After struggling for two games, Messalonskee’s offense came to life in Friday’s 49-41 win over Mt. Blue. If the Eagles’ are clicking, they’re another team in the playoff mix in the tough Pine Tree Conference Class B division.
“The line worked hard. They got low, and we all did our job. All 11 guys bought in. We knew we’re a good team, we just had to do our assignments,” said quarterback Jake Dexter, who threw for two touchdowns and ran for three scores in the win.
This is Messalonskee’s first season in new head coach Brad Bishop’s wing-T offense, and Bishop expected some growing pains as the team learned the system after years running the double wing.
“They just have to feel comfortable. We’re running more formations. It’s probably confusing. It’s different than what they were doing,” Bishop said. “They had some success early in the game, and I think that just opened their eyes. They were more aggressive, once they had that success.
“At some point this was going to click, eventually. I just didn’t know when it was going to happen.”
The Eagles ran and threw well. Dexter completed 6 of 7 passes for 137 yards. Devin Warren had four catches for 107 yards, and Corey McKenzie ran for 179 yards.
“You could pick out almost every single one of our plays, and say that we did a better job. We really cracked down. All our plays were working,” Dexter said. “We all knew we’re a good team. It’s just a matter of coming together… We didn’t even attempt a pass until late in the second quarter. It was open. It was all part of going off the run.”
Added Bishop: “Jake has unlimited potential. We sat down with him and told him, he has to carry out all his fakes. I gave the kids heck in pregame. If you can run a few plays successfully, it opens everything else up in this type of offense. One thing leads to a conflict on another thing for a defense.”
The Eagles, now 1-2, play at Brewer on Friday. Bishop expects his team to be even more proficient in the wing-T.
“People laugh at it, because it was made up in the ‘50s, but it’s a very good high school offense. Everybody gets to share the ball, is what I like about it. You can’t key on any one guy,” Bishop said.
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The highest scoring team in the state right now is Waterville. In three games, the Purple Panthers scored 170 points, almost 57 points per game.
The Panthers have depth at the skill positions, and those players are protected by an experienced offensive line. Nine Waterville players have scored a touchdown.
Head coach Frank Knight also credited offensive coordinator Ken Lindlof’s creative play calling.
“We really do a lot of the same plays, but we do them out of different formations and looks,” Knight said. “Ken’s pretty crafty at designing plays. Now we have the horses to back it up, and we have the best line we’ve had in many years.”
Waterville’s depth is on display now, with running back Cam Thomas out for six weeks with a broken big toe.
Waterville hosts Hermon (0-3) on Saturday. The Panthers’ schedule get more difficult in the second half of the season, with road trips to Foxcroft Academy and Mt. Desert Island, and home games against Madison and Winslow.
“The toughest part of the schedule is coming up,” Knight said.
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There have been coaches who have become officials, and officials who have moved on to coaching. Ryan Frederick is doing both.
Frederick is an assistant coach at Mt. View, where he works with the Mustangs’ offensive and defensive lines. He’s also a football official, and worked Saturday’s game between Mt. Desert Island and Winslow.
Frederick cannot work games involving teams in Mt. View’s league, the Little Ten Conference.
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Around the state: Mt. Ararat earned it’s first win in more than 30 games, beating Fryeburg Academy, 42-26 on Friday. Now, the Eagles are going for a win streak when they play at winless Gorham on Friday… Three games this weekend feature undefeated opponents. In Eastern Class A, Cheverus plays at Windham. In Western Class B, Marshwood plays at Kennebunk. In Western Class D, Winthrop/Monmouth is at Oak Hill… With Mt. Blue’s loss at Messalonskee, the longest active win streak in the state belongs to Foxcroft Academy. The Ponies beat Belfast, 28-27, for their eighth win in a row.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242