The Maranacook football team knows exactly what it will face Saturday when it ventures to Lisbon for a Western D Campbell Conference quarterfinal game.
Then again, the Black Bears don’t really know — not with Lisbon standout senior athlete Quincy Thompson out of the lineup.
The No. 6 Black Bears (4-4) and No. 3 Greyhounds (6-2) will kick off at 1:30 p.m.
The teams met Oct. 12 and the Greyhounds cruised to a 24-6 victory. Thompson rushed for a game-high 138 yards and two touchdowns.
He was, Maranacook coach Joe Emery said, tough to contain that day. The Black Bears won’t have that problem Saturday because Thompson suffered a potential season-ending elbow injury a week later.
“They are a different team without him,” Emery said. “He takes away a little of what they can do. Lisbon will still run the same stuff but, obviously, they won’t run it as well with Quincy out.”
The Thompson-less Greyhounds had a chance at the No. 2 seed but dropped a 33-14 decision to Oak Hill in the regular-season finale. Lisbon coach Dick Mynahan said he tried running some different plays early against the Raiders but it didn’t work out.
“We tried to do a lot of changing around against Oak Hill in the first half,” he said. “It wasn’t working, so in the second half we went back to what worked best for us. We just stuck to what we’re used to doing.”
Shifty senior Jordan Torres, all 135 pounds of him, had the bulk of the carries last week for Lisbon and Emery expects more of the same Saturday.
“He can run that sweep as good as anyone,” Emery said. “He’s tough. He’s dangerous. He’s much quicker to the outside. We’re going to have to watch out for him.”
Lisbon starting quarterback Kyle Bourget can also throw the ball if called upon.
“We try to do a little of both,” Mynahan said. “Torres is more than capable for us. If we’re running the ball successfully we’ll continue to do it. In the playoffs, though, it’s turnovers, mistakes and penalties that can be deciding factors.”
Maranacook enters the playoffs having lost two of its three final games.
Sophomore quarterback Kyle Morand leads an offense that’s averaging 21.3 points a game. Morand won the starting quarterback job in the preseason and has progressed nicely this fall.
“The game has really slowed down for Kyle,” Emery said. “He still needs to get rid of the ball quicker but he’s really impressed.”
Running back Chris Robinson averages about 100 rushing yards a game to lead the Black Bears. However, Maranacook will be without starting guard Michael Antanavich (collar bone) and wingback AJ Stevens (concussion-like symptoms).
“They have some strong players,” Mynahan said. “They are quick to the outside and we’ll have to contain that. We expect this to be a pretty tough game. We had a tough game with them the last time and we expect the same this time around.”