This is the game fans of Winslow and Lawrence high school football have been waiting to see for a generation.

The Winslow-Lawrence rivalry is old school Maine high school football. At one time, this was one of the most competitive rivalries in the state. When Winslow moved from Class A to Class B prior to the 1991 season, the Winslow-Lawrence rivalry went into hibernation. Now, with teams able to schedule non-conference games, Winslow (now in Class C) and Lawrence (now in Class B) were eager to play for the first time in 27 years.

Even without the history involved, this is a big game for both teams. Lawrence dropped a close Pine Tree Conference game at Brewer last week, 21-19, and the Bulldogs are hoping to avoid their second 0-2 start in three years. Winslow passed a tough test last week in a 21-20 win over defending Big Ten Conference champion Mt. Desert Island.

Here’s a look at the Winslow-Lawrence matchup:

Where: Keyes Field, Fairfield

When:7 p.m. Friday

Winslow coach Mike Siviski on Lawrence:“I think both teams are coming off tough games, real tough physical openers. It will be interesting to see what happens. Obviously we just won and they just lost. We expect it’s going to be tough. They’re expecting a good season, and so are we.”

Lawrence coach John Hersom on Winslow: “It’s definitely going to be a big challenge for us, from a lot of aspects. Winslow is a strong, well-coached football team. They’re fundamentally sound, and that’s no surprise.”

Three keys for Winslow:

• No letdown.

Winslow had a huge game last week, a rematch of last season’s conference championship game against MDI. The Black Raiders earned a tight, 21-20 win in a game that wasn’t decided until the final minute. It would be easy to take a mental break after such an important win, but if Winslow takes any plays off, it’s in trouble.

• Be ready for anything.

With quarterback Braden Ballard and fullback Tyler Larouche, Lawrence has the foundation of a diverse offense. Defensively, Winslow needs to expect the Bulldogs will do anything.

“The quarterback is experienced. They have some skill people who can catch. They have a nice, powerful back. They’re solid. They have eight people back on offense, and that’s pretty good,” Siviski said.

• Team effort.

Last week, Winslow’s offensive game plan was to grind out drives and keep the ball away from MDI’s offense, which looked to do the exact same thing. It took all 11 players playing well. Whatever the game plan is this week, the Black Raiders need another all hands on deck effort.

“I thought we had a team effort. It was the first game, and we made quite a few mistakes, but we were very strong up front,” Siviski said.

Three keys for Lawrence:

• Improve the basics.

The Bulldogs need to improve blocking and tackling, two fundamental football skills, Hersom said.

“We haven’t really had a strong start, to be honest, in both those areas,” Hersom said.

• Keep emotions in check.

This point goes for Winslow, too. While many fans have fond memories of this rivalry, none of the players on the field have firsthand knowledge or memories of it. While fans on both sides are sure to be fired up, players need to walk the line between being fired up and being out of control. Hersom doesn’t feel this is a concern for his team.

“Our kids haven’t been a part of that tradition, but they can certainly feel it,” Hersom said. “I think I can trust our kids will have a very positive, clear head.”

• Continue playing with confidence.

Hersom pointed to a 70-yard scoring drive the Bulldogs made in the fourth quarter of last week’s game at Brewer. That effort needs to continue.

“We felt urgency to make a drive, and we did that. We executed well enough to punch it in. I feel good that our kids didn’t show a lack of effort,” Hersom said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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