When Winslow and Madison last met, they played one of the closest games of the regular season. When the teams meet again Friday night at Rudman Field in the Big Ten Conference semifinals, they expect more of the same.

“I can’t say I expect a much different game, because I thought the first game was kind of the game we expected. A physical game, a game of attrition. I know we jumped out a little bit with momentum, but like I told the kids, we didn’t plan on winning 21-0 and shutting those guys out,” Madison coach Scott Franzose said. “They’re going to play their game. This time, they’re probably not used to being in this position, being on the road, so I expect a physical game. They’re going to be hungry. It’s going to be a big one for both of us.”

Added Winslow coach Mike Siviski: “I think both teams are ready. The first game was a nice game, and this one is even bigger.”

Madison won that game in late September, 28-21, to snap Winslow’s 25-game win streak. The rematch highlights the weekend’s slate of playoff football. Here’s a look at this weekend’s playoff game featuring area teams.

• No. 2 Winslow (8-1) rolled over Old Town in the quarterfinals last Saturday to set up the most anticipated rematch of the season in the BTC. No. 2 Madison (7-1) had a bye, the first for the Bulldogs.

“We rested. I feel we’re mentally focused. We got our conditioning in, so we’re feeling good. It was definitely good for us,” Franzose said.

In the first meeting, Madison scored on its first three possessions to take a quick 21-0 lead, only to see Winslow work back and tie the game in the third quarter. Madison went ahead for good when quarterback Evan Bess scored on a 3-yard run with 1:31 left in the game. This time, Winslow needs to do a better job defending the Bulldogs’ array of offensive talent. Bess led the league with 1,084 yards passing and 14 touchdowns. He also ran for 572 yards. Backs Nick Morales (818 yards, 17 TDs) and Sean Whalen (737 yards, 13 TDs), along with receiver Mitch Jarvais (529 yards, seven TDs), give Madison plenty of options.

“They certainly give you a lot to defend. They have a lot of weapons and they’ve done really well. Obviously, we can’t spot them 21 points,” Siviski said. “Don’t get mesmerized by their fakes. We’ll have to be at our best on both sides of the ball.”

Winslow has talented players in its own right. Running back Nate St. Amand led the conference in rushing with 1,224 yards and 16 touchdowns, while fullback Kenny Rickard ran for 15 scores and is a tough between-the-tackles runner. Receiver Dylan Hutchinson caught six touchdown passes.

“This offense runs a little bit more through Nate (St. Amand). He’s the guy. He’s had a tremendous season. He’s a tough back. No. 1, if we can slow that down, we’re going to give ourselves a good chance. Kenny’s a good back as well, on the belly and on the trap stuff. Really, job one is keeping Nate and that run game contained,” Franzose said.

Madison linebacker Aaron Morgan led the league with 66 tackles. Winslow defensive end Ryan Fredette was second, with 58.5 tackles.

• After losing three games in a row to end the regular season, Messalonskee righted itself with a road win at Skowhegan in the Pine Tree Conference Class B quarterfinals. Now, the No. 5 Eagles (5-4) play at No. 1 Brunswick (8-0), a team that steamrolled the league.

“Some of the things they’ve done are unheard of,” Messalonskee coach Brad Bishop said of the Dragons. “I know one kid from Brunswick’s caught four passes and they’ve all been touchdown receptions.”

Bishop is close. According to stats on sportsinme.com, Brunswick’s Jackson Gordon has three touchdowns on four catches, but the greater point is made. The Dragons are loaded on both sides of the ball, scoring close to 53 points per game while allowing just under 13.

Brunswick’s offense goes through a trio of running backs: Hunter Garrett, Jesse Devereaux, and Ben Palizay, who have combined for 2,100 yards. Messalonskee has a strong backfield, too, with Austin Pelletier, Colby Dexter and Tyler Lewis combining for 2,300 yards in the regular season. Pelletier ran for 207 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s win at Skowhegan.

“They’ve got great athletes in the backfield and at the tight end and split end positions. We’ve got some pretty good athletes, too. We’ve got to be able to play better defense and stop them a couple of times and not stop ourselves,” Bishop said. I don’t think for one minute that our kids are intimidated by going down there… I thought our kids bounced back well after the two tough defeats and the blowout to Lawrence. They’re pretty resilient. I’m looking forward to going down there.”

• Maine Central Institute (9-0) ran its regular season undefeated streak to 25 games with last week’s win over Mount View. Now, the Huskies get a Bucksport (6-3) team that’s peaking at the right time in the semifinals. These teams played in Week 2 of the season, with MCI taking a 20-point win.

“We know they’ve gotten a lot better since the first game. We knew at the start of the season Bucksport was going to be one of the teams we saw at the end,” MCI coach Tom Bertrand said.

The Golden Bucks have a pair of game-breaking threats in quarterback Chase Carmichael and running back Matt Vincent. Carmichael threw for 1,334 yards and 14 touchdowns in the regular season, while running for 248 yards and two scores. Vincent (870 yard rushing, 13 TDs) averages 5.6 yards per carry.

“They moved the ball on us some, and we were able to make some plays,” Bertrand said. “Carmichael, he kind of makes things tick… If we’re able to control their backfield a bit, and stay with their receivers, we should be all right.”

MCI led the conference in scoring, averaging 43 points per game. Eli Bussell led the Huskies with 810 yards rushing, and Pedro Matos, Adam Bertrand, and Willie Moss give the Huskies a deep backfield. Quarterback Josh Buker threw for 542 yards and 15 touchdowns while running for 594 yards and six scores. Buker also is a special teams threat, with seven punt returns for touchdowns.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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