Mt. Blue football coach Gary Parlin swapped two game films with Marshwood coach Alex Rotsko this week in preparation for the Class B state title game today.

He only needed one to see just what type of challenge the Hawks will present his Cougars at 6 tonight at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

“This will be the best defensive front we’ve seen all year,” Parlin said. “They have a great quarterback, too. They’ll be the best team we’ve played all season. They’re a dangerous team.”

The Cougars are back in a state championship game for the first time in seven years — they lost to Bonny Eagle in the 2005 Class A game.

It’s been a longer stretch for Marshwood, which last played for a state title in 1989, also as as a Class A team.

The Hawks (10-1) and Cougars (11-0) come in with contrasting offenses that make for an intriguing showdown.

Marshwood, under new coach Alex Rotsko, runs a traditional Wing-T offense.

“We don’t throw balls as well as they do,” Rotsko said, “but we do some other things that hopefully will give them problems. We use a lot of different formations, but the plays themselves are traditional Wing-T.”

The Hawks feature four players who’ve rushed for at least 390 yards this season. Brett Gerry led the way with 1,097 yards and 13 touchdowns. Quarterback Cameron Roll rushed for 560 yards and 10 touchdowns, while senior captain Dan Lizotte, a fullback, rushed for 790 yards and nine touchdowns. Nick Janes, another senior captain, has rushed for 394 yards and two touchdowns.

“We’re pretty balanced,” Rotsko said.

Parlin said the Cougars will need to have an edge up front and also be able to contain the perimeter.

“Their quarterback is more of a running threat,” he said. “They run belly and dive up inside, but the big play for them is when the quarterback keeps it. Against these guys, you can’t bunch the middle, or else (Gerry) comes hard to the outside.”

Added Mt. Blue quarterback/defensive back Jordan Whitney: “Marshwood can run it. They have tough kids. We will defintely have to stop the outside run.”

Like the Hawks, the Cougars also feature a highly regarded quarterback. Unlike the Hawks, the Cougars’ quarterback is a threat to air out opposing defenses. Whitney has thrown 28 touchdowns and more than 1,700 yards. He has thrown just five interceptions.

“He is the best quarterback we’ll play all season,” Rotsko said. “Just his poise. He stands back there and he really scans the field. To me, he seems very poised for a high school quarterback. He also has a nice complement of skill kids. We’re going to have our hands full.”

Calan Lucas and Chad Luker give the Cougars a formidable running game as well. Luker rushed for four touchdowns and 74 yards in a 42-14 win over Waterville last week in the Pine Tree Conference Class B championship game. Lucas rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries against the Purple Panthers.

“Both of our tems have outstanding quarterbacks,” Parlin sad. “They like to run it a little bit more. We want to be a little more balanced.”

Added Whitney: “We’re starting to pound the ball. We’re prepared. We’ll be ready.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]