Each of the last three seasons, the Madison Area Memorial High School football team has made improvement. In 2014, it was just making the playoffs for the first time in a generation. Last season, it was hosting a playoff game. This season, the Bulldogs took another step, earning one of the two first round byes in the Big Ten Conference playoffs.

Madison, 7-1, is the No. 2 seed. Madison, Winslow and Mt. Desert Island each went 7-1, and MDI earned the top seed based on strength of schedule. The Trojans’ opponents won one more game than Madison, giving MDI the top seed.

“This is something, obviously, we’re not used to,” Madison coach Scott Franzose said about the bye. On Wednesday, the Bulldogs will play a controlled scrimmage against Winthrop/Monmouth, the top seed in Class D South, which also has a bye this week. The rest of the week, Franzose said, is “recoup and regroup.”

“A lot of it will be more mental than anything. We’ll get rested. Luckily, we don’t have any major injuries,” Franzose said.

Madison will face the winner of Saturday’s game between No. 6 Old Town (4-4) and No. 3 Winslow (7-1) in the semifinals.

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Mt. Blue’s upset win over Skowhegan on Saturday night didn’t get the Cougars into the playoffs, but it did set up a rematch of one of the best Pine Tree Conference playoff games in recent memory.

With the loss, Skowhegan (5-3) dropped from third place to fourth, and Lawrence (6-2) moved up to third. The Bulldogs host No. 6 Cony on Friday at 7 p.m. In 2014, Lawrence went to Cony in the semifinals and pulled out a 28-27 win, scoring the game-winning touchdown and 2-point conversion with just over a minute to play.

Friday’s game will be the third playoff contest between Cony and Lawrence in the last five years. The teams also met in the 2012 conference championship game, with Lawrence taking a 20-10 win.

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There’s one week to play in the Little Ten Conference regular season and three playoff spots are set.

Maine Central Institute (8-0) is the top seed after a win over Orono (7-1). The Huskies host Mount View (5-3) this week. Orono’s 27-26 come-from-behind win over Dexter (6-2) on Friday ensured the Red Riots the No. 2 seed, and home field next week in the semifinals rematch with Dexter, which will be the number three seed.

The only playoff spot in question is the four spot. Bucksport (5-3) can clinch the playoff bid with a win at Ellsworth (2-6). Mount View needs to win at MCI and have Bucksport lose to claim the four seed.

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Around the state: Fryeburg Academy is 6-2 and earned the three seed in the Class C South playoffs. Combined with last season’s 6-4 record, this is just the second time in the last 10 seasons the Raiders have played back-to-back winning seasons. Fryeburg went 7-3 in 2007 and 5-4 in 2008… Five teams made it through the regular season undefeated: Bonny Eagle, Brunswick, Kennebunk, Cape Elizabeth, and Winthrop/Monmouth. MCI can become the sixth with a win over Mount View this week… Three playoff games this weekend are rematches of regular season games played last week. In Class B South, Falmouth hosts Greely after taking a 14-0 win over the Rangers last week. Both Class D South quarterfinals are do-overs of regular season finales — Old Orchard Beach at Dirigo (a 12-6 Dirigo win) and Traip at Oak Hill (a 33-13 Oak Hill win)… Only three quarterfinals are not rematches of regular season games: Leavitt at Kennebunk in Class B South, and Old Town at Winslow and Foxcroft at Oceanside in Class C North.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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