GARDINER — As it for most football teams, Gardiner has a routine when it comes to their weekly preparation.

Each Saturday at 8 a.m. players and coaches assemble for some light conditioning drills followed by a film session reviewing the previous night’s game. The Tigers skipped that step this week as they get ready for their final game of the season against rival Cony.

“We went right to Cony on Saturday morning,” Gardiner coach Joe White said. “I had received a couple of films from (Cony head coach) B.L. (Lippert) the night before and early Saturday morning and we just went right to it.”

For White and the Tigers the wound of Friday night’s 29-28 loss to Hampden was still too fresh. After scoring with just a single second remaining to make it 28-27, the Broncos elected to go for the two-point conversion. Hampden running back Billy Campbell was stood up short of the end zone but then fumbled the ball — intentionally, he later told the Kennebec Journal — where Jake Black pounced on it to give the Broncos the win.

To further complicate the play, White said he and his assistant coaches tried to call a timeout prior to the snap but it was not acknowledged by the officials.

“We just wanted to see what they came out in for a formation just to get an idea,” White said. “It was pretty loud and not one official heard us.”

White also pointed out, though, that one play did not decide the game as Gardiner had a number of opportunities to build on an early advantage.

“In a situation like that you wish it wasn’t even that close,” White said. “I own a lot of it because we should have pulled away. It was 14-0, we have to learn how to keep going.”

The Tigers know that it will not get any easier when they head to Alumni Field Friday night to take on the Rams. Cony has won the past two meetings by a combined 117-14.

“We know what we’ve got ahead of us. These guys have been blistered by Cony the past two years,” White said. “…We’re getting a little closer every year and we’re going to make a game of it.

“Their regular season is all but finished with no hopes of playoffs so you look at this game as kind of the big thing, especially if you’re a senior.”

• • •

When October rolls around the color pink tends to find its way onto athletic fields in one form or another.

This month is national breast cancer awareness month, for which the color pink is a symbol. October is also domestic violence awareness month and the Cony football team took the opportunity to show its support when broached with the idea of wearing purple ribbons for its game last Friday night against Skowhegan.

“Our Key Club was doing something about domestic violence,” Cony head coach B.L. Lippert said, “and we gladly accepted.”

According to a “Crime in Maine 2014” report published on the Maine Department of Public Safety’s website, of the 10,944 assaults reported in the state in 2014 46.3 percent of them were “identified as occurring between household or family members.”

• • •

The top four seeds in the Pine Tree Conference Class B playoffs are still up for grabs. Brunswick, Skowhegan and Brewer are each 6-1, while Mt. Blue is 5-2. The positioning won’t be decided until Week 8 is complete and the Crabtree Points are calculated.

Brunswick currently holds the top spot in the standings and can nail it down with a win over Nokomis (0-7). Skowhegan hosts Mt. Blue, while Brewer plays at Hampden Academy (2-5).

If Mt. Blue beats Skowhegan, and either Brunswick or Brewer losses, the Cougars still have a chance at earning one of the two byes out of the first round to the regional semifinals. Mt. Blue’s two losses came to Brewer and Brunswick in close games.

“We now know if we come out and we play our best football we can play with anybody in our league. That’s got to be our goal,” Mt. Blue coach Jim Aylward said after his team lost to Brunswick, 27-16, on Friday night. “In a weird scenario, we could’ve won (Friday) and if we lost next week (at Skowhegan) we could still finish fourth.”

Crabtree Points are calculated by adding your team’s winning percentage to the winning percentage of your opponents, and multiplying by 100. So who you play is almost as important as who you beat. If Brunswick, Skowhegan and Brewer each win this week, seedings will come down to the record of their opponents. In the PTC B, teams play eight of the other nine, so who you don’t play will be important, too. If the team you miss this season happens to have a winning record, that hurts your Crabtree Points.

For what it’s worth, Brunswick did not play Gardiner (1-6), Skowhegan did not play Hampden (2-5) and Brewer did not play Lawrence (3-4).

“I watched Brewer beat Brunswick. I know we could’ve beaten Brewer. Brewer’s a good team. Brunswick’s a good team. Skowhegan’s a good team. So is Mt. Blue,” Aylward said.

