If there’s a takeaway from Friday’s Big 11 Conference game between Winslow and Maine Central Institute, it’s that the game, a 61-37 Winslow win solidified assumptions that these are the top two teams in Class C North.

Falling just two points shy of 100, this game was the highest-scoring 11-man game in the state thus far this season. Winslow (5-1) pulled away with seven second half touchdowns. Both offenses were sharp throughout the game, combining for 934 yards of total offense (500 for Winslow, 434 for MCI).

Winslow’ Garrett Choate, right, drags down MCI’s Kyle Hall on Friday in Pittsfield. Morning Sentinel by Rich Abrahamson

“This is our biggest competitor, and we brought it to them tonight,” Winslow co-captain Colby Pomeroy said following the game.

The 24-point margin of victory is misleading. This game was much closer for most of the night. The teams traded the lead three times in the third quarter, before the Black Raiders gave themselves a cushion by converting three MCI (4-2) turnovers into touchdowns.

“We’ve got to find a way to do better than that. They’re a good football team. You’re not going to beat them by stopping them for two quarters,” MCI coach Tom Bertrand said.

Both teams know they’ll have to play with more discipline. A stretch late in the second quarter saw each benefit from a 15-yard penalty committed by the other. First, Winslow gained 15 yards on a kick return on an MCI late hit. With the penalty, the Black Raiders’ drive began at the Huskies 35, and Winslow scored in four plays for a 14-13 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, Winslow committed a 15-yard facemask, and combined with a dead ball personal foul after the play, gave the Huskies 30 yards, and their drive began at the Winslow 32. Two plays later, MCI’s Will Russell scored on a 26-yard pass from Ryan Friend for a 19-14 lead.

“Where I am disappointed is our lack of poise and the amount of 15-yard penalties. That kind of scars the win a little bit,” Winslow coach Mike Siviski said.

This is the third season in which Winslow and MCI are conference rivals, and the Black Raiders’ win Friday evens their record against MCI at 2-2.

“MCI, we go after each other pretty good,” Siviski said.

Winslow is home Saturday against Hermon (4-2). MCI host Medomak Valley (2-4) Friday night.

 

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Madison earned its first win Friday night, holding off Waterville, 25-21. It was a step forward offensively for the Bulldogs, who averaged just over 10 points per game in four losses.

Quarterback Bryce Willette threw three touchdown passes in the win, and running back Reid Campbell added a touchdown run.

“(Willette) is feeling a lot more comfortable running out of the shotgun,” Madison coach Paul Withee said. “Friday night we did a nice job blocking and getting him time to throw.”

As receivers like Cameron Cobb and Thomas Dean become more comfortable in the new offense installed by Withee, a veteran coach in his first season at Madison, they’ve begun to show the athleticism Withee expected. The coach pointed to a 40-yard touchdown catch made by Cobb in Friday’s win as an example.

“Cobb uses his athletic ability and big hands to make the catch,” Withee said. “It’s a play he’s shown us many times in practice.”

With two games left in the regular season, Madison knows it is going to the playoffs. Camden Hills is playing down a class and is ineligible for the postseason, and Dirigo folded its team after one game. The offensive improvement is good, Withee said, but now the Bulldogs need to show that same improvement on defense. A late stop Friday against Waterville, when the Panthers had the ball inside Madison’s 40, was a good sign.

“We made a couple big plays. We were more aggressive,” Withee said.

Next up for the Bulldogs is Campbell Conference Class D leader Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale (5-1).

“I think that’s the most talented team in our league this year,” Withee said of the Ramblers.

 

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Skowhegan picked up a needed win Friday, beating Messalonskee 38-8. Now 2-4, Skowhegan sits in seventh place in the Pine Tree Conference Class B, and thanks to a tough schedule over the first half of the season, looks to be in good shape in the playoff hunt.

Junior running back Mason Fitzgerald gained 172 yards from scrimmage Friday (190 rushing, 82 receiving) and scored four touchdowns.

“We need to make sure he’s getting as many touches as he can get,” Skowhegan coach Ryan Libby said.

Skowhegan’s offensive line is getting  boost from the return of Kenoa Bishop, who suffered a broken hand in the season-opener at Brunswick.

Skowhegan plays at Hampden (1-5) Friday.

 

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Around the state: Dexter’s 27-21 overtime win over Foxcroft Academy on Saturday was a milestone victory for the Tigers. It was Dexter’s first win over the Ponies in 31 years… Leavitt’s 22-8 win over Wells snapped the Warriors 33-game win streak. The longest current win streak in the state now belongs to Thornton Academy, at 17 games. The Trojans last lost came to Scarborough in the 2017 regional championship game… This week’s game of the year is in Class B South, Kennebunk (5-1) at Marshwood (5-1). The winner will likely earn the top seed in the upcoming regional playoffs.

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