The Skowhegan football team won its fourth straight decision with a 27-0 victory over Windham in a Pine Tree Conference Class B quarterfinal game Friday night.

It was also the team’s fifth victory in six games since opening the season with three consecutive losses.

“We played with a lot of emotion. The kids were out to prove they’re the real deal,” Skowhegan coach Ryan Libby said. “The kids just played through the roof.”

Skowhegan defensive back Adam Savage returns an interception against Mt. Blue during a Pine Tree Conference Class B game earlier this season at Clark Field in Skowhegan. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

The win was another step forward for Skowhegan’s young defense. The shutout was Skowhegan’s second of the season. Over the last six quarters, including the second half of the regular season finale against Mt. Blue, Skowhegan has allowed just six points.

Skowhegan opened the season with three consecutive losses, to Brunswick, Cony and Lawrence, the eventual top three seeds in the conference playoffs. Since that rough September, Skowhegan’s young defense has shown steady improvement. In the 51-34 win over Mt. Blue, Skowhegan forced four turnovers. It forced two more at Windham.

Four freshmen start on defense for Skowhegan, a rarity in Class B: free safety Adam Savage, linebacker Joe Linkletter, corner Quintcey McCray, and defensive tackle Kaden Salley.

“Starting four freshmen is really something unprecedented for this program,” Libby said. “They’ve played enough now so they aren’t really freshmen anymore. They’re a very athletic group of kids.”

No. 5 Skowhegan (5-4) will play No. 1 Brunswick (9-0) in the semifinals. Brunswick beat Skowhegan, 48-7, in the season opener.

 

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After earning the top seed in the Campbell Conference Class D playoffs with a 7-1 regular season, Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale had a bye week in which to work on some things it saw while self-scouting.

“We saw some issues that were exposed (in week eight) vs Spruce (Mountain). We’ve  gone and tweaked a couple things. We’re making sure we’re crisp. Getting our reps offesnively, defensively,” coach Dave St. Hiliare said last week, as the Ramblers waited to see who their semifinal opponent will be.

Last week’s rainy weather caused St. Hilaire to adjust his team’s practice schedule.

“We had a Plan A set up, then the weather kind of threw a wrench into it. The first two days we were outside and we worked offensively and defensively. (Thursday) we decided, ‘hey, let’s go into the gym,” St. Hilaire said. “We’re not going to get much out of a practice outside. We did an hours worth of work. We did a 20-minute session of weight room, and two 20-minute session of (plyometrics). We called it, this is our game for the week. We tried to stay in shape, really.”

The Ramblers opponent will be a familiar one, Spruce Mountain. The Phoenix defeated Mountain Valley, 37-12, in the quarters. This will be the fourth game between Spruce Mountain and Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale in two seasons. These teams met twice last season, with Spruce Mountain taking a regular season win and the Ramblers winning the playoff rematch.

Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale closed the regular season two weeks ago with a 34-12 win over Spruce Mountain.

 

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Maine Central Institute got a boost with the recent return of junior running back Cole Steeves from a knee injury. Steeves averaged 6.3 yards per carry and ran for 367 yards and five touchdowns before missing most of the second half of the regular season.

“(Steeves) adds an element to our offense. To have another threat is big,” MCI coach Tom Bertrand said. “He’s one of our captains, and he’s one of our captains for a reason.”

MCI’s Big 11 Conference semifinal opponent is an unfamiliar one. The Huskies (7-2) will face No. 3 John Bapst (7-2). Despite playing in the same conference the last few seasons, MCI hasn’t played John Bapst since the 2014 regular season, when both competed in the Class D Little Ten Conference.

Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Beau Schmelzer runs along the sideline as Spruce Mountain’s Jacob Pike dives for his legs during a game earlier this season Winthrop. The two teams will meet again in a D South semifinal Friday night. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn Buy this Photo

 

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Around the state: Brunswick’s 47-0 win over Brewer Friday was the 100th of coach Dan Cooper’s career… John Bapst beat Oceanside in the Class C North quarterfinals, and it was the Crusaders first playoff win since 2014… Statewide, six lower seeds won in the opening round of the playoffs.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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