WALES — The road to the Campbell Conference Class D football championship will almost assuredly go through Oak Hill High School this year.

The Raiders (6-0) all but locked up the top seed heading into the postseason thanks to their 27-18 win over Lisbon (3-2) last Saturday afternoon. All that remains on Oak Hill’s schedule is an Oct. 24 contest at Traip (1-4) as the Raiders will have a bye this weekend.

“The seniors know that all their playoff games they have remaining will be at home and they feel pretty good about that,” Oak Hill head coach Stacen Doucette said. “We have a week to get ready for Traip and that’s going to be on our mind.

“We’re going to focus on day to day from here on out. We’re just going to try to get better, work on our strengths and make them better and our weaknesses we have to try to improve them.”

Assuming teams like Old Orchard Beach (2-4), Traip, Boothbay (1-4) and Telstar (0-5) do not pull any upsets in the final two weeks of the season, there is only one scenario in which the Raiders could fall out of the stop spot. If Oak Hill gets beat by Traip, Winthrop/Monmouth (3-2) could in theory catch the Raiders if the Ramblers win out and Maranacook (4-1) beats Lisbon (3-2) and loses to Dirigo (4-2).

Oak Hill is making sure it stays focused over the coming weeks to try and prevent that scenario from coming into play.

“Our coach is very good at keeping us focused. We have hard, intense practices,” Oak Hill senior Connor Elwell said. “It’s going to be a lot of work but we’ll have really a lot of time to focus and fix what we did wrong this (past) week.”

While the race for the top spot in the conference is pretty clear, spots two through five are a little bit murkier. Between Winthrop/Monmouth, Maranacook, Dirigo and Lisbon, the Ramblers are the only team that controls their own destiny in the chase for the No. 2 seed.

If Winthrop/Monmouth wins its final two games of the regular season against Old Orchard Beach and Boothbay, the Ramblers will finish second thanks in large part to its strength of schedule. The Ramblers — who beat Lincoln Academy 45-20 in a scrimmage last Thursday — are the one team in the conference not to play winless Telstar this season, thus giving them a boost in the Crabtree points.

“It’s one game at a time and our goal is to get that second spot,” Ramblers head coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “We have to make sure we’re focusing on the next play, next quarter, next game and just keep executing well.

“Our focus has always been we’re more concerned with what we do than what our opponents are going to do. If we execute and run our gameplan, we’re all set. It’s when you stray and don’t execute what you need to, that’s when you start getting into trouble.”

The team that much of the final standings hinges on is Maranacook as the Black Bears close the season with games against Lisbon and Dirigo. Each one of the three teams could finish as high as the third seed or as low as the fifth assuming the Ramblers take care of business.

• • •

Oak Hill may have separated itself in Campbell Conference Class D as the team to beat, but in the Pine Tree Conference B the No. 1 seed is still very much up for grabs.

Brewer, Brunswick, Mt. Blue and Skowhegan are each 5-1 and thus far they have beaten each other in the state’s most enjoyable to watch round robin.

In successive weeks, defending conference champion Brunswick beat Skowhegan and lost to Brewer. Skowhegan defeated Brewer a couple weeks ago before losing to Brunswick. Mt. Blue lost to Brewer in Week 2 and ends the regular season against Brunswick and Skowhegan.

“This is reason number one why I wanted to come over here when the job opened. This is fun. You play someone tough every week,” Mt. Blue head coach Jim Aylward said after his team eked out a close win at winless Nokomis on Saturday afternoon. “Nokomis, in the league I was in before (Campbell Conference), that would be a five- or six-win team. That’s not a bad football team. This is a tough league. This is a blast.”

Each of these four teams plays one of the others at least once in the final two weeks of the regular season, and that means none of the PTC B’s playoff seeds will be determined until the end of the regular season. Aylward’s Cougars have the toughest road to the postseason, with games against Brunswick and Skowhegan.

Brewer’s road to a top two seed and one of the two byes to the regional semifinal may be the easiest. The Witches play at Messalonskee (3-3) on Friday, and close the regular season at Hampden (1-5). After playing at Mt. Blue this week, Brunswick hosts Nokomis (0-6) in week eight.

Skowhegan plays at Cony (3-3) on Friday before hosting Mt. Blue next week.

“It’s just like we’ve said since they formed (the league) a couple years ago. It’s tough from top to bottom,” Skowhegan head coach Matt Friedman said. “Brewer beating Brunswick just shows that nobody’s invincible. If you come with the right gameplan and you play, any one of five or six teams can take it.”

The Rams, meanwhile, are hoping to clinch a playoff berth and do some damage if they can get into the postseason.

“One more win seals the deal for us,” Cony head coach B.L. Lippert said. “Theoretically we could get in with just three. We’re hoping to win our last three and head into the postseason with a little bit of momentum.

“We told them all year we just have to get in. We’ve seen that year in and year out across the state at any level.”

Gardiner (1-5), meanwhile, is still holding out hope that it could sneak in, but the Tigers — who host Hampden (1-5) Friday night — would need to win out and get a lot of help from other teams.

“I don’t know what needs to happen now. We certainly need to win the next two and we need to have a couple of favorable wins from Nokomis maybe,” Tigers head coach Joe White said after his team’s 14-6 loss at Lawrence last Friday. “We’ll see what happens.”

• • •

Reid Shostak is back and he made sure to announce it in a big way last Friday night in a 47-14 win at Hampden.

Shostak — who has missed one game due to injury and one due to a suspension stemming from an ejection against Lawrence — set new career highs against the Broncos with 214 yards on the ground and four rushing touchdowns.

“We made a concerted effort to give him the ball,” Lippert said. “I felt after the Brunswick game, we just didn’t give him enough carries. When you have someone that talented on your team, you’re pretty crazy if you don’t give him as much carries as he can handle.”

The Rams have made their mark over the past few seasons with their passing game but on Friday night Cony showed it is willing to run the ball when necessary. Shostak carried the ball 28 times against Hampden, while quarterback Taylor Heath only attempted 19 passes.

Shostak should continue to see a heavy workload moving forward, particularly now that he is closer to being fully recovered from his elbow injury. According to Lippert, Friday’s game against Skowhegan could be Shostak’s first without the bulky brace he has worn since Week 2.

“We’re a dramatically different team when he’s on the field,” Lippert said. “He’s an incredible player first of all but it’s almost indescribable the amount of energy we have when he’s on the field.”

Staff writer Travis Lazarczyk contributed to this report.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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