BY TRAVIS LAZARCZYK

Staff Writer

When current Madison Area Memorial High School football coach Scott Franzose played quarterback for the Bulldogs in the mid-1980s, Art Rudman was the team’s head coach and Carl Rudman, his son, worked with the offense.

“Being a quarterback, I worked very closely with both of them,” Franzose said.

On Friday night, Madison dedicated its football field to the Rudmans, two of the most successful coaches in the school’s history. Franzose said the honor was long overdue.

“You would not have met more honorable coaches. They were just meticulous in their preparation,” Franzose said. “Art was the father figure. We all looked up to him. Carl was the technical tactician.”

Art Rudman coached the Bulldogs from 1981 to 1986, and was followed by his son, who coached Madison from 1987 to 1994. Art won a state championship in 1982, while Carl won state titles in 1988, 1989 and 1994.

Prior to last Friday’s game against Waterville, Madison dubbed the football field Rudman Field. Art Rudman said he was surprised by the honor.

“It never even dawned on me. It didn’t register on me until we were 10 or 15 minutes into (the ceremony),” Rudman said. “It meant a lot. It was a great surprise.”

Rudman said he looks back on his days coaching the Bulldogs fondly.

“I just had a wonderful relationship with the kids,” Rudman said.

Madison will host Gardiner on Rudman Field on Friday.

* * *

Undefeated Lawrence (6-0) is fighting through some key injuries, just as the schedule becomes toughest. The Bulldogs next three games are against Cony (5-1), Brunswick (5-1) and Messalonskee (5-1), teams Lawrence could see in the Pine Tree Conference Class A playoffs.

“It’s a good thing for us. We’re not shying away from it at all,” head coach John Hersom said of the challenging schedule. “We do want to be tested before the playoffs, and these teams will certainly test us.”

Two starters, Aaron LaFrance and Jeremy Frantz, were injured against Skowhegan on Sept. 28. LaFrance, a senior wide receiver/defensive back, injured his shoulder, and is scheduled to meet with a doctor today. Sophomore Derick Raven will see more time on defense in LaFrance’s place, Hersom said.

“He’s a pretty athletic kid. With more practice time, he’ll be sharper for Cony,” Hersom said.

Frantz, a starting guard, has a knee injury, and is likely out again this week.

“It’s a big loss, because (Frantz) and a couple guys have been working side-by-side for a couple of years,” Hersom said.

At Lewiston on Friday, Lawrence had a scare when tight end Robbie Liberty left the game via ambulance. Hersom said Liberty’s heart rate elevated after taking a hit, and he was taken to the hospital as a precaution. Hersom said he’s unsure if Liberty will be cleared to play this week.

* * *

With a 4-2 record, Waterville is in the hunt for a home game in the first round of the PTC B playoffs. The Purple Panthers are tied with Gardiner (4-2) in fourth place, but Gardiner owns the tiebreaker thanks to a win over Waterville earlier this season.

The Panthers may have to win their final two games to ensure a home game in the quarterfinals, but it won’t be easy. Waterville hosts Brewer (4-2) on Saturday and closes the regular season at Mt. Blue (6-0).

“We’d love to host a (playoff) game. That’s a tall order,” Waterville head coach Frank Knight said. “We’re focused on Brewer first.”

* * *

It is shaping up to be a wild two-week finish in the Western C Campbell Conference as an abundance of teams jockey for seeding and berths.

“It’s anybody’s race,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “The league is up for grabs.”

Six teams — Maranacook, Oak Hill, Winslow, Dirigo, Traip and Old Orchard — are 5-1 and in the hunt for the No. 1 seed. Lisbon (3-3) and Freeport (3-3) round out the top eight.

However, Boothbay (2-4), two-time defending Class C state champ Yarmouth (1-5) and Winthrop (2-4) are in the mix as well.

“This is one very competitive conference,” Winslow coach Mike Siviski said. “There’s an equal distribution of talent. You have to be ready to play every single weekend. There are a lot of games that have implications.

“I think everybody, from the players and coaches and the coaching staffs, like to be involved in big games and there have been a lot of them.”

Maranacook, despite the loss to Winslow last Friday, still sits atop the conference in Crabtree points. Dirigo and Winslow follow in second and third, respectively.

Oak Hill is fourth, but it has a big opportunity to move up with games against Maranacook on Saturday and Dirigo the following week.

“We’ve had a good year to this point,” Doucette said. “We’re getting ready for Maranacook.”

Added Maranacook coach Joe Emery: “It’s going to be a very interesting playoffs.”

* * *

Around the state: There are five undefeated teams left in the state, but two of those, Cheverus and Thornton, face each other Saturday in the game of the week. The winner will have home field throughout the SMAA playoffs… It looks like Marshwood and Westbrook will play for the top seed in the Campbell Conference Class B playoffs next week. Both teams are 5-1, and are favorites to win this week. Westbrook is at Falmouth while Marshwood is at Spruce Mountain… How dominant is Foxcroft Academy? In the last two weeks, the Ponies (6-0) outscored Orono and John Bapst, both previously undefeated, by a combined score of 82-0.

Staff writer Bill Stewart contributed to this report.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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