Messalonskee entered the season as one of the favorites in the Pine Tree Conference Class B, but the Eagles’ 23-0 win at three-time defending conference champion Brunswick on Friday night still raised eyebrows around the state. Count Messalonskee coach Brad Bishop among those slightly surprised by the Eagles effort against the defending Class B state champions.

“We had a real lousy week of practice, and that’s the truth,” Bishop said.

Bishop said the team held a players only meeting on Thursday night, and he doesn’t know what was said in that meeting. He only knows the results he saw Friday. A defense that struggled the previous week in an exhibition game against Winslow was suddenly unflappable, especially in the second half, when it held the Dragons to 68 yards and three first downs.

“They came out Friday night like they were the ’86 Bears,” Bishop said. “They finally realized what it takes. They came out flying. They took some ownership of their situation. It was great to see.”

One of the keys for Messalonskee was moving Austin Pelletier from defensive end to safety.

“Pelletier, he could play a lot of positions on the field, but it was an overall team effort,” Bishop said.

Messalonskee’s schedule doesn’t get any easier this week. The Eagles host Kennebunk, which faced Brunswick in the state championship game last season and looked strong in a 26-0 win over Greely.

“Our kids will be ready for the challenge,” Bishop said.

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Madison’s running game was outstanding in Friday’s 49-28 season-opening win at Foxcroft Academy. The Bulldogs trio of running backs Sean Whalen and Eric Wescott, and quarterback Evan Bess, combined for 483 yards on the ground.

“It was a pretty good start,” Madison coach Scott Franzose said. “That’s the kind of attack we look for.”

Whalen scored five touchdowns, including a kick return for a score, and ran for 164 yards. Bess added 160 yards and a touchdown, while Wescott gained 159 yards and scored a touchdown. While Franzose was pleased with his team’s output, he pointed to some mistakes made at the line of scrimmage that need to be addressed as the season progresses.

“It’s encouraging when you can put up 483 (yards) and still know you have a lot to clean up,” Franzose said.

Madison is back in the Campbell Conference Class D division for the first time since 2010. The Bulldogs open their conference schedule at home Friday night against Dirigo. The Cougars (1-0) are coming off a 13-0 win over Mountain Valley.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve played Dirigo. They look big. They look pretty physical,” Franzose said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how he match up with them.”

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A number of long losing streaks were snapped in week one, including a few by central Maine teams.

Nokomis was coming off back-to-back 0-8 seasons and a 16-game losing streak, but the Warriors came away with a convincing 34-8 win at former PTC B rival Hampden. Waterville went 0-8 last season, and the Purple Panthers losing streak was at nine games. Waterville ended that with a 21-7 win over Mt. Blue.

Maranacook’s nine-game losing streak ended with a 21-0 win over Camden Hills. The sweetest losing streak killer, however, belonged to Sacopee Valley. From 2009 through 2013, the Hawks lost their first 40 varsity games. Sacopee Valley suspended its varsity program prior to the 2014 season, and with Class E, is back this season. Sacopee Valley earned a 25-0 win over Traip for the first win in program history. The Hawks will try to start their first win streak by making the long trek from Hiram to Millinocket to face Stearns this week.

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Around the state: If Traip’s game at Washington Academy Saturday afternoon isn’t the longest road trip in the history of Maine high school football, it’s close. The shortest route from Traip’s Kittery campus to Washington Academy in East Machias is 252 miles one way… 2016 state champions went 2-2 in week one. Bonny Eagle and Wells earned wins, while Brunswick and Maine Central Institute each lost… There were 17 shutouts in week one, or 44 percent of all the games played… With Maine Central Institute’s loss, the longest active win streak in the state belongs to defending Class A state champion Bonny Eagle. The Scots win over Sanford was their 12th victory in a row.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM