It’s rare to find a big game in which the opponents have no history against each other, but that’s exactly what we have when Messsalonskee plays at Falmouth on Friday.

“It’s hard to tell how it will go, because we’ve never played them,” Messalonskee coach Brad Bishop said as he tried to size up the Yachtsmen.

Messalonskee and Falmouth are 3-1 and are contending in their respective Class B conference. This is the second crossover game for each; Falmouth beat Cony on opening night, 41-19, while Messalonskee fell to defending Class B South champ Kennebunk in Week 2, 32-7.

Falmouth’s loss also came against Kennebunk, 51-34.

Here’s a look at the matchup:

When: 6:30 tonight.

Where: Falmouth High School

Messalonskee coach Brad Bishop on Falmouth: “They have a very, very good quarterback. He’s probably the best quarterback we’ve seen. They’re a very athletic team. We’re going to expect a battle.”

Falmouth coach John Fitzsimmons on Messalonskee: “It’s always a challenge to play a team for the first time. They’re kind of a cross between Marshwood and Kennebunk. It should be a stiff challenge for us. They have a very well-planned offensive scheme with players who can execute their running game. I’m impressed with how well all their kids execute their responsibilities.”

Three keys for Messalonskee.

• Lose the rust quickly.

Messalonskee scored 50 points in the first 12 1/2 minutes of last week’s win at Hampden, and that meant the starters spent most of the time on the sidelines. If the Eagles spend too much time early in the game getting reacquainted with competitive football, they run the risk of falling behind.

• Go to the air.

Messalonskee is one of the best running teams in the state, and the Eagles need to run the ball effectively to win each week. Even so, this might be a game in which to let quarterback Deklan Thurston sling the ball a little more than usual, especially to playmakers like Austin Pelletier, Tyler Lewis and Alden Balboni coming out of the backfield. Falmouth surrendered two touchdown passes in last week’s 42-30 win at Biddeford, and Kennebunk threw two touchdown passes against the Yachtsmen.

• Eye spy.

Falmouth quarterback Jack Bryant has nine touchdown runs this season to go with five touchdown passes. Somebody on the Messalonskee defense has to keep an eye on the Falmouth quarterback at all times, even if it means Bryant is his sole responsibility.

Three keys for Falmouth.

• Spread the wealth.

Bryant rightly attracts a lot of attention from opposing defenses, as he’s thrown for more than 3,000 yards in his career and is a threat to run for a score on every snap, too. The Yachtsmen have a deep group of talented skill players, and getting them all involved in the offense early can only make things tougher on Messalonskee’s defense. Running backs Garrett Aube and Riley Reed, as well as receiver Emilo Micucci, should be crucial parts of Falmouth’s game plan.

“(Aube and Reed) play different styles, but both are very good. We rotate them and stay fresh,” Fitzsimmons said. “Jack’s a third year starter. He’s just gotten bigger and stronger.”

• Disrupt the blocking.

While Messalonskee has a few breakaway backs, it doesn’t matter if the hole isn’t there. Fitzsimmons thinks he has two of the state’s top defensive ends in Griffin Aube and Noah Barney. They need to lead the defensive line, freeing up middle linebacker Coleman Allen to make tackles.

“Every week, (Allen) has gotten better,” Fitzsimmons said.

• Control the clock.

Messalonskee’s run-heavy offense can grind out long scoring drives and keep opponents’ offense off the field. A spread team that runs the ball like Falmouth can have success turning the tables on the Eagles by orchestrating long scoring drives of its own.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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