The Leavitt Area High School football team isn’t the offensive machine it was the last few years, but that doesn’t mean the Hornets have slipped.

“They are a different team. They physically beat you up,” Mt. Blue head coach Gary Parlin said. “They’ve got it going so good. They expect to win. Breaks come their way, but they make the breaks. I don’t care what league you’re in, what sport you play, if you win 38 straight anything, that’s an unbelievably impressive record.”

No team in the Pine Tree Conference Class B has defeated Leavitt since Morse did it in the 2008 conference semifinals. Mt. Blue came the closest, falling 22-21 in double overtime in last season’s conference championship game. The Cougars and Hornets are both 5-0, and tonight, Mt. Blue gets another crack at the league’s dominant team. The winner will be alone in first place.

Leavitt’s defense has been outstanding. The Hornets have given up just 30 points all season, and 17 of those came in the season opener at Hampden Academy. Leavitt’s shutout win over Waterville last week was its second shutout of the season.

“This is one of the better defenses we’ve had,” Leavitt head coach Mike Hathaway said.

Linebackers Josh Bunker and Levi Morin are among the best in the league at their position, and safety Brian Bedard has had an outstanding season. Bedard has five interceptions, and can play a number of positions. Against Morse, Bedard lined up at cornerback to neutralize Keegan Drouin, the Shipbuilders’ tall wide receiver.

“(Bedard’s) been pretty valuable for us,” Hathaway said. “We’ll give them some different looks.”

Parlin compared Bedard’s defensive effort to that of Jordan Hersom, who won the Fitzpatrick Trophy playing quarterback and safety for Leavitt last season.

“Bedard, I would say, is one of the top players in the state. They move him around a lot. He’s an explosive player on both sides of the ball,” Parlin said. “Hersom last year, he got all his ink at quarterback, but he was an excellent defensive back. He made a lot of plays near the line of scrimmage, and Bedard sort of has taken on that role as the strong side safety. He makes a lot of tackles within three, four, five yards of the line of scrimmage.”

Leavitt’s defense hasn’t seen an offense like Mt. Blue’s this season. The Cougars lead the league in scoring, averaging almost 42 points per game. Quarterback Jordan Whitney has 14 touchdown passes and just one interception. Running backs Chad Luker and Bradley Jackson, tight end Zak Kendall, and receivers Nick Hyde and Cam Abbott are among Mt. Blue’s deep array of offensive weapons.

The Cougars could get a boost with the return of receiver/kick returner Nate Backus, who missed the first five games of the season with a hand injury.

“He’s been champing at the bit. Going in this week, we knew it may be 50-50 whether he gets cleared or not,” Parlin said. “The surgery on his hand went well. Having him back is a shot in the arm. He’s an explosive player on special teams. He gives us more depth in our secondary, and in our receiving corps.”

Added Hathaway: “Obviously, it starts with (Whitney). He’s really improved as a runner and has strength and accuracy as a thrower. They have big play potential. They make you prepare for quite a bit.”

Defensively, the Cougars need to account for Bedard at all times. The senior will line up anywhere. Last week at Waterville, Bedard ran for 166 yards and two touchdowns.

“He’s been our best receiver for a couple years,” Hathaway said. “He can line up at tailback, he’s great in the slot, and he can go out wide.”

Junior quarterback Tyler Chicoine is doing well running the Hornets’ spread option offense in his first year as a starter. Chicoine has completed 30 of 40 passes with eight touchdowns, Hathaway said.

“We like what he’s done. We have a big line, so we’re playing a little more ball control style this year.”
Jackson and Luker give Mt. Blue two of the best linebackers in the league, while Kendall is a strong defensive end. Whitney and Brian Durrell lead Mt. Blue’s secondary.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242
[email protected]

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