With rain in the forecast for every day this week, high school football coaches prepared to make adjustments to their practice schedule.
“We have a certain routine we go through every week,” Winslow coach Mike Siviski said. “That will change.”
The Pine Tree Conference Class A didn’t waste any time, rescheduling semifinal games from Friday night to Saturday, giving fields expected to be saturated with rain an extra day to dry out. Lawrence will host Messalonskee at 2 p.m. Saturday, while Cony hosts Brunswick at 4 p.m.
On Monday, Waterville, which hosts Belfast on Saturday in a PTC B semifinal, planned to watch film. The Purple Panthers planned to workout indoors Tuesday.
“We’ve got an indoor practice scheduled (Tuesday) at All Pro (Sports Center in Waterville),” Waterville coach Frank Knight said. “We’re hoping to get back out Wednesday. At this time of the year, it’s mostly mental.”
This is a statewide storm, so no team was left feeling their opponent had an advantage of dry practice fields this week.
“It will affect us the same as it will affect (Belfast),” Knight said. “It’s good to have an extra day this week. Since we’re hosting, we have that extra day so it’s not so urgent. We’ve got one day to play with.”
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Knight stopped short of calling Waterville’s 25-17 upset win at Hampden Academy in the conference quarterfinals the Panthers’ best game of the season, but he made it clear he was happy with team’s effort.
“I was pleased with our execution on both sides of the ball,” Knight said. “We had some great drivers. Coach (Ken) Lindlof had a great game plan, offensively, and Coach (Dennis) Martin had a great plan, defensively.”
Knight called recovering the ball on Hampden’s line drive kick to start the game the play of the game. Instead of the Broncos stealing momentum right at the start, the Panthers turned the possession into a touchdown, when two plays later, Brian Bellows took a pitch from quarterback Aidan FitzGerald and threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jordhan Levine.
“It was a line drive that hit one of our kids,” Knight said. “It appeared they had it, but Todd Serbent got in there somehow and dug it out.”
Another key for the Panthers was finishing the game, Knight said.
“Something we haven’t been able to do lately is, with a lead, get a couple of first downs and put a team away,” Knight said. “We did that Friday night.”
On Saturday, Waterville (5-4), the No. 6 seed, hosts No. 7 Belfast (5-4), which upset No. 2 Leavitt.
“They’re a dangerous football team,” Knight said of Belfast.
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Winslow did not play Traip, its Campbell Conference Class C semifinal opponent, in the regular season. But the Black Raiders got a crash course in Traip football when they hosted the Rangers last season.
Traip won that game 36-8 and set the tone on the first drive of the game. The Rangers went 69 yards on 18 plays, chewing almost nine minutes off the clock. Traip’s longest play of the game was 16 yards, and the Rangers played almost perfect smash mouth football.
The Rangers controlled the time of possession so well, the Black Raiders ran just seven plays in the first half.
“I’d never seen anything like that,” Siviski said.
Corey Aldecoa is still Traip’s top back. In the Rangers’ 28-0 win over Maranacook in the quarterfinals Saturday, Aldecoa scored a pair of touchdowns.
“They have an outstanding running game,” Siviski said. “We’ve got to be ready in the trenches.”
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Lawrence’s depth was on display in Friday’s regular season finale, a 21-0 win over rival Messalonskee. Xavier Lewis, a utility player on offense and defensive back, and Keenan Scanlin, a fullback/linebacker were able to play most of the game exclusively on the defensive side of the ball.
Aside from when he played a series in the first quarter at quarterback, when Spencer Carey briefly left the game with an ankle injury, Lewis spent all his time on defense. Lewis was fighting a hip flexor injury, so Lawrence coach John Hersom and his staff decided Lewis’ skills were most helpful on defense.
“To be honest, Xavier did not practice, other than attend and get the mental reps,” Hersom said after the game. “He was very limited all week. We were surprised that he was going to able to do that for us on defense. He was able to hang in there and not look like it injured any further. We’re hoping that he’ll be able to come back and be more healthy next week.”
Scanlin had been getting a few carries each game, but against the Eagles, Hersom elected to keep the senior at linebacker.
“We’ve tried to use Keenan more on defense and give Josh Doolan a break against some of the running teams. Kennan’s a little bit bigger, and teams that want to run inside on us, I think Keenan helps us a little more,” Hersom said. “He’s able to give Josh a break on defense. We have two other fullbacks we’re using, so it allows Keenan to just focus on the defense.”
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Around the state: Eleven quarterfinal round playoff games played around the state this past weekend were a rematch of a regular season game. Only one, Belfast’s win over Leavitt, had a different outcome than the regular season contest… The best semifinal game could be in the Little Ten Conference, where No. 4 Bucksport (7-2) plays at No. 1 Foxcroft (8-1). Bucksport was the only team to beat Foxcroft in the regular season, a 13-0 win that snapped the Ponies’ six-game win streak. Entering that game, the Ponies had outscored opponents, 322-8… Marshwood (8-1), the top seed in Western Class B, gets the chance to avenge its only loss of the season when it hosts No. 5 Wells this weekend. Wells beat the Hawks, 36-6, on Sept. 28.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242