The Gardiner football team finished 5-3 and will host Brewer (5-3) in a Pine Tree Conference Class B quarterfinal game at Hoch Field on Friday night.

Groundskeeper Rob Disch said he has a lot of work to do this week to prepare the mud-swamped field for Friday.

“We walked it (Monday) morning and it’s still really, really soft,” Disch said. “We’re going to give it a couple of days and hope that Mother Nature can help us out.”

Gardiner hosted Leavitt (7-1) last Friday in a steady rain, and it didn’t take long for Hoch Field to morph into a soupy mess of mud that was several inches thick in some spots.

“We were playing in a big mud bowl,” Gardiner quarterback Dennis Meehan said. “It was fun to play in, I guess.”

Disch said field conditions are worse from the hashmarks out to the sidelines. However, rolling the field wasn’t an option Monday.

“Right now, you can’t get anything on the field or else it will get stuck,” Disch said. “We hope to roll the field sometime this week.”

That could come Wednesday. Disch and his crew will work on the middle of the field, beginning today.

“We can get rid of the standing water,” he said, “and we can smooth it out. We need dry days because the field is spongy. We need to get all the divots taken care of.”

The forecast calls for mostly dry days, with the possible exception of Wednesday, leading up to the playoff game.

“It’s a little squishy out there,” Gardiner coach Matt Burgess. “Once we roll it out, we should be all set.”

• • •

Maranacook lost more than a game to Poland last Friday.

Senior quarterback Caleb Castonguay was ejected for a personal foul during the 28-7 setback after an incident with a Poland player.

“There was a fumble that we recovered and one of Poland’s players hit Caleb in the back,” Maranacook coach Joe Emery said. “(Castonguay) got up swinging. It wasn’t a bad call by the ref. Caleb just retaliated. He’s disappointed. He played his heart out but he feels like he let the team down. He just made a bad judgment, but he realizes that.”

The ejection triggered an automatic one-game suspension, meaning Castonguay will sit out the quarterfinal game against No. 5 Traip (7-1) on Saturday. Maranacook (5-3) dropped to fifth with the loss to Poland.

Emery said junior Cody Lyon will start at quarterback against the Rangers.

“It changes a lot of things,” Emery said. “We’ll come up with a game plan. Lyon can throw it very well. He’s not as mobile as Caleb is, but we’ll show some stuff we haven’t shown yet.”

The Black Bears also hope tight end Zach Bessette will play Saturday. The junior suffered a thigh injury against Poland.

“He’s walking around better,” Emery said. “We’ll see.”

• • •

Cony (6-2) posted its first shutout of the season when it beat Lewiston 47-0 on Saturday. The win came after the Rams shifted players around because of injuries. Senior Linebacker Kyle Elvin is recovering from an ankle injury and played only on the offensive line Saturday. Defensive end Keith Cloutier moved to linebacker.

Starting safety Charlie Hallak also filled in at linebacker against the Blue Devils (1-7). Starter Nic Benner was out with concussion-like symptoms.

“We moved some people around,” Cony coach Robby Vachon said, “and it was good to see everybody step up. One of our strengths is that we don’t have a lot of two-way players so we have guys who are fresh. We needed a few to play both sides on Saturday, though.”

Junior Marshall McLaughlin started at left guard in place of Benner.

Cony can clinch the No. 2 seed in the Pine Tree Conference Class A playoffs with a win at Oxford Hills (3-5) on Friday coupled with a Messalonskee (6-2) loss to Lawrence (8-0).

• • •

It was a frustrating season for Winthrop, which finished 2-6 a year after going 3-5.

Coach Joel Stoneton said injuries and missed opportunities doomed the Ramblers, who dropped their final three games of the season.

“We started with high expectations,” he said. “Putting in a new offense, that took longer than we thought to develop. We got hit by injuries and then had to kind of go back to the old offense. It was tough. Any season that you don’t make the playoffs is frustrating.

“Our goals and expectations were a bit higher this season compared to last, so it was a little more frustrating.”

The Ramblers do return a strong nucleus next season, including running back Zach Glazier, who suffered a back injury this year.

Quarterback Jared Hanson should return as a senior.

“We’ll have two or three linemen coming back so that will help,” Stoneton said. “I expect things to come together for us.”

• • •

Now in its third year, the Frank J. Gaziano Award is growing.

The Gaziano Award, created to honor the top offensive and defensive linemen in the state, will increase its scholarship awards for the winners and finalists. Each winner will receive $5,000, while the four runner-ups will receive $1,000.

The increase more than doubles the award presented the last two years ($2,500 to the winners and $500 to the runner-ups).

Coaches have until Dec. 7 to nominate a player for the Gaziano. The awards will be presented on Jan. 27, at a brunch at the Augusta Civic Center.

• • •

Around the state: Statewide, six teams made the playoffs with a losing record: Deering (3-5), Cape Elizabeth (3-5), Mountain Valley (3-5), Yarmouth (2-6), Washington Academy (3-5) and Mattanawcook (2-6). In the cases of Deering, Cape Elizabeth, Mountain Valley, and Yarmouth, each played a tougher schedule than a .500 team it edged for a playoff spot, earning more Crabtree Points. Crabtrees are calculated by adding a team’s winning percentage to the winning percentage of all its opponents. Washington Academy finished eighth in the Little Ten Conference, and Mattanawcook ninth, but each moved up a spot because Hermon (5-3), a Class B school playing down, is ineligible for the postseason.

Staff writer Travis Lazarczyk contributed to this report.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

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