There are still three weeks remaining in the regular season but one thing is certain as the playoff race in Campbell Conference Class D heats up: A potential championship contender will open the season on the road.

Thus far, Oak Hill High School (5-0) has separated itself from the rest and sits atop the conference in Crabtree points standings as the only undefeated team. It seems, though, that any one of five teams — Oak Hill, Lisbon, Dirigo, Winthrop/Monmouth and Maranacook — could finish in any one of the top five spots in the standings depending on how the next three weeks shake out.

“There’s going to be three, maybe four teams fighting for that two spot and the others are going to follow third and fourth,” Winthrop/Monmouth coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “When Lisbon plays Oak Hill it will be the thing that kind of tells everything. There’s a chance we may even finish second if they beat Lisbon and things stay the course.”

Saturday’s meeting between the Greyhounds (3-1) and Raiders will go a long way toward determining where the rest of the division settles. A win for Oak Hill will more or less guarantee the Raiders the division with a bye and Traip (1-3) all that remains on their schedule.

From there, Winthrop/Monmouth (3-2) has the easiest remaining schedule with only games against Old Orchard Beach (2-3) and Boothbay (0-4) left. The Ramblers also have the benefit of being the only team not to play Telstar (0-4), which seems well on its way to a winless season and should strengthen Winthrop/Monmouth in the Crabtree points.

However the conference’s final standings shake out, Maranacook (3-1) figures to play heavily into it. The Black Bears travel to Old Orchard Beach next weekend before closing with games against Lisbon and Dirigo (3-2).

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As Maranacook gears up for its most challenging stretch of the schedule its running game appears to be hitting its stride.

Through four games the Blacks Bears have amassed 1,231 yards on the ground with the varsity lineup on the field, which includes the first three games and first half of last week’s 42-0 win over Telstar. Against the Rebels, Maranacook had five different players rush for a touchdown. Zach Lacasse led the way with 143 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries.

In addition to improved play from the team’s offensive line, Maranacook coach Joe Emery attributed part of the team’s running success to switching Ty Smith to fullback. In last Friday’s win he ripped off a 45-yard touchdown run, caught a two-point conversion and kicked 4-of-5 extra points.

“Ty Smith was one of our offensive ends and he’s big and he’s really fast,” Emery said. “He can actually get out on our sweeps and rocket plays to the outside.”

One area the Black Bears will be looking to improve in at the offensive end is in the passing game. Thus far they have only passed for 108 yards.

“We have the receivers but just this week we’re really going to focus on running routes and getting the final piece of the puzzle to get the play action and the deep down field,” Emery said. “We’re going to need them.”

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At 2-3 in Pine Tree Conference B it has been a disjointed start to the season offensively for Cony, as each week the Rams seem to be down a key member of their personnel.

“It’s been a struggle,” Cony coach B.L. Lippert said. “We start out without arguably our best player in Reid Shostak due to injury. He comes back and then we lose a kid that burst onto the seen in Jordan Roddy.

“… It’s part of the game. We’ve got to battle through that but it’s been tough to find a rhythm, for sure.”

While Roddy will be out for the foreseeable future, Shostak is back after missing last week’s game against Brewer. The Rams will look to get back on track — particularly offensively — when they travel to take on Hampden Academy on Friday night.

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Oak Hill quarterback Dalton Therrien has spent this season terrorizing opposing defenses. Now, he will be looking to have the same effect on the other side of the ball.

In last Saturday’s 28-19 win over Winthrop/Monmouth Therrien saw time at defensive back, the first time he has played on that side of the ball since he was a defensive starter as a sophomore.

“I do whatever coach tells me to do,” Therrien said. “First defensive start since sophomore year. (I was) a little rusty but the guys picked me up. They told me what I have to do.”

Therrien had been entrenched at the quarterback position so far this season, but Oak Hill and coach Stacen Doucette showed a willingness to move Therrien around the field to further utilize his skills against the Ramblers.

In addition to playing defense, he also lined up at wing back with backup Matthew Strout at quarterback. The formation produced a 51-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep and a near touchdown pass from Therrien when he looked to run to the left before pulling up to throw down the field.

While Therrien spent the majority of the game in his usual position under — or 5 yards behind — center, Strout’s presence on the field early in the game showed the coaching staff trusts him to play the position if necessary.

“Matthew would be a great starter in himself. Matthew may be the best backup quarterback in the state of Maine. He really is a pretty good player and athlete,” Doucette said. “We have faith in all of our players. Everybody has a job to do and if his job is to run that offense at times then that’s what he’s going to do.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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