When Mt. Blue High School football coach Gary Parlin thought of Leavitt, he paid the two-time defending Pine Tree Conference Class B champs one of the highest compliments he could. He compared the Hornets to his old PTC A rival Lawrence.

“(Leavitt) got off blocks better than any team we’ve faced. That’s one thing I always really respected about Lawrence. Lawrence refused to stay blocked,” Parlin said.

There’s no doubt the two best teams in the conference are playing for the title tonight at Leavitt Area High School. Leavitt is 10-0, and Mt. Blue is 9-1, the lone loss a 22-17 decision to the Hornets on Oct. 7. The winner takes on the winner of Saturday’s game between Mountain Valley and Wells in the Class B state championship game on Nov. 19 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

Combined, Leavitt and Mt. Blue boast 13 first-team all-conference players.

“In the last month, we’ve gotten a lot better,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said. “I know Mt. Blue has gotten better, too.”

These are two of the highest scoring teams in the state. Leavitt averages 46.8 points per game, while Mt. Blue averages 45.6. In quarterback Jordan Hersom and running back Jake Ouellette, Leavitt has a pair of runners who have combined for more than 2,000 yards. Hersom also has thrown for 1,400 yards. Include receivers Ian Durgin and Brian Bedard, and the Hornets seem to score at will.

“Brian is playing well. He’s come on the last couple of weeks, both offensively and defensively,” Hathaway said.

The Cougars’ offense is led by Whitney, who has completed 71.5 percent of his passes for 1,839 yards and 24 touchdowns with just four interceptions.

Led by Eric Berry’s 525 yards, four Mt. Blue running backs have at least 300 yards rushing. Izaiha Tracy (386 yards rushing, 396 receiving) has 12 touchdowns, while Cam Sennick (321 receiving, 179 rushing, 5 TDs), Nick Hilton (517 yards receiving, 6 TDs) and Chris Malone (498 yards receiving, 3 TDs) are also big play threats.

In the regular-season game against Leavitt, Mt. Blue gained 340 yards, 246 in the air.

“We’d like to balance it up a little more, but if they force you into that, once again, we’ve got some very good receivers, and we feel we pass block really well,” Parlin said.

Added Hathaway: “They had some success throwing the football at us. We’ve tried to do some things to improve in that area. We’ve adjusted some small things on both sides of the ball.”

While this is Leavitt’s third consecutive conference championship game, the Cougars haven’t played this late in the season since 2005, when Mt. Blue won the PTC A. Nerves haven’t been a problem at Mt. Blue, Parlin said.

“I don’t know about the players, but I was a lot more nervous last week than I am this week. I’m excited this week,” Parlin said. “One of the first things (captain) Sean Moore said this week, he goes ‘Remember guys, let yourself be coached this week. The coaches have been there, and we haven’t.’ But they’ve played in big games.”

The Cougars will be without all-conference tackle Dustin Zamboni, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week against Gardiner. Senior Joe Welch will start in Zamboni’s place.

“Joe Welch has had a great practice week. Losing Zamboni is tough, but we know there’s another guy there who really wants to show what he can do,” Parlin said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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