Maine’s high school football teams didn’t start full contact practices until last Friday. On Monday, with just a couple days of hitting complete, they were able to hit players wearing a different jersey when scrimmages against another team were allowed.

Six Northern teams from Class C and D met at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield. Along with host MCI, Madison, Mount View, John Bapst, Stearns and Ellsworth took part. It’s the second straight year the Huskies have hosted a multiple school scrimmage.

“Last year we had four (teams) here. We wanted to expand it,” MCI head coach Tom Bertrand said.

The plan was for each team to get varsity reps against at least three of the other schools, and time against a fourth if time allowed. With MCI’s game field and practice field in use, each school was able to get varsity and junior varsity playing time, as well as work on goal line situations.

“We loved it. We came over last year, too,” Madison head coach Scott Franzose said. “It’s a beautiful day of football. Plenty of reps for the ones, plenty of reps for the twos.”

The scrimmages also were a day for teams to see multiple offenses and defenses in a short amount of time. In the coaches office prior to bringing his team to the field, Bertrand pointed to the whiteboard. Each team playing that day was listed, along with its base defense and offense.


“Instead of just seeing this,” Bertrand said, pointing at one school’s name on the board, “we see all of this.”

Mount View head coach Haggie Pratt said the scrimmage was a chance to give his starters a chance to see multiple opponents that match up better in terms of size and speed than his second string.

“It gives us a chance to play against other ones, rather than put pressure on our kids,” Pratt said. “You can’t get that same stuff out of your scout team.”

• • •

The Little Ten Conference has added a ninth regular season game this season, eliminating the quarterfinal round of the playoffs. Now, just four teams will make the conference tournament, rather than six as in recent seasons.

This season, Medomak Valley moved from the Little Ten to the Campbell Conference, and after suspending its varsity football program midway through the 2015 season, Camden Hills did not return to the league. That left the Little Ten with 10 teams. The leagues coaches voted to play a nine-game round robin schedule, in which each team plays every other team in the league, rather than an eight-game schedule. The move should simplify playoff tiebreaker scenarios, which will now always include a head-to-head matchup. That will keep the LTC from facing a coin flip for playoff seeding, like the one that occurred for the top seed in the Big Ten Conference (Class C North) last season between Winslow and Old Town.


The Big Ten played an eight game schedule, and Winslow and Old Town did not play each other in the regular season. When both went 8-0, all the league’s tiebreakers were even. Old Town earned the top seed by winning a coin flip immediately following Winslow win over Waterville in the regular season finale.

Dropping the playoffs from six teams to four means at least one good team will be on the outside looking in when the postseason starts.

“You’ll probably have to go 6-3 to make it,” Pratt said. “It’s going to be tough.”

• • •

MCI hasn’t lost to a Little Ten opponent since the 2013 conference semifinals. As the two-time defending conference champion, the Huskies expect to get each opponents best effort every week.

“We know we’ve got the bullseye on our chest. We know we’ll have to fight week in, week out,” Bertrand said.


Bertrand said he expects the LTC to be a more competitive league this season.

“We’ve had success the last couple of years, and there’s pressure and expectations that come with that. We’re prepared for that,” Bertrand said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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