Last week, the Winslow High School football team got the close game it wanted and probably needed. This week’s game against Madison has the potential to be another tough test for the Black Raiders.

Madison is coming off a loss at Belfast, but the Bulldogs looked impressive in wins over Oceanside and Foxcroft Academy. If there’s a team in the Big Ten Conference that has the chance to match Winslow’s group of playmakers, it’s Madison. In their no-huddle, spread offense, the Bulldogs have shown they move the ball on the ground or in the air, and get a number of players involved.

Winslow enters the game with the longest active win streak in the state — 14 games — and will play in front of what should be a large homecoming crowd.

Here’s a look at the Madison-Winslow matchup:

Madison players to watch: RB/DB Nick Morales, QB/DB Chase Malloy, T/DE Noah Shibley, RB/LB Briar Edgerly, RB/LB Matt Curtis.

Winslow players to watch: FB/LB Kenny Rickard, QB/S Jake Trask, G/LB Alec Clark, RB/DB Nate St. Amand, T/DT Nat Beckwith.

Madison coach Scott Franzose on Winslow: “They’re very balanced. They’re almost more balanced than they were last year, and that’s saying a lot, considering they were an undefeated state champion. They have a lot of good players.”

Winslow coach Mike Siviski on Madison: “They are very good in the skill positions. Any time somebody can throw the ball and has a three-year starter at quarterback, that’s good. We think Morales is good. They’ve got good receivers and a good-sized line.”

Three keys for Madison:

1. Win at the line of scrimmage: Winslow does a lot of things offensively, but one thing it does very well is run up the middle, Franzose said.

“They love to run belly,” Franzose said. “We have to control the line of scrimmage.”

2. Stick to the plan: The Bulldogs switched to a 50 defense last week against Belfast, and Franzose said it was by and large successful. Against Winslow, Madison’s defenders have to simply do their job.

“We have to play assignment football,” Franzose said.

3. Play with confidence: The Bulldogs made the playoffs last season for the first time in a generation, and opened 2015 with back-to-back wins. They go to Poulin Field on Saturday coming off a loss. Madison has to put that loss in the past and play with the same confidence it showed in wins over Oceanside and Foxcroft Academy to have a chance against the Black Raiders.

Three keys for Winslow:

1. Expect to be challenged: After two blowout wins to start the season, Winslow had its first close game last week, beating Mt. Desert Island, 35-20. The game was tied at halftime, and Siviski said his team is learning that each week, as defending state champion, every opponent is going to give its best effort against the Black Raiders.

“I think we were ready to play. MDI was super-ready to play. We’re trying to get to the kids that people are going to be coming after them with their A game. We were outplayed soundly in the first half, and with a couple big plays, we were probably lucky to be 14-14,” Siviski said.

2. Cover everybody: With Morales, Edgerly, Curtis and Mitch Jarvais to name a few, Madison can attack a defense in a number of ways. Quarterback Malloy will run and throw. The Black Raiders need to be ready for anything.

3. Keep the Bulldogs guessing: We’ve talked about Madison’s depth at the skill positions. Winslow might be deeper. Trask, St. Amand, Rickard, Trenton Bouchard, and Dylan Hutchinson are among the Black Raiders’ offensive playmakers. Madison cannot focus on one player.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

@TLazarczykMTM

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