The last time the Lawrence High School football team played Skowhegan, the Bulldogs scored a season-high 56 points. And lost.

With temperatures at kickoff expected to be around 22 degrees, with wind chills of 11, Skowhegan and Lawrence likely will not repeat the 58-56 shootout they played Oct. 13. Still, both teams expect another close game when they meet for the Pine Tree Conference Class B title Friday night at Skowhegan’s Clark Field.

No. 2 Lawrence (6-3) and No. 1 Skowhegan (6-3) each survived a close semifinal game to advance. The winner will face either Falmouth (8-2) or Marshwood (10-0) in the Class B state championship game Nov. 18 at Portland’s Fitzpatrick Stadium. In Class C North, No. 6 Maine Central Institute (6-4) plays at No. 1 Mt. Desert Island (9-1) on Saturday night, with the winner facing either Gardiner (5-5) or Cape Elizabeth (8-2) in the Class C state game at the University of Maine in Orono Nov. 17. In Class D South, No. 2 Madison (9-1) plays at No. 1 Wells (10-0) on Saturday afternoon. The winner will face either Bucksport (6-3) or Foxcroft (7-2) in the Class D state game at Fitzpatrick Stadium a week from Nov. 18.

Skowhegan coach Ryan Libby said he doesn’t expect the cold and wind to hinder his team’s passing game. Junior quarterback Marcus Christopher has 36 touchdown passes to just four interceptions, and receivers Jon Bell, Cam Barnes and Sean Savage give the Indians a group of strong options through the air.

“If it’s going to hinder, it’s going to hinder all of us,” Libby said.

Added Lawrence coach John Hersom: “They just execute offensively at a very, very high level with what they do.”

Each team is coming off arguably its best defensive game of the season. After allowing an average of 37 points per game in the regular season, Skowhegan was strong in an 18-13 win over Brewer.

“It’s a great time of year for the defense to hit its stride,” Libby said.

Lawrence advanced with a 17-12 win over Brunswick, the fewest points allowed by the Bulldogs since a 63-6 win over Hampden in mid-September. In the first meeting, Skowhegan and Lawrence combined for 1,061 yards. That night, Christopher threw for 323 yards and six touchdowns.

“We feel like we have done some pretty good things in our secondary to help offset some of their execution, but certainly we’re not going to be able to stop their entire offense for the entire game. We’re realizing we’ve got to be resilient,” Hersom said.

While Lawrence has had injuries to the offensive backfield, the Bulldogs will still look to run first, mixing in an improving pass attack. Isaiah Schooler ran for 207 yards against Skowhegan in the first game.

• • •

Maine Central Institute already has won a pair of playoff games on the road to reach the conference championship game. The Huskies see going to Mt. Desert Island to take on the top-seeded Trojans as just another challenge in their first season of Class C football.

“We’re peaking at the right time, I think. We’re definitely believing once again we belong here. We knew coming in that we should be one of the top teams in the league. I think our kids have proven in the last few weeks that we deserve to be right where we’re at,” MCI coach Tom Bertrand said.

MCI won a quarterfinal game at No. 3 Nokomis, then upset No. 2 Winslow, 43-42, last week. Mt. Desert Island coach Mark Shields said after seeing the Huskies win at Winslow, his team knows it cannot take MCI lightly.

“They’re a team that’s playing with a lot of confidence. That’s a different team that we faced (in a 35-24 MDI regular season win),” Shields said. “Nobody usually wins at Poulin Field, and they went in and knocked off Winslow.”

The Trojans have one of the best running attacks in the state, led by senior Colby Lee, who gained 1,236 yards and scored 18 touchdowns in the regular season. Quarterback Andrew Phelps has become a running threat, and a healthy Croix Albee at fullback gives the Trojans more offensive depth.

“They’re big. They’re fast. They’ve got lots of kids who can make plays. They are a team that seems to be committed to do whatever it takes to get to that Gold Ball game,” Bertrand said. “They’ve been making big plays all year long. If we can limit those big plays and play our assignments. When you’re running against that T and what they do, it gets very hard not to have breakdowns.”

Shields said the Huskies are a tough matchup because they’ll show multiple formations on both sides of the ball. Against Nokomis, MCI ran and ran some more, with Adam Bertrand, Pedro Matos and Seth Bussell sharing the carries. Against Winslow, MCI threw more, gaining 202 yards through the air.

“They line up in so many formations and do a lot of things offensively,” Shields said. “When we broke down the film of their last game, we saw five different defenses. They know how to win big games.”

• • •

Neither Wells nor Madison was in Class D South last season, but with declining enrollment, each dropped from Class C. The two pulled ahead of the rest of the Campbell Conference Class D early in the season. When they met in Wells on Sept. 23, the Warriors overcame a 14-point halftime deficit to take a 25-21 win.

“That was one of the games of the state, a game of the week type of thing,” Madison coach Scott Franzose said. “They have a system. They are very efficient. They are fundamental. They’re a team that’s obviously gotten it done all year.”

Both the Bulldogs and Warriors have a potent offense. Wells’ defense has allowed just over a touchdown per game all season, and just 12 points combined in two playoff wins. Offensively, Nolan Potter and Tyler Bridge lead the Wells running game, and quarterback Michael Wrigley is a threat to throw.

Madison’s spread offense is led by quarterback Evan Bess, and backs Sean Whalen and Eric Wescott. Receiver Jacob Meader had a touchdown catch in last week’s win over Winthrop/Monmouth. The Bulldogs did not dwell on the midseason loss at Wells, Franzose said. “It’s a very focused group. They look ahead. They don’t look back so much. I love my kids, how they stay focused on the game plan,” Franzose said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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