With Friday’s 28-21 win over Winslow, the Madison Area Memorial High School football team became the first team to defeat the Black Raiders in more than two years. The Bulldogs didn’t lay out a blueprint for beating Winslow. This was simply one good team beating another by doing the little things.

In scoring touchdowns on each of its first three drives of the game, Madison was efficient. On those three drives the Bulldogs were 5-for-5 in converting third down plays into first downs. On only one of those third down plays did the Bulldogs need to gain less than seven yards to move the chains. A third and 7 produced a 30-yard run up the middle by Sean Whalen. Three plays later, on third and 11, quarterback Evan Bess scrambled to his left before connecting with Whalen on a 24 yard pass.

Late in the first quarter, Bess hit Jacob Meader for a 21 yard pass on third and 9. Bess extended the drive by running for two yards on third and 1. When the Bulldogs faced third and 14 from the Winslow 45, Bess and Meader connected again, this time for 15 yards.

For the game, Madison converted 8 of 13 third down plays for a first down. On fourth down, the Bulldogs were 3 of 5, including a three yard run by Whalen on fourth and 2 on the game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter.

“Against any team, really, but against a team like Winslow, that’s how you beat them,” Madison coach Scott Franzose said.

When Winslow made a run, erasing a 21-point deficit to tie the game at 21-21 early in the third quarter, Madison didn’t panic. While Madison did not score on the ensuing drive — it fizzled on downs at the Winslow 9 — it flipped the field, setting the stage for the Bulldogs to get excellent field position on their final two drives. Madison took over on the Winslow 35 late in the third quarter after recovering a Black Raider fumble. That drive ended on downs at the Winslow 8, but after forcing a three-and-out stop, a Black Raider punt from its own goal line set Madison up at the Winslow 44. That’s where the Bulldogs began the game-winning drive with 6:21 left in the game.

“We had a couple lapses in the second quarter, but field position, we’ve won that all year,” Franzose said.

Unlike Mt. Desert Island the previous week, which turned the ball over four times in a 40-20 loss at Winslow, the Bulldogs had no turnovers, always a key in a close game.

Madison, now 4-0 and alone in first place in the Big Ten Conference, will try to keep it going at Waterville (0-4) on Saturday. Winslow (3-1) will try to start a new streak at home Saturday against Oceanside (3-1).

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When Nokomis hosts Messalonskee on Saturday, it will be a rare home night game for the Warriors. The booster club raised money to rent lights for the Warriors Homecoming game, and kickoff will be at 6 p.m.

“Overall, the players, the community, the boosters like it,” Nokomis athletic director Mark Babin said of the night game. “We’re looking to get lights permanently put in, eventually.”

Portable lights arrived at the Newport campus Monday, and Saturday’s football game is the culmination of a week of night games for the Warriors. On Tuesday, the girls soccer team will host Maranacook. Wednesday will see Nokomis field hockey play Morse under the lights. The boys soccer team gets its turn on Friday, when it hosts Spruce Mountain.

Nokomis coach Matt O’Connell said this is the second time in four years the team has played a home game under rented lights. Two years ago, Nokomis played its senior day game against Camden Hills under the lights.

“After the season, that was one of the things the guys talked about a lot. They still talk about it, when I see the guys from that team,” O’Connell said. “Obviously, not having lights, the kids are very excited, and homecoming to go with it, I’m excited for the kids.”

• • •

While most conferences around the state reached the halfway point of the regular season, the Little Ten Conference is not quite there. The LTC is playing a nine-game regular season — with just four teams, rather than six or eight — making the playoffs. Through four games, four teams have emerged as the front runners for those four postseason spots.

Two-time defending conference champion Maine Central Institute leads a pack of three undefeated teams. Dexter and Orono are also unbeaten. These three teams will play a mid-season round robin, beginning on Oct. 8, when MCI plays at Dexter. MCI hosts Orono on Oct. 14, and Orono hosts Dexter on Oct. 21.

Also in the mix is Mount View. The Mustangs have won three consecutive games since opening the season with a 34-21 loss to Orono. This Saturday, Mount View hosts a 1-3 Bucksport team fighting to stay in the playoff hunt.

At 2-2, Houlton is still in the playoff mix, but the Shiretowners have a tough game Friday, making the long trip to Pittsfield to face MCI.

• • •

Around the state: With Winslow’s loss, the longest active win streak in the state now belongs to Oak Hill, which has 24 consecutive wins dating back to the 2014 regular season. Oak Hill’s last loss was 14-6 to Dirigo in week two of 2014. Oak Hill plays at Winthrop/Monmouth Friday in a battle of undefeated teams… Dexter improved to 4-0 with a 39-6 win over Stearns. The Tigers have yet to allow more than seven points in a game… The big game in Class C South this weekend is Yarmouth (3-1) at Wells (4-0) in a rematch of last season’s conference championship game. Yarmouth is coming off a tough 53-14 loss to Fryeburg Academy… In Class A North, Portland (3-1) is at Cheverus (3-1) on Saturday, with first place in the conference on the line.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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