FARMINGTON — The slugfest that is the Pine Tree Conference Class B season continues this weekend with one of the highlight games of the regular season. Brunswick travels to Farmington to take on Mt. Blue in a game featuring two of the four teams that are tied for first place in the league with 5-1 records.

Both Brunswick and Mt. Blue lost to Brewer, the Cougars in Week 2 and Brunswick just last week. The winner of this game clinches a home game in the playoffs, but with Skowhegan and Brewer also sitting at 5-1 the top two seeds and the byes out of the first round that come with them won’t be determined until Week 8 is complete.

Here’s a look at the Brunswick-Mt. Blue matchup:

Players to watch: Brunswick — QB Thomas Hanson, RB/DB Will Bessey, T/DT Josh Goodard, WR Corin Teel, DT Logan Ouellette, DL Jaznel Burns. Mt. Blue — G/DL Will Gunter, RB/DB Christian Whitney, WR/DB Nate Pratt-Holt, RB/DB Zach Meader, TE/DE Isaac Collins, QB Ryan Pratt.

Mt. Blue coach Jim Aylward on Brunswick: “They’re really good. When you watch them on film or you see them live they have quickness and toughness. Hanson’s had a good year. You load up on the run, he’s a shifty little guy and he can throw the ball. He can move his feet to give himself time to throw the ball. They present a lot of problems. There’s a reason they score a lot of points. They’re really a good football team.”

Three keys for Brunswick:

1. Spread it out: Bessey leads the league with 1,040 yards rushing but was injured in last week’s game at Brewer. If Bessey plays he’s likely not 100 percent, but the Dragons have other offensive weapons. Hanson has more than 600 yards passing, with his favorite targets Alan Molnar and Teel.

2. Stop the run: With Meader, Whitney and Alex Gilbert, Mt. Blue has a trio of good running backs. If the Dragons can limit the Cougars’ running game, they can force Mt. Blue into many third and long situations, like Nokomis was able to do throughout the first half of last Saturday’s game.

3. Apply pressure: While Mt. Blue’s strength is the running game, the Cougars can pass, too. Pratt has 635 yards passing with seven touchdowns, while Pratt-Holt (316 yards, four touchdown catches) averages 26.3 yards per catch and is a big play threat. Burns is among the PTC B sack leaders. Preventing Pratt from having time to throw is instrumental.

Three keys for Mt. Blue:

1. Wrap up: The Cougars have to tackle well. Missed tackles that lead to big gains for the Dragons will be Mt. Blue’s undoing.

“They’re a good team. They’re physical. They run hard,” Mt. Blue senior safety Nate Pratt-Holt said. “We have to be physical, too. Get off the blocks and make tackles.”

2. Slow it down: Mt. Blue can’t get into a shootout with Brunswick, Aylward said. The Cougars have to control the game’s tempo.

“If we play good defense and we tackle well, we know we can hang with them. We can’t let them march up and down the field,” Aylward said. “We can’t get into a 40-, 50-point game with them. A lot of teams can score a little against them, but also give up 50, 55 points. We need the game to be in the 20s.”

3. Get back to basics: The strength of Mt. Blue’s offense all season has been the running game. Last week at Nokomis, however, the Cougars averaged just over three yards per carry, well below their season average of 5.7 yards per carry.

Mt. Blue must run the ball as it did in the first five weeks of the season while mixing in the passing game.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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