The most important play of Messalonskee’s 33-27 win over Skowhegan in Saturday night’s Pine Tree Conference Class B quarterfinal game was one of the shortest. Facing fourth down and 1 from the Skowhegan 46 in the final minute, the Eagles went for it. Fullback Austin Pelletier gained just enough yardage to move the sticks, and Messalonskee was able to run out the clock for the win.

Messalonskee coach Brad Bishop’s first inclination was to punt the ball, but he knew Skowhegan had the ability to score quickly with its strong passing game. Messalonskee saw that firsthand in the regular-season meeting, when Skowhegan quarterback Garrett McSweeney connected with John Bell on a 77-yard fourth quarter touchdown pass.

Bishop called timeout to think it over. His assistant coaches on the sideline urged Bishop to go for it, and when he reached the huddle, Bishop saw that his players wanted to go for it, too.

“They seemed confident,” Bishop said. “A lot can go wrong when you punt the ball. They could’ve blocked it. It could’ve been a short punt.”

The play was 83 belly, one of the staples of Messalonskee’s running game.

With the win, Messalonskee advanced to the conference semifinals for the fifth time in the last six years. The fifth-seeded Eagles will play at No. 1 Brunswick (8-0) on Friday.

• • •

When you’re a heavy underdog, as Old Town was against Winslow in the Big Ten Conference quarterfinals, you have to pull out all the stops and dust off the tricks in the back of the playbook. That was certainly the case for the Coyotes, who tried a little bit of everything in Saturday’s 55-16 loss to the Black Raiders.

Old Town’s second offensive play of the game was a reverse, but Winslow had it figured out and stopped it for a 13-yard loss. Early in the second quarter, Old Town went with a halfback pass. T.J. Crawford’s throw to Ethan Hayes went for 8 yards on first down, but the drive stalled five plays later and the Coyotes punted.

Winslow senior Dylan Hutchinson said the Black Raiders expected some trick plays from Old Town.

“We knew they had a pitch pass, but we didn’t know when to expect it. We did pretty well with it,” Hutchinson said.

• • •

Maine Central Institute ran the table in the Little Ten Conference for the third straight season. In last week’s season finale against Mount View, the Huskies (9-0) got a key player back from injury just in time for the playoffs.

Senior halfback/safety Willie Moss returned after missing a few games. Moss ran for 59 yards on 14 carries. A 1,000-yard rusher last season, Moss’ return gives a talented backfield more depth.

“He’s working back in and he’s doing well,” MCI coach Tom Bertrand said of Moss. “We’ve got a lot of different guys who can run the ball.”

Moss also helps the Huskies on defense, where he’ll play safety and occasionally drop into a linebacker spot. MCI hosts Bucksport (6-3) in a conference semifinal Friday at 7 p.m.

“We’ve got the typical bumps, bruises and scrapes, but all our starters are healthy,” Bertrand said.

• • •

Around the state: One of the intriguing rematches this week is the Class A North semifinal game between No. 3 Cheverus and No. 2 Windham. In the regular season on Oct. 22, Windham took a 13-12 win… Oceanside’s 27-7 win over Foxcroft on Saturday was the football team’s first-ever playoff win. The school formed in 2011 with the merger of Rockland and Georges Valley high schools. The Mariners will play at Mt. Desert Island in the semifinals… Although Mount View finished just short of a playoff spot in the Little Ten Conference, the Mustangs program continued moving in the right direction. With a 5-4 record, Mount View completed back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in program history.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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