The Winslow High School football team ended Wednesday’s practice with a team huddle and a simple rallying cry: “No 82.”

The cheer is a reference to the number of points, 82, that this week’s opponent Belfast scored in an 82-60 win last week at Madison. The Black Raiders (4-0) know they have a tough challenge in stopping Belfast’s strong offense.

This is the first game of a tough three week stretch for Winslow, in which the Black Raiders play Belfast, Foxcroft Academy and Waterville, the other three main contenders for the conference title.

At Belfast (3-1), head coach Chris Bartlett and his staff aren’t looking at their team as the one that scored 82 points. They’ve spent the week reminding the Lions they gave up 60.

“That’s the big thing we keyed on,” Bartlett said.

Here’s a look at the matchup between these old rivals.

• Winslow players to watch: RB/DB/K Dylan Hapworth, SE/LB Justin Martin, QB Bobby Chenard, FB/LB Kenny Rickard, C/DT Bryce Gilliland.

• Belfast players to watch: RB Steven Davis, QB Drew Nealey, LB Martin Hansen, FB Alex Canning.

• Winslow head coach Mike Siviski on Belfast: “Our defense has a big challenge, and we’re anxious to see how we meet it. They’ve got people who can go. Their quarterback does a nice job, and they’ve got several people who can score. They’ve always been good overall, and they’re good again.”

• Belfast head coach Chris Bartlett on Winslow: “They’re fast. That’s the big thing. We know we have to play better defense. When (the players) saw themselves play defense (at Madison), they became pretty subdued.”

• Three keys for Winslow.

1. Continue winning the field position battle. Winslow’s first team defense hasn’t allowed a point yet this season. Winslow’s kicking game has put opponents on long fields. Combine a long field with few yards allowed, and you have a Winslow offense that often benefits from excellent field position.

2. Be wary of all Belfast’s weapons. Davis scored eight touchdowns last week, but he’s not the only talented player on the Lions. Quarterback Nealey is a speedster, and Canning is another strong runner.

3. Give Belfast’s defense a lot to consider. “We want our offense to keep improving, and just be relentless,” Siviski said. With Hapworth, Rickard and Nate St. Amand in the backfield, along with Chenard and Martin, the Black Raiders have a lot of big play potential. Continue to spread the ball around.

• Three keys for Belfast.

1. Keep things in the middle of the field. “The big piece for Hapworth is keep him inside the tackles, which is easier said than done,” Bartlett said. “He likes to get to the outside.” If Hapworth, or any of the Black Raider runners, gets into open space consistently, the Belfast defense is in trouble.

2. Tighten up the defense. Bartlett joked that last week the Lions defense didn’t show up in Madison, and got off the bus in Fairfield. He knows that cannot happen again.

3. Use everybody. Bartlett called Nealey, Davis and Canning the Lions’ three-pronged attack. To keep a strong Winslow defense guessing, all three need to touch the ball.

Travis Lazarczyk — 621-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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