yarmouth and Freeport, it was also a win-and-you’re-in reality for the Clippers and Falcons as a win would give the victory enough Heal Points to escape the 1.2500 point deadlock into sole possession of the eighth and final playoff spot. Despite the disappointment of this season, Yarmouth earned their ninth consecutive playoff trip.

- First, first, fourth, fourth, sixth, fifth, third, second. That is the strange trip that the Cape Elizabeth Capers have taken in Southern Class C. The cornerstone win of their season that pushed them into second place was their 20-7 win against Fryeburg Academy on October 13th.

- On the back of their season finale victory against Mountain Valley, the Wells Warriors finished the regular season with more than just a shutout. They also finished the season with the fewest points allowed by a team (62) in the state. They beat out Class C Fryeburg Academy by a single point for that statewide distinction.

- The last time that Foxcroft Academy played in the old Class C Little Ten Conference in 2012, they finished first place. That season they would go on to defeat Winslow 22-20 in the Class C state championship game. After four years away, the Ponies have returned to the new Class D Little Ten Conference and have again finished in first place. They finished with the Northern D lead in wins (6), most points scored (325), and fewest points allowed (140).

- There was another win-and-you’re-in battle in the state. That was in Dixfield as Dirigo was fighting for the playoff lives against seventh place Old Orchard Beach. A win would keep the Seagulls in the playoffs. A Cougars win would bump the Seagulls out of the playoffs. It was close for much of the game, but in a good ole’ fashion Class D slugfest, it was Dirigo that made the jump into seventh with an 18-6 win. The victory gives Dirigo their tenth consecutive playoff appearance.

- With the recent disappointments and struggles in Boothbay, the Seahawks community should be looking at this season’s 8-0 perfect record with optimism for the future. This represents their best season since 2006, when they went to the Class C state championship. Say what you want about Class E, but the class was designed to create a level playing field and it was clear that Boothbay was best on that playing field.

- It’s not very common to surrender 163 yards on mistakes and still win. But when you out gain your opposition 301 yards to 177 yards and hold an opponent to 14 points, good things will eventually happen. The traveling Lisbon Greyhounds had a close contest, but Isaiah Thompson’s 14-yard scoring run with 8:44 left was the difference maker that gave them the lead over Oak Hill. Meanwhile it was a smothering Greyhounds defense that prevented the Raiders from getting a single point on four second half drives.

- A common theme this weekend was the questioning of the Heal Point rankings. The reality is that this is the system that is in play – for better or for worse. However, we wanted to go back to the previous system and show everyone how teams would have been ranked. That is right everyone, here is how teams would have been ranked using Crabtree Rankings and their tiebreaker methodology (1. Head-to-Head meeting, 2. Heal points, 3. In-division record, 4. Overall record, 5. Coin toss).

Class A North - Edward Little (118.750), Oxford Hills (103.125), Windham (103.125), Lewiston (89.063), Cheverus (87.500), Portland (76.563), Bangor (46.875)
Oxford Hills wins first tiebreaker - head-to-head meeting

Class A South - Scarborough (139.062), Thornton Academy (137.500), Bonny Eagle (135.937), South Portland (103.125), Sanford (98.437), Massabesic (82.813), Deering, (78.125)

Class B North - Messalonskee (114.062), Lawrence (109.375), Skowhegan (107.812), Cony (100.000), Brewer (89.062), Brunswick (68.750), Mt. Blue (54.687), Hampden Academy (51.562)

Class B South - Marshwood (159.375), Kennebunk (142.187), Falmouth (137.500), Greely (120.312), Biddeford (117.187), Westbrook (96.875), Gorham (93.750), Mt. Ararat (87.500), Noble (62.500)

Class C North - Mount Desert Island (150.000), Winslow (139.062), Hermon (121.875), Nokomis (115.625), Oceanside (110.937), Maine Central Institute (110.937), Waterville (92.187), John Bapst (85.937), Medomak Valley (84.375), Old Town (73.437), Belfast (70.312)
Oceanside wins first tiebreaker - head-to-head meeting

Class C South - Leavitt (140.625), Cape Elizabeth (128.125), Fryeburg Academy (120.312), Morse (107.812), York (103.125), Gardiner (103.125), Lake Region (98.437), Yarmouth (81.250), Freeport (56.250), Gray-New Gloucester (48.437)
York wins first tiebreaker - head-to-head meeting

Class D North - Foxcroft Academy (123.437), Bucksport (118.750), Mattanawcook Academy (106.250), Dexter (103.125), Ellsworth (87.500), Washington Academy (81.250), Houlton (78.125), Mount View (76.562), Stearns (53.125), Orono (40.625)

Class D South - Wells (159.375), Madison (143.750), Lisbon (137.500), Spruce Mountain (117.187), Mountain Valley (110.937), Winthrop/Monmouth (101.562), Oak Hill (95.312), Dirigo (85.937), Old Orchard Beach (81.250), Poland (67.187)

Class E - Boothbay (132.812), Maranacook (114.062), Camden Hills (114.062), Sacopee Valley (90.625), Telstar (73.437), Traip Academy (64.062)
Maranacook wins second tiebreaker - Heal points

- Of the 24 regional quarterfinal games, we have confirmed 16 of them. These will be updated at our website at www.mainehighschoolfootball.com. We are still waiting to confirm dates and times for the following games; Portland @ Oxford Hills, Sanford @ South Portland, Biddeford @ Greely, Morse @ Gardiner, Lake Region @ Cape Elizabeth, Houlton @ Mattanawcook Academy, Spruce Mountain @ Mountain Valley, Winthrop/Monmouth @ Lisbon

- Quote of the week
"It’s the Bridge game, man. It’s one of the biggest games of the season for us. It’s our last (regular-season) game. It’s so big for us, and this win meant so much for every one of us on this team."
Nick Penney, South Portland guard/defensive tackle
http://www.pressherald.com/2017/10/21/football-south-portland-tops-portland-34-17/

- Unbeaten tracker
Three teams will finish the regular season without a loss; Marshwood, Wells, Boothbay
The longest active winning streak belongs to Wells - 12 consecutive wins
The longest active losing streak belongs to Gray-New Gloucester - 19 consecutive losses

- First place teams at the end of the regular season
Class A North - Edward Little
Class A South - Scarborough
Class B North - Skowhegan
Class B South - Marshwood
Class C North - Mount Desert Island
Class C South - Leavitt
Class D North - Foxcroft Academy
Class D South - Wells
Class E - Boothbay

- Games of interest in the regional quarterfinals
Hermon at Oceanside
Maine Central Institute at Nokomis
Morse at Gardiner
Spruce Mountain at Mountain Valley
Winthrop/Monmouth at Lisbon