In Class C North, a team is going to make history. In Class B North, a perennial power is going back to the state championship game.

Nokomis (6-4) and Hermon (9-1) face off for the Class C North title Saturday afternoon in a battle of two teams that have never been to the state championship game. On Friday night in Brunswick, the Dragons (7-3) host Lawrence (6-4) for the Class B North crown, in a game featuring teams that won five of the last seven Pine Tree Conference championships going back to the league’s days as Class A North.

“It’s a mixture of excitement and anticipation,” Hermon coach Kyle Gallant said of his team’s week leading up to Saturday’s game. “The kids are focused on this.”

Nokomis coach Jake Rogers made sure his team didn’t get too high after last week’s 13-0 win over top-seed and defending state champion Maine Central Institute.

“If you get too amped up for this one game, you’re probably not going to be ready for the next one,” Rogers said. “It’s great getting to the (regional) finals. The school’s never done it. It’s a nice little thing you can say. But winning it’s a whole lot better.”

Gallant’s Hawks defeated Nokomis, 25-7, when the teams met in week three of the regular season. Since that game the Warriors are 5-2, and Rogers feels his team is playing its best football now.

“The big thing we’ve been saying is, we’ve had adversity this year,” Rogers said. “We had that lull and we weren’t sure who we were. Guys stopped being on their own page and we started playing together. Man, what a difference. They’re finally seeing the importance of it.”

Nokomis quarterback Andrew Haining passes the ball against Medomak Valley during a Class C North quarterfinal game in Newport.

Six of Nokomis’ eight regular season opponents made the playoffs, and the Warriors played the top seed in each Class C region, MCI and Leavitt. Rogers said Hermon reminds him of Leavitt, in that the Hawks have a number of skill position players who can take over a game. For Hermon, it starts with quarterback Garrett Trask, who led the conference in passing, with 1,095 yards and 14 touchdowns in the regular season, and ran for 698 yards and 12 touchdowns.

“They feed off (Trask). Who wouldn’t, with the plays he makes? He’s a phenomenal player. That boy can run,” Rogers said. “They’re very dangerous with their skill guys. Their overall team they’ve got a lot of great football players.”

Hermon gained confidence with last week’s 20-13 come-from-behind win over No. 3 Winslow. Down 13-0 in the third quarter, Gallant reminded his team it had an early two- touchdown lead at MCI, only to lose the game.

“I think we saw it early in the year with MCI. We got complacent and let them beat us up and take over,” Gallant said.

Gallant compared Nokomis to his team, citing the many playmakers the Warriors can use, beginning with quarterback Andrew Haining.

“Haining is smart. He beats you with his head as much as his arm,” Gallant said.

The Hawks need to be wary of a number of Nokomis defenders, Gallant said, starting with linebacker Quinton Richards.

“He plays outside linebacker, but he’s making tackles six, seven yards off the other edge,” Gallant said.

While Hermon and Nokomis are newcomers to the late playoff rounds, Pine Tree Conference Class B finalists Lawrence and Brunswick have been here before. Brunswick won three consecutive league titles from 2014-2016, including a Class B state title in 2016. Under coach John Hersom, Lawrence has been to four state championship games since 2006, most recently in 2012. The Bulldogs are in the conference final for the second straight year and third time since 2014.

Lawrence’s Kyle Carpenter (20) leaves two Skowhegan defenders behind during a Pine Tree Conference Class B semifinal game Friday night in Skowhegan.

Brunswick won the regular season meeting at Lawrence, 55-28. The Dragons built a 28-0 lead, but Lawrence pulled to within a touchdown before Brunswick broke free with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Both teams will try to establish the run.

“We don’t want to get into that race track kind of game where we always have be trying to catch up,” Hersom said. “They play aggressively on the defensive side. They’re trying to disrupt. They’re trying to create turnovers. We’ve got to really protect the football.”

Brunswick coach Dan Cooper said stopping the run is first for his team, but noted in the first meeting the Bulldogs had success in the passing game, too.

“They mixed it up pretty good,” Cooper said. “We need to force them to drive the field. They’ve shown the ability to do that.”

Brunswick’s rushing duo of Cam Hathaway and Donald Bromiley combined for 305 yards against Lawrence earlier this season.

“We’ve got to match up a little better defensively versus their running attack. That was pretty evident in the regular season,” Hersom said. “Everything’s going to pretty much be us needing to stop the run and tackle well.”

Lawrence’s run game is led by Kyle Carpenter, who has 281 yards and four touchdowns in a pair of playoff wins over Mt. Blue and Skowhegan.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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