WINTHROP — Those planning on attending Friday night’s playoff game at Maxwell Field between the Maranacook and Winthrop/Monmouth football teams may want to get there early.

A full crowd was on hand to watch the Ramblers edge the Black Bears 17-14 in the final minute on homecoming on Sept. 25, and it will more than likely be a festive atmosphere again with a trip to the Campbell Conference Class D semifinals on the line.

“It was very intense,” Ramblers senior lineman Brendon Dunn said during practice Monday. “There’s nothing like the hill filling up and cheering on both sides.”

Added Winthrop/Monmouth head coach Dave St. Hilaire: “It was a huge crowd. Hopefully they haven’t been turned away from our performance from the other night, but I’m sure we’ll have a good crowd.”

The Ramblers (4-3) enter Friday night’s game fresh off a disappointing 8-6 loss to Boothbay (2-5). Winthrop/Monmouth was missing a pair of key starters in Nate Scott and Bennett Brooks — both of whom are expected to play against Maranacook (4-3) — but also may have got caught looking past the Seahawks as well.

“We kind of took them for granted and weren’t really focused,” Dunn said. “We didn’t have the greatest week of practice and it came back to bite us.”

Dunn said he could feel a difference during Monday afternoon’s practice in how the Ramblers were preparing for Friday’s game.

“Everyone is a lot more focused, a lot more intense and getting really geared up,” he said.

Elsewhere in the Class D South playoffs, No. 1 Oak Hill (7-0) will host No. 8 Traip (2-5) Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The Raiders beat the Rangers 32-6 in Kittery this past Saturday. Seventh-seeded Old Orchard Beach (2-5) will travel to No. 2 Dirigo (6-2) Friday night, while No. 6 Boothbay (2-5) will play at No. 3 Lisbon (5-2) Saturday afternoon.

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Over the past three weeks few players have run harder or more effectively in Pine Tree Conference B than Cony senior Reid Shostak. It is also of little coincidence that the Rams (4-4) have played their best football of the season during that stretch.

“He’s a difference maker,” Cony head coach B.L. Lippert said after Friday night’s 40-0 win over Gardiner. “Sometimes you don’t have to block very well and he’ll make guys miss. He’s physical and over the course of a game he’s going to wear you down.”

In a 47-14 win over Hampden on Oct. 9 he had 28 carries for 214 yards and four touchdowns and followed it up by rushing 23 times for 198 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-19 loss to Skowhegan on Oct. 16. This past Friday against Gardiner Shostak had 252 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries and also completed a 22-yard pass to Anthony Brunelle.

Shostak has not been the only offensive weapon to hit their stride of late, though. The Rams are proving to be dangerous on the outside with receivers Nijual Davis and Brunelle. On a number of occasions against Gardiner quarterback Taylor Heath threw the ball up for grabs with the two receivers being shadowed by smaller opponents, allowing each to go up and make a play on the ball.

“They’re both 6-2, 6-3, pretty good athletes and they give us an advantage over some of those corners,” Lippert said. “They just go up and compete for the ball in the air and it’s a nice luxury to have as a quarterback. When plays break down you just put it up and give our guys a chance.”

The fifth-seeded Rams will certainly need another strong effort Friday night at 7 p.m. when they travel to Caldwell Field to take on No. 4 Mt. Blue (5-3). The winner will face top-seeded Brunswick (7-1) in the semifinals. In the other PTC B quarterfinal, No. 6 Lawrence (4-4) — winners of four straight — will head north to take on No. 3 Brewer (7-1). Second-seeded Skowhegan (7-1) awaits either the Bulldogs or Witches in the semifinals.

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While Gardiner’s season ended with its loss to Cony last Friday night, football is just over halfway done for Matt Burgess, the Tigers’ head coach from 2011-14. Burgess is seven games into his first season back at Bridgton Academy (3-4) as an assistant on first-year head coach Juwan Jackson’s squad.

“It’s a different kind of coaching but it’s a good kind of coaching,” Burgess said. “I’ve been keeping a close eye on the Tigers this year and continue to feel for them. I only wish them the best.”

The prep school team is primarily comprised of players from the New England area but is light on athletes from Maine. Thornton Academy graduate James Remmes, a 6-foot-1, 221-pound defensive end, is the lone representative from the Pine Tree State for the Wolverines.

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Around the state: There are a couple teams making their first playoff appearances this season. In the Class D North Little Ten Conference, Houlton is in its second season at the varsity level. In the Class C South, Gray-New Gloucester is in for the first time. Oceanside made the playoffs as Rockland High School numerous time, but this season is the first since merging with Georges Valley and forming Oceanside in 2010… Six teams made it through the regular season undefeated: Portland, Yarmouth, Winslow, Old Town, MCI and Oak Hill. All are 8-0, with the exception of 7-0 Oak Hill. The two-time defending Class D state champion had a bye week in its schedule… By winning the coin toss with Winslow for the top seed in the Big Ten Conference playoffs, Old Town will be the top seed in the playoffs for the first time since 1982.

Staff writer Travis Lazarczyk contributed to this report.

 

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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