BY TRAVIS LAZARCZYK

Staff Writer

Leavitt and Mt. Blue aren’t complete strangers. In recent years, when Mt. Blue was in the Pine Tree Conference Class A division, the teams would meet in the preseason. Now that they both play in the PTC B, that preseason contest has been scrapped.

All would agree that playing each other at midseason, with both undefeated and with first place on the line, is much more fun.

“Whoever wins it has the edge, but there’s still a lot of football left,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said. “But it’s a big game and should be billed that way. We’re excited for it.”

In other big games in the region, Messalonskee (4-1) plays at Brunswick (4-1) in a PTC A game between two teams in the thick of the playoff chase; Lewiston (3-2) is at Lawrence (5-0) with Lewiston fighting for its playoff life; and Mt. View (3-2) plays at Maine Central Institute (2-3) in a key Little Ten Conference showdown.

Mt. Blue and Leavitt feature the top two scoring teams not just in the league but in the state, and each team features a number of talented players.

“We haven’t played a team with this much athleticism, so it’s going to be interesting to see how we match up,” Mt. Blue wideout/cornerback Cam Sennick said.

Leavitt, the two-time defending PTC B champion, has a veteran quarterback in Jordan Hersom who can throw (684 yards passing with a 72 percent completion rate), run (421 yards rushing) and run Leavitt’s spread offense perfectly.

The key to defending the Hornets is playing your assignment and not buying the fakes, Mt. Blue coach Gary Parin said.

“They use a lot of formations and a lot of fakes, and they run basic plays. A lot of off-tackle plays, traps, stuff like that,” Parlin said. “You just have to stay at home. Some of those things, you practice and you talk to the kids all week, but it’s hard to get kids not to take a step, because (Leavitt’s) fakes are very good.”

Along with Hersom, the Hornets feature running back Jake Ouellette, who leads the team with 592 yards rushing, utility back Ian Durgin (293 yards receiving) and wideout Brian Bedard (141 receiving yards), who recently returned from injury.

If there’s a team with as many or more offensive weapons as Leavitt, it’s Mt. Blue. The Cougars have a pair of fast backs in Eric Berry and Izaiha Tracy and tall and quick receivers in Nick Hilton and Sennick. Tracy, Hilton, Sennick and Chris Malone have more than 200 yards receiving apiece.

“They have a lot of team speed, as much as we’ve seen,” Hathaway said.

Junior quarterback Jordan Whitney has thrown for 949 yards and 12 touchdowns with just one interception and has completed 79.7 percent of his throws.

“He’s just so much more adept at reading defenses. Last year, Bangor confused him. Lawrence would come up and invert their safeties, and it just blew his mind. He’s seen now, just about everything,” Parlin said of Whitney. “He’s pretty confident back there now. He’s got weapons to throw to, and the o-line is giving him time. Now, he’s going to be under pressure (tonight), because they get to the quarterback. He’s going to have to make plays with guys in his face.”

Mt. Blue’s size has been a problem for most opponents, Sennick is 6-foot-6, and Hilton is 6-4. Hathaway feels his secondary, which includes the 6-3 Hersom at free safety, can match up with the Cougars.

“They’re going to be tough. We have a little size in the secondary,” Hathaway said.

Added Sennick: “Their cornerbacks are young, so hopefully we can use our experience against them and beat them deep early.”

Both defenses have been stingy. The Hornets allow just under 11 points per game, while the Cougars allow just under 13. While many of the Leavitt players have seen action in other big games, including the past two Class B state championships, Parin thinks his team’s experience in Class A is a plus.

“They’ve played in big games, but we feel in the last couple of years we’ve played in big games, too. We’ve played against the Bangors, the Lawrences, the Skowhegans. We think that’s helped prepare our guys for what we’re going to see,” Parlin said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]


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