The last time the Winslow High School football team lost to a Big Ten Conference opponent was in October, 2013, when the Black Raiders fell at rival Waterville. The last time Winslow lost a game to anybody was the Class C state championship that same season. The Black Raiders win streak is now 24 games. If there’s a team in the Big Ten Conference that can contend with Winslow this season, it might be Mt. Desert Island.

Like Winslow, the Trojans are 2-0. With an offense built around a ball control running game, MDI is a throwback to old-fashioned football. It works, and the Trojans average almost 300 yards per game on the ground.

Winslow wasn’t challenged in either of its first two games. The Black Raiders outscored opponents Belfast and John Bapst 115-6. Saturday’s game against MDI will give the Black Raiders their first test of the season. It will be a good measuring stick for both the two-time defending state champs, and the team that has aspirations of knocking the Black Raiders off.

Here’s a look at the MDI-Winslow matchup.

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Poulin Field, Winslow

MDI coach Mark Shields on Winslow: “They’re the two-time defending state champions. They know how to win big games. They’re tough kids.”

Winslow coach Mike Siviski on MDI: “They’ve got a really fantastic back, and a very good-sized line. They’re off to a good start and we’re off to a good start. We eliminated them in the semifinals last year, so I think they’ll be after us.”

Keys for MDI:

• Play keep away. The Trojans typically line up in the T formation and run the ball. It’s an old school offense that, when run well, can grind out long drives. That would suit Shields just fine. If his team is churning out long, clock-eating drives, that’s time Winslow’s high-powered offense doesn’t have the ball.

“They make you earn everything you get,” Shields said of Winslow. “You pick up three yards on a play, be happy. They don’t give up many big plays. The longer my offense is on the field, the less their guys are on it.”

• Throw a little. Winslow’s defense will be geared up to stop the run, and the Trojans know that. Quarterback Andrew Phelps has completed nine of 19 passes this season for 139 yards and a touchdown. While MDI wants to grind out long drives, it can’t be afraid to throw, either.

“Offensively, we’ve been fairly productive. We’ve been trying to throw the ball some. That’s something we need to get better at,” Shields said.

• Continue playing aggressive defense. The Trojans are coming off a shutout win over Belfast. Shutting out the Black Raiders is unlikely, but MDI has a chance if the initial contact with Winslow ball carries brings the runner down.

“I think our kids swarm to the ball pretty well,” Shields said.

Keys for Winslow:

• Don’t bend, don’t break. When these teams met in the playoffs last season, MDI gained just 131 yards and eight first downs. The Black Raiders were toughest in their own territory, stopping five MDI drives inside their own 30-yard line.

• Take care of the ball. Winslow overcame five turnovers in that playoff win, and Siviski knows winning while coughing the ball up that much is an abnormality.

• Respect MDI’s speed and size. In Colby Lee, the Trojans have a quick back who has 315 yards rushing and three touchdowns in two games. Fullback Croix Albee is a bruiser between the tackles, with 185 yards and four touchdowns so far this season. Albee gave Winslow trouble in their regular season game last season, running for a pair of first half touchdowns.

“(Lee) is very dangerous,” Siviski said. “(Albee) gets tough yards. We had trouble with him last year.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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