The Pine Tree Conference Class A playoffs don’t start until Nov. 4, but as far as Messalonskee High School coach Wes Littlefield is concerned, they start this weekend.

Messalonskee (5-2) has its playoff fate in its hands. The Eagles have home games against Bangor (6-1) and Lawrence (7-0). Win both, and Messalonskee is off to the postseason. Win one, and the Eagles still have a good shot at the playoffs.

Lose both, and it could come down to a coin flip.

“The next two games are playoff games, really,” Littlefield said. “As far as we’re concerned, we have two playoffs games at home the next two weeks.”

If Messalonskee and Skowhegan (4-3) finish the regular season tied, Skowhegan gets the playoff spot because of its head-to-head win over the Eagles. If Messalonskee, Lewiston and Skowhegan each finish 5-4, then the last playoff spot will be decided by a coin flip.

“The fate of our season depends on us,” Littlefield said. “If we go out and take care of business, none of that other stuff matters.”

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Maine Central Institute’s offense got a lift Saturday at Hermon with the return of wide receiver Zack Valente. The senior was in a serious car accident in mid-September. He caught a 35-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to seal the win Saturday.

“(Valente) played about 20 percent of the snaps, just offense,” MCI coach Tom Bertrand said. “He knew he had to work his way back in, and he was fine with that. Part of his recovery, he was excited to get back to playing football.”

The Huskies (3-4) are tied with Stearns (3-4) for the seventh spot in the upcoming Little Ten Conference playoffs. MCI hosts Dexter (1-6) this week, and Bertand knows his team is in the playoffs with a win.

“I don’t profess to know the numbers very well. If we win this week, we’re certainly in. If we lose, we could fall out. There’s too much of a chance if we lose. It’s a must-win for us.”

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When a few Mt. Blue players grumbled that they don’t like playing on Saturday, coach Gary Parlin told them to get over it and get used to it.

Mt. Blue’s home game last week against Morse was delayed to Saturday afternoon because of Friday’s heavy rain.

“We’ve had kids for years say they don’t like playing on Saturday. I said ‘Well, you might as well get used to it, because we’ve got a game next week on Saturday,'” Parlin said.

The Cougars close the regular season on Saturday at Waterville. A win ensures Mt. Blue home games in the first two rounds of the conference playoffs. Should the Cougars advance to the PTC B championship game, it will be on a Saturday, as would the state championship game the following week.

“At some point in the playoffs, if you keep going, you’re going to play on a Saturday,” Parlin.

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Madison’s playoff chances hinge on a few factors, most important of which is beating Nokomis on Friday night. At 2-5, Madison is in ninth place in Eastern Class B, behind Morse (3-4).

“I think if we win and Morse loses, we have an outside chance (of making the playoffs), depending on what else happens,” Madison coach Matt Friedman said. “I’m just telling my kids to go into Friday with the goal to play well and win. Whatever happens after is a bonus.”

In their first year in Class B, the Bulldogs played some of the top teams in the Pine Tree Conference.

“It’s been a great experience,” Friedman said. “I feel like we took a step forward with the program and made some positive steps for the future.”

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Around the state: A portion of all ticket sales from Lewiston’s home game on Friday against Cony will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Collection buckets will be available throughout the game for those wishing to donate more. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students, and $2 for seniors. … Gorham scored 63 points in a win over Massabesic on Friday. Last season, the Gorham varsity boys basketball team scored at least 63 points just twice. … For every league in the state with the exception of the PTC A, this is the final week of the regular season. That means it’s rivalry week for many teams. Some of the long-standing feuds that will be renewed this weekend include Biddeford at Thornton, South Portland at Portland, and York at Wells.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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