The Nokomis Regional High School Warriors might want to introduce Mad Max as their mascot. This fall, the Nokomis football team will be Road Warriors.

The Warriors — the defending Class C state champions — will play home games at Lawrence High School’s Keyes Field in Fairfield. Ongoing construction of the new school across the street from the field has torn up Nokomis’ home field. It will be ready for play again next season, but the work meant Nokomis had to find a temporary home for 2019.

It’s approximately 29 miles from Nokomis High in Newport to Lawrence High.

A graduate of Lawrence, Nokomis coach Jake Rogers was glad his team was able to find a suitable home field.

“I said, ‘Let’s go with it,'” Rogers said.

The Lawrence and Nokomis schedules work so they are home on the same weekend just once in the regular season, in week seven. That weekend, Nokomis will host Waterville at Keyes on Saturday afternoon. Otherwise, the Warriors will play home games on Friday nights, a new thing for Nokomis, whose home field does not feature lights.

“I like the advantage of Saturday games because as a coach, I get an extra day of prep,” Rogers said.

Nokomis’ three Friday games at Keyes will be against Medomak Valley on Sept. 6, Old Town on Oct. 4, and John Bapst on Oct. 25.

 

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When it approved the formation on an 8-man football league, the Maine Principals’ Association football committee approved a provision which requires any 11-man team unable to finish a game due to lack of players to play in the 8-man division for the remainder of the classification cycle. In an email Thursday morning, MPA Executive Director, Interscholastic Division Mike Burnham said the provision will not apply to Orono.

Last week, Orono announced it will play a junior varsity schedule in 2019, citing a turnout of just 18 players for the football team.

“Because the decision to withdraw was prior to the start of the season it would not force them into 8-man but I would hope they would give it serious consideration for another year,” Burnham said.

Orono’s last-minute decision came after the Red Riots were unable to complete multiple games in 2018 due to a lack of players. The move left teams on Orono’s schedule scrambling to fill their schedule and replace the Red Riots with a new opponent.

According to Mike Mandell, who covers Mt. Desert Island High School for the Ellsworth American and Mt. Desert Islander, the Trojans shuffled their schedule to make up for the loss of Orono. MDI moved a week one game against Old Town to week three, moved a game against Stearns from week four to week one, and added a game against Washington Academy in week four.

 

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Cony running back Jamal Cariglia will be playing a bigger role this season. And according to coach B.L. Lippert, the junior was busy during the offseason getting ready for it.

“Jamal went from 155 (pounds) to 174 by lifting weights and doing the right thing,” Lippert said. “He’s a little harder to tackle now, perhaps, as a result of that.”

Cariglia, who impressed while splitting carries last year, showcased that newfound strength and physicality in a scrimmage with Lawrence. He carried the ball five times for 51 yards, and also took a screen pass 16 yards for a touchdown during which he broke at least four Bulldog tackles.

Cariglia, however, wasn’t just adding the strength to add yards to his runs. He’ll also be playing linebacker for the Rams this season, and could be a key two-way player.

“You’ll see Jamal get a lot more touches this year,” Lippert said. “Jamal’s the bell cow this year for us. … It’s going to be a lot of contact for him, but he’s ready as he can be.”

 

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Before its opening game on Friday, Gardiner will honor Francis “Sonny” Gamache, who died in March at 85 years old. Gamache was an institution at Gardiner football games, working on the chain gang for every single Tigers contest for 60 years.

Athletic director Nate Stubbert said the details would be worked out this week.

“We have something in the works right now. We have nothing concrete planned, but there will be something for sure during our home opener,” he said. “There will probably be a pre-game ceremony with … some people who are still affiliated with Gardiner football, who knew him well and have fond memories of him.”

Stubbert took over as athletic director in July 2018, and said he quickly got a sense of what Gamache meant to the community.

“I certainly heard stories of him,” he said. “That’s a heck of a commitment to do anything for (60) years, especially as a volunteer and all the service that he did.”

 

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The Mount View football team will find out what it’s made of over the first half of the season against arguably the toughest schedule in the Little Ten Conference.

After opening the season September 7 at home against Houlton, the Mustangs have three consecutive road games: at defending conference champ Foxcroft, at Bucksport, last season’s conference runner-up, and at Mattanawcook, the team which eliminated Mount View in the first round of the playoffs last season.

“I think we’ll know what we are by the second or third week,” Mount View coach Rick Leary said.

Another team with a daunting schedule is Winslow. The Black Raiders open the season at Wells, which rides a 28-game win streak into the season and three straight state titles, the last two in Class D and the 2016 Class C crown. After that, Winslow plays a second straight defending state champion in Nokomis, the reigning Class C champ. All eight of Winslow’s 2019 opponents reached the playoffs in 2018.

(Kennebec Journal sports writer Drew Bonifant contributed to this report.)

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