The Mt. Blue football team is still haunted by last season’s 22-21 double overtime loss to Leavitt in the Pine Tree Conference Class B championship game.

“We know what’s coming next week,” quarterback Jordan Whitney said after Mt. Blue’s 33-21 win over Gardiner in the semifinals on Friday. “We lost last year in the Eastern Maine (final). We know. We want it bad. We want to get this one.”

A reminder of how tough the playoffs can be came the Cougars way in the quarterfinals two weeks ago, when they eked out a 14-13 win over No. 8 Mt. Desert Island.

“Last week we came out flat. You know, we beat MDI 47-15 (in the regular season). We came out flat. This week, we were like, we know what we have. We have a test. We came out strong. We came out hard,” Whitney said.

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In the preseason, Waterville coach Frank Knight and his staff felt they had a team that could make a run in the playoffs. Waterville beat Hampden and Belfast to reach the PTC B title game, proving that initial optimism correct.

A loss to Brewer in the last seconds, followed by a loss at Mt. Blue in the regular-season finale, dropped Waterville’s record to 4-4.

“After the Brewer game, it really took a week or two for us to get over that. The Hampden win injected some energy into our bodies,” Knight said. “Now the team is acting like a playoff team. Now, we are that team we thought we were back in September.”

The Panthers will play Friday night without junior running back/defensive back David Bailey, who also missed last week’s win over Belfast after dislocating his shoulder in practice. Knight described the injury as a “freak thing,” and said it occurred when Bailey, who was in shoulder pads, and another player collided in practice.

“Offensively, (Jordan) Derosby filled in for him nicely,” Knight said. “We’re going to miss him on defense, but hey, that’s what football is. Somebody else will step in and do the job.”

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Winslow’s 7-0 win over Traip in the Campbell Conference Class C semifinals Saturday was the Black Raiders’ 10th shutout win in the playoffs.

The last came in 2007, in a 24-0 win over Mt. Desert Island in the first round of the Eastern B playoffs.

The Black Raiders host Dirigo in the conference championship game Saturday. Winslow is in the rare position of being a higher seed which lost to its opponent in the regular season. In Week 2, also at Winslow’s Poulin Field, Dirigo took a 32-21 win over the Black Raiders.

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Since it began its run as the top team in the Pine Tree Conference Class A in 2006, the Lawrence High School football team has been a model of consistency. One of those consistencies is Lawrence’s effort against a regular-season opponent in a playoff rematch.

Simply put, give the Bulldogs a second crack at a team it’s already beaten, they’ll not only win again, they’ll do it by a wider margin.

Since the 2006 season, Lawrence has had 11 playoff games that were rematches of a regular-season contest. The Bulldogs are 10-1 in those games, the lone loss a 30-22 defeat at the hands of Skowhegan in 2008.

In seven of those wins, Lawrence expanded on its margin of victory from the regular season, sometimes significantly. For instance, last season, Lawrence defeated Bangor in the regular season, 32-25. When they met in the PTC A championship game, Lawrence took a 40-14 win.

Lawrence beat rival Messalonskee 27-0 in the semifinals Saturday, a week after downing the Eagles 21-0 in the regular-season finale.

When Lawrence lost to Brunswick in the playoffs in 2009 and 2010, the Bulldogs and Dragons did not play regular season games in either of those seasons.

Beating a quality opponent twice in a season is the result of talented players and strong coaching, and Lawrence has had plenty of both over the last seven seasons.

The Bulldogs defeated Cony, their championship game opponent, 27-6, in the regular season. What does this mean for the Rams in Saturday’s conference final? Nothing. The Rams know they’ll be facing a talented and well-prepared team. The Lawrence defense has been susceptible to the big play. Cony, which scored on a 69-yard pass play in the regular-season game at Lawrence, has an offense capable of scoring quickly.

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Around the state: John Bapst of Bangor is playing in the Little Ten Conference championship game for the fifth time in six years. The Crusaders will take on top-seed Foxcroft, and are trying to get to the Class C state championship game for the first time since 2008, when they beat Winthrop for the state title… If Marshwood beats York in the Class B West championship game, the Hawks will earn a spot in the state finals for the first time since 1989. That year, Marshwood beat Skowhegan, 26-14, for the Class A crown… If Cheverus and Lawrence each win their regional final on Saturday, it will set up the first Class A championship game rematch since Biddeford and Waterville met in 1993 and 1994.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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