As the playoffs start this week, three area teams have an extra week to prepare for opponents to be determined.
Winslow (7-1) and Waterville (7-1) earned the top two seeds in Eastern Class C, and have first-round byes. In Western Class D, Maine Central Institute (7-1) won a coin flip with Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln, and will be the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.
With no game this weekend, the three teams will spend practice time working on fundamentals.
“Obviously, we need to do some work with our defense to get things shored up,” MCI head coach Tom Bertrand said. “This gives us a couple weeks to get ready.”
The Little Ten Conference coin flip came when MCI and Mattanawcook finished the regular season with indentical records. The teams did not play each other, and all other tiebreakers were deadlocked. The flip was conducted by Orono High athletic director Mike Archer on Saturday morning. After a coin flip to determine who would call the flip, Bertrand chose tails, on the advice of his team.
Winslow knew it was locked into the top seed in the Big Ten Conference playoffs, no matter the outcome of the Battle of the Bridge against Waterville. Playoff seeds are determined using the Crabtree Points formula, which combines a team’s winning percentage with its opponents’ winning percentage. Winslow’s opponents won one more game than Waterville’s.
Winslow head coach Mike Siviski said he’d rather be playing this week.
“I don’t like byes at all,” Siviski said. “We’ll have a big review week. We’ll probably give the kids a day off in midweek.”
Waterville needed Saturday’s 25-21 win over Winslow to clinch a bye. The Purple Panthers will focus on fundamentals this week, and also take some time off Tuesday to watch the school’s girls soccer team, the top seed in the Eastern B tournament, host No. 9 Old Town in the quarterfinals.
“We haven’t been able to support the other teams at our school. We’d like to do that,” Waterville head coach Frank Knight said.
Winslow will host either No. 5 Belfast or No. 4 Foxcroft Academy in the regional semifinals on Nov. 9. That same day, Waterville will host either No. 6 Old Town or No. 3 Mt. Desert Island.
MCI awaits the winner of Saturday’s game between No. 6 Washington Academy and No. 3 Mattanawcook.
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The Pine Tree Conference Class B lived up to preseason expectations that it would be one of the most competitive leagues in the state. Friday’s quarterfinal games feature rematches of two regular season contests that were each decided by a touchdown or less.
“I honestly, truly believe this, that any one of the six has a shot to win this,” Mt. Blue head coach Gary Parlin said. “I think the playoffs are going to be pretty tight. We’ve all beaten each other.”
No. 6 Hampden Academy (5-3) plays at No. 3 Messalonskee. When these teams met at Hampden two weeks ago, Messalonskee took a 21-14 win. The other quarterfinal has No. 5 Skowhegan (4-4) at No. 4 Mt. Blue (5-3). This is the second week in a row these teams play each other. Mt. Blue won the regular season finale on Friday in Skowhegan, 42-40.
On Sunday night, Skowhegan head coach Matt Friedman and his staff were beginning to formulate a game plan for facing the Cougars again.
“I’m not a big guy on changing things up, but obviously, it makes it a lot harder when you play a team two weeks in a row,” Friedman said.
The top seed in the PTC B playoffs is Brunswick (6-2), and the Dragons will face the winner of the Skowhegan-Mt. Blue game. No. 2 Cony (6-2) awaits the Hampden-Messalonskee winner.
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Around the state: Five teams made it through the regular season undefeated: Cheverus, Kennebunk, Leavitt, Bucksport and Winthrop/Monmouth… The Big Ten Conference quarterfinals feature a rematch of one of the best games of the regular season, Belfast at Foxcroft. On Sept. 20, Foxcroft rallied for a 28-27 win over the Lions… Another great quarterfinal rematch is in Eastern Class A, where No. 5 Lewiston plays at No. 4 Bangor. Lewiston won the regular season game against the Rams, 31-29, scoring in the final minute to take the lead.