Rick Leary was hired as head football coach at Mount View High School late this summer, soon enough to introduce himself to the team right before the two week hands off period. The preseason has been Leary’s opportunity to give the Mustangs a crash course in all new schemes on both sides of the ball, as well as brush up on football fundamentals.

“That’s the biggest challenge. I got hired so late,” Leary said.

Things started to come together for the Mustangs during Friday’s exhibition game at Oceanside. With Mount View trailing the Mainers 22-6 at the half, Leary said he saw players starting to drop their heads.

“I said, ‘Don’t you quit on me. I’m not quitting on you,'” Leary said. “Their heads came up, and they didn’t quit. I’m very happy about that.”

First half mistakes were a result of inexperience, particularly in blocking. Adjustments made at halftime cleaned up a lot of problems, Leary said.

“We’re making steady progress. It’s a matter of getting time together. I find myself rushing, and I have to keep backing up and saying to myself ‘slow things down,'” Leary said.

The Mustangs open the regular season on Friday with a non-conference game at Spruce Mountain. Mount View’s first Little Ten Conference game of the season is Sept. 16, when it hosts Ellsworth. Leary expects the Mustangs to show continued improvement.

“It’s exciting. It’s just a steady progress for everything we touch. We touch on something, and they get better,” Leary said. “They’re hustling, and that doesn’t require talent.”

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Mount View is just one of many central Maine teams opening the season with a non-conference game. Among the area teams playing non-conference games this weekend are: Skowhegan (at home against Marshwood), Nokomis (at Hampden), Madison (at Foxcroft Academy), Cony (home against Falmouth), and Waterville (home against Mt. Blue).

Waterville and Mt. Blue were one time rivals in the Pine Tree Conference, and last played in the PTC B championship game in 2012. Mt. Blue won that game, on the way to a Class B state championship. Nokomis and Hampden, as well as Madison and Foxcroft, are also matchups of former conference rivals. Nokomis and Hampden each played in the PTC B last season, and Madison and Foxcroft were opponents in the Big Ten Conference.

Friday’s game at Clark Field in Skowhegan is the first meeting between Skowhegan and Marshwood since the 1989 Class A state championship game. Marshwood took that game, 26-14, to win the state title in its first season as a Class A team after winning the Class B crown in 1988.

• • •

What might be the game of the season in the Big Ten Conference is set for Saturday, and could set the tone for the league this season. A rematch of last season’s conference final, Mt. Desert Island versus Winslow, will play out Saturday afternoon at Winslow’s Poulin Field.

Mt. Desert Island took the conference title last season with a 12-7 win over the Black Raiders last November.

It’s rare for a championship rematch to come so early the following season. Longtime Winslow coach Mike Siviski said he has no preference for win games of such magnitude get played.

“You get your schedule and you play your schedule,” Siviski said.

The smallest school in Class C, Winslow’s enrollment of 446 students puts the school in Class D, but the Black Raiders chose to play up a class. Winslow’s enters Saturday’s season-opener coming off an impressive 40-0 win over Class B Messalonskee in an exhibition game. Siviski downplayed that result.

“We did pretty well,” Winslow head coach Mike Siviski said. “Ultimately, it’s a scrimmage game.”

• • •

Anyone watching Cony’s scrimmage against Lawrence Friday night would have seen an odd sight: Jordan Roddy, the team’s star receiver, on the sideline in street clothes rather than in pads and on the field.

And if anyone watching took that as a warning sign, Cony head coach B.L. Lippert said there’s no need for worry.

“He was banged up at the end of basketball season and he was cleared in early August for all activities, but we thought it was best for him to sit out the exhibition and scrimmages,” he said. “Just give him two more weeks of non-contact. He certainly wanted to play, I know that.”

Lippert said that Roddy would be a go for Friday’s game against Falmouth. The senior caught 67 passes for 1,074 yards and 17 touchdowns last season.

“We were watching the film on Saturday, he was absolutely going crazy on the sideline in his khaki shorts and jersey on the sideline, cheering on his teammates,” Lippert said. “He’s one of our captains for a reason. He celebrates the success of others, just like he would his own.”

Staff Writer Drew Bonifant contributed to this report.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM