Tom Bertrand knew he was approaching a coaching milestone. Even so, the Maine Central Institute football coach tried not to let the celebration of his 100th career win overshadow the Huskies important 35-25 victory over Orono on Friday night.

“The game tonight was unreal. It was a great football game, and that was the highlight of the night,” Bertrand said following the game, which improved MCI’s record to 7-0 and gave the Huskies sole possession of first place in the Little Ten Conference. “They’re a good football team, and one we’ll see again. It was a hard-hitting football game, and we know next time we’re going to have to step up even harder.”

Bertrand is in his 15th season as head coach at MCI, and he was head coach at Stearns of Millinocket for three seasons, 1998 through 2000. He said he hadn’t given much thought to his win total until asked about it earlier this season. He asked Mike Archer, Orono High athletic director and a Little Ten Conference historian, if he knew the win total.

“I knew I was close. Somebody had asked me how many I had. I had no idea, so I emailed Mike Archer and he told me at that time it was 97. It’s nice. It’s a nice milestone for a football coach, I know that,” Bertrand said. “It means I’ve been coaching football a long time.”

The win gives the Huskies essentially a two-game cushion for first place in the LTC over their nearest rivals in the standings, Orono (6-1) and Dexter (6-1). Even if MCI were to lose one of its two remaining regular season games, to either Ellsworth (2-5) or Mount View (4-3), it has the tiebreaker over both Orono and Dexter. The Orono win extended MCI’s win streak in conference play to 27 games. The Huskies haven’t lost to a Little Ten Conference opponent since falling to Mattanawcook in the conference semifinals in 2013.

• • •

With one game to go in the regular season in the Pine Tree Conference Class B and Big Ten Conference (the LTC plays a nine-game schedule this season and has two weeks left), here’s a look at where some area teams stand in the playoff picture:

• Pine Tree Conference Class B

Skowhegan (5-2) can do no worse than the No. 4 seed. The Indians can clinch third place with a win over Mt. Blue (2-5) and could jump to second with a Hampden win over Brewer.

Lawrence (5-2) can clinch a home game in the first round with a win over Messalonskee (4-3).

Messalonskee can clinch a home game in the first round with a win over Lawrence.

Cony is tied at 2-5 with three teams, Mt. Blue, Hampden and Gardiner, but the Rams have the advantage of a tougher schedule, which will help their Crabtree point ranking. Cony can clinch the sixth and final playoff spot with a win over Gardiner. Gardiner needs a win and losses from Mt. Blue and Hampden.

• Big Ten Conference

If Madison, Mt. Desert Island and Winslow each win this weekend, all will be 7-1. Winslow beat MDI, MDI beat Madison, and Madison beat Winslow, so it will come down to Crabtree points. In that case, MDI will be seeded one and Madison two, each earning a bye to the semifinals. Winslow will be the third seed, and will host a quarterfinal game against the No. 6 seed. Four teams are fighting for the final three playoffs spots: Oceanside (4-3), Old Town (4-3), Belfast (3-4) and Foxcroft (3-4).

Madison hosts Hermon (2-5), MDI hosts Old Town, and Winslow hosts Waterville (0-7) this weekend.

• • •

At halftime of Friday’s game against Messalonskee, Lawrence will honor three of its past teams.

The Bulldogs will honor the 2006 Class A state championship team, as well as the 1996 and 1986 Pine Tree Conference championship teams. All players from those teams will be invited onto the field at halftime.

• • •

Around the state: The top seed in the Class A South playoffs will be decided when Thornton (7-0) plays at Bonny Eagle (7-0) Friday night… First place in Class C South is on the line in when Cape Elizabeth (7-0) plays at Wells (7-0) on Friday… Fryeburg will try to run its win streak to six games when it hosts Lake Region in the regular season finale Saturday… If Leavitt (2-5) loses to Biddeford (6-1), the winner of the Mt. Ararat (2-5) vs. Morse (2-5) game will take the eighth and final playoff spot in Class B South… Winthrop/Monmouth completed a perfect regular season with a win over Maranacook on Friday. Now the Ramblers await the start of the Class D South playoffs.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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