When Mt. View and Maine Central Institute played each other last season, they were a combined 0-10.

Things have changed in a year.

After going winless in 2012, MCI has opened this season with three consecutive dominating victories. Mt. View has turned its fortunes around, too. A 2-6 team last season, the Mustangs are 2-1.

The upstarts of the Little Ten Conference play at 7 tonight in Pittsfield.

“This is my first year in this rivalry,” Mt. View coach Haggie Pratt, who previously coached at Dexter and Nokomis, said. “I know our kids are excited.”

MCI is off to its best start since 2000. That year, the Huskies won the conference championship and were the state runner-up in Class C. The Huskies aren’t just winning, they’re winning big. MCI’s average margin of victory is nearly 40 points.

“After our Week 1 win at Orono, we started to believe in the things that happened over the summer, all the hard work,” MCI coach Tom Bertrand said.

This game features the two leading rushers in the conference, Mt. View’s Steven Davis and MCI’s Jonathan Santiago. Davis leads the league with 563 yards rushing, and has eight touchdowns. Davis averages 12.2 yards per carry.

“Obviously, Davis is a kid you need to account for,” Bertrand said. “He’ll make you pay if you don’t tackle him.”

Fullbacks Jack Axsom and Matt Wheeler will also carry the ball for the Mustangs, and quarterback Kenny McGray has a strong receiver in tight end Tyler Ripley.

Leading MCI’s defense is linebacker Jimmy Hall, with 24 solo tackles. Alex Bertrand had three sacks and three fumble recoveries for MCI, while Austin Tolman has two interceptions.

“(Bertrand) always has a well-prepared team,” Pratt said.

Santiago has 510 yards rushing and nine touchdowns for the Huskies, and averages 15.9 yards per carry. Like Davis, Santiago has breakaway speed. Fullback Alex Bertrand is a good short yardage runner. Eric Hathaway and Tanner Littlefield also will run for the Huskies.

“They’re going to be tough to stop,” Pratt said. “We’ll try to match up with (Santiago) and see what happens. If you use two kids to stop one person, then another steps up.”

McGray, Ripley and Chris Spaulding are the Mustangs defensive leaders. Mt. View has spent extra practice time working on defensive fundamentals, Pratt said.

“We’ve got to be better tacklers. I’m focusing on defense a lot,” Pratt said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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