As for the remaining two playoff spots, Cony (3-4) will be in regardless even if it does not beat Gardiner on Friday with Lawrence and Messalonskee (3-4) playing each other in the final week of the season. The Rams played a more difficult schedule — Cony did not face Nokomis (0-7) — than both the Eagles and Bulldogs.

If the Rams win they will be the fifth seed with the winner of the Lawrence-Messalonskee game getting the sixth.

• • •

As a sophomore, Alec Brown continued to get more carries for Winthrop/Monmouth (4-2) as the season progressed. He picked up this season where he left off and last Friday he had a career day with 236 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries in a 30-13 win over Old Orchard Beach. On the season he now has 96 carries for 631 yards and six touchdowns. His previous high for yards in a single game this season was a 92-yard effort against Traip.

“We knew all the way up through that he was a tough kid running the ball,” Ramblers coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “An injury last year kind of held him back for a couple weeks but he wanted the ball (last Friday).

“We had some kids go down with injuries and he just put the team on his shoulders and carried us.”

Brown is not only getting it done on offense, though. In Friday night’s win against the Seagulls he had 6 1/2 tackles and a pair of sacks.

• • •

Maranacook (4-2) has been knocked out of the playoffs in the first round in each of the past three seasons — a trend the Black Bears are hoping to buck this fall.

“We want to make sure it’s a different story this year,” Maranacook senior quarterback Kyle Morand said. “It’s make or break time and for us seniors.”

Maranacook is coming off a tough 30-11 loss to Lisbon (4-2) last Saturday but it can still secure a home playoff game if it beats Dirigo (5-2) Friday night in Readfield. If Oak Hill (6-0), Winthrop/Monmouth and Lisbon each win their games against Traip, Boothbay and Telstar, respectively, the Black Bears can clinch the No. 4 seed with a win — and set up a home playoff game with the Cougars in the process.

A Dirigo win, however, will drop Maranacook to the fifth seed and likely secure it a trip to Lisbon in the quarterfinals.

The Black Bears — who rely on a number of two-way starters — will be hoping to be at full strength by the time the postseason begins. Two-way starters Jordan Sansaricq and Jake Gibson each suffered concussions at Lisbon and the personnel losses showed just how much a couple of injuries can effect Maranacook as it was forced to change its defensive alignment as a result.

“We’re not very deep,” Emery said after the loss. “We lost two, two-way starters so we went into a 5-2, which we’ve only run a few times this year.”

Emery said by phone Monday that Sansaricq “should be fine,” while the team is still waiting for more word on Gibson.

• • •

The Campbell Conference Class D playoffs are just two weeks away and one team the rest of the division may need to be wary of is Lisbon.

There has been great balance amongst the top five teams in the conference with Oak Hill leading the way, although the Raiders have faced some resistance along the way with tough wins over Winthrop/Monmouth, Lisbon and Dirigo.

The Greyhounds were dominant in their win over Maranacook and controlled the ball for the better part of the afternoon in a 27-18 loss to the Raiders on Oct. 10. Lisbon has been far more effective in recent weeks in sustaining drives and a big part of that has been the development of its young offensive line.

“We started off here with a couple sophomores on the line — some freshmen, at times — but the line is young and the line is just getting better and better,” Lisbon coach Dick Mynahan said. “I kind of hoped that as the season went on that the young kids would play like juniors and that’s what’s happening. We’re just trying to continue that trend.”

• • •

Around the state: The winner of Friday’s game between Cheverus and Windham will earn the No. 2 seed in Class A North. Both teams are 5-2… In Class B South, Falmouth (7-0) looks to be in good shape for the top seed. The battle for spots two through four between Biddeford (5-2), Leavitt (5-2) and Marshwood (5-2) is interesting. The three teams are separated by two points in the Crabtree standings. A lot will be resolved when Biddeford hosts Leavitt on Friday. Marshwood plays at York (2-5)… Foxcroft Academy (3-4) and Oceanside (3-4) each have a shot at the final playoff spot in the Big Ten Conference. Foxcroft plays at John Bapst (1-6) this week, while Oceanside hosts Belfast (3-4).

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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