The Maranacook football team is heading back to the playoffs, but with a little adversity it hopes to overcome.
Starting guard Michael Antanavich broke a collarbone in the regular-season finale last weekend against Winthrop/Monmouth. Two other starters suffered concussion-like symptoms, leaving their availablity this week in doubt.
And with two losses in its last three games, the Black Bears aren’t exactly rolling into the postseason.
They aren’t exactly panicking either.
“We’re excited,” Maranacook coach Joe Emery said. “This is a great opportunity for us. We’ll be ready to go.”
No. 6 Maranacook (4-4) will play at No. 3 Lisbon (6-2) in a Western D Campbell Conference quarterfinal game Saturday. The Greyhounds won the regular-season meeting 24-6 on Oct. 12.
However, Lisbon will be a much different team Saturday as versatile senior Quincy Thompson is out with an elbow injury. Thompson is a threat in the running and passing attacks, and he handles the kicking duties as well.
“It will be a little different but Lisbon will still run the same formations,” Emery said. “We’ll prepare the same way, but he does take away a little what they like to do. However, we have our own issues we have to take care of, too.”
Antanavich, a junior, broke his hand earlier this season but continued to play with a cast on. The broken collarbone ends his season, and freshman Drew Davis will start in his place.
Starting wingback AJ Stevens and starting cornerback Isaiah Weston both are recovering from concussion-like symptoms and could be out Saturday.
Emery said he is hopeful Weston will be able to play.
“We’ll see,” he said. “Isaiah is a great open-field tackler and is a pretty tough kid. Hopefully, he can go.”
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Cony (6-2) earned the No. 2 seed in the Pine Tree Conference Class B playoffs and a bye into the semifinals.
Coach Robby Vachon said the extra week will allow a few players to recover from “minor bumps and bruises.”
Cony will play either No. 6 Hampden (5-3) or No. 3 Messalonskee (5-3) in the semifinals.
“We’ll lift, stretch and do some distance running,” he said. “We’ll break it down this week. We’ll go with the defense on Tuesday and the offense on Wednesday. Hopefully, we’ll have some film early Saturday and we’ll dig right into that.
“I guess it remains to be seen if the bye will help us on the field,” Vachon said. “We’ve never been in this position before. We’ll have a chance to get a little healthier, so that will be good.”
Brunswick (6-2) earned the top seed and also received a bye. It will play either No. 4 Mt. Blue (5-3) or No. 5 Skowhegan (4-4) in the semifinals.
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Winthrop/Monmouth (8-0) wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the Western D Campbell Conference. The Ramblers, who last played for a state championship in 2008, will open the playoffs Friday night against No. 8 Telstar (2-6).
Coach Joel Stoneton said the Ramblers take great comfort knowing they’ll play all regional playoff games at their Maxwell Field home.
“We can keep to our routine,” Stoneton said. “We love being home. People will have to show up here and play a great game. We welcome the challenge.”
The Ramblers handled the Rebels 42-6 in the regular season.
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Kents Hill (1-5) will play a rare night game at Alfond Field on Saturday. The Huskies will host Tilton (1-5) in a game that was originally scheduled for Friday afternoon.
However, the teams agreed to move the game because many players were scheduled to take the SATs on Saturday morning.
“We’ll bring up six or eight light poles and play a night game,” Kents Hill coach Steve Shukie said. “You don’t see a lot of Saturday night games so we’ll be the only show in town. I think the kids will be excited. It will be cold out there — all things good for football.”
It’s been a tough season for the Huskies. They’ve allowed 240 points, most in the Evergreen League, and have scored just 78. However, Kents Hill will close the season with games against teams that are a combined 2-10 — Tilton and Hebron.
“We have an opportunity to finish strong,” Shukie said.
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Oak Hill (6-2) enters the Western D Campbell Conference playoffs as the No. 2 seed and will host No. 7 Boothbay in a quarterfinal game Saturday at a time to be determined.
The teams met Oct. 12, when the Raiders rolled to a 40-6 win in Wales.
“We expect a tough football game from them,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “They are a physical team and have a lot of seniors. In games like this, we’ll look to our seniors and the guys with the experience.”
The Raiders received a boost last weekend with the return of senior quarterback Parker Asselin, who’d been out with an injury.
Asselin completed four of five passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in a 33-14 win over Lisbon.
“We’re going to rely on the kids who got us here,” Doucette said.