After giving up 50 points to Brunswick the last time they played, the Lawrence High School football team knows it has to play stronger defense when it meets the Dragons Friday night in the Pine Tree Conference Class B championship game. The same can be said for Maine Central Institute, which gave up 61 points to Winslow last month and has a rematch with the Black Raiders Saturday in the Big 11 Conference title game.

“They haven’t slowed down one bit,” MCI coach Tom Bertrand said of Winslow.

This weekend’s winners earn a spot in the state championship games. Either Winslow or MCI will play in the Class C state championship game will be at the University of Maine’s Alfond Stadium on Friday, Nov. 22. The Brunswick-Lawrence winner will play in the Class B state championship on Saturday, Nov. 23 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

Winslow quarterback Colby Pomeroy fires a pass against MCI defenders in an Oct. 11 game in Pittsfield. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson

Here’s a look at the Class B and C regional championship games, by the numbers.

PTC B

306: That’s the combined rushing yards Brunswick’s Mitch Lienert (172 yards) and Owen Richardson (134 yards) ran for in the Dragons’ 50-21 regular season win over Lawrence. Lienert ran for three touchdowns, Richardson scored once, and Brunswick was in control the entire game.

Richardson and Lienert are as dangerous a running pair as the PTC B has had in some time. Each was named first team all-conference, and Richardson was selected as the PTC B Player of the Year.

“They’re pretty explosive at all positions, even the quarterback (Noah Goodard). What we have learned, playing them many times now at peak times during the season, is that defensively, we’ve got to be as aggressive as they want to be offensively. We’re trying to tweak our style of defense where we can be more aggressive. Try to disrupt the things they are very comfortable doing,” Lawrence coach John Hersom said.

Lawrence can look at recent history as a blueprint. Last season, the Bulldogs surrendered 55 points to the Dragons in a regular season loss. In the conference championship game, Lawrence held Brunswick to 14, albeit in a 14-10 loss.

41.4: That’s Lawrence’s average points per game. Brunswick is the only team to hold the Bulldogs under 25 points this season. If Lawrence is able to slow down Brunswick’s offense, it has to counter with scoring drives of its own.

4: That’s how many conference belts won by Brunswick in the last five seasons. The Dragons have been the PTC B’s top program since the expansion to four classes in 2013. Since that season, Brunswick has played in all but one conference championship game.

Maine Central Institute’s Elijah Bailey, center, carries the ball as quarterback Ryan Friend blocks Wells defender Payton MacKay during a Class C crossover game Oct. 4 at Alumni Field in Pittsfield. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

This is Lawrence’s third straight regional final. The Bulldogs lost to Skowhegan in 2017, and Brunswick last year.

Big 11 Conference

47: That’s how many points Winslow scored in the second half of its 61-37 regular season win at MCI. The Huskies led 19-14 at the half, but Winslow scored on seven consecutive second half drives to pull away. The Black Raiders converted three MCI second half turnovers into points.

“Being able to contain their high-powered offense is going to be a challenge for us. We have to play mistake-free football,” Bertrand said.

2,037: That’s how many yards MCI quarterback Ryan Friend accounted for in the regular season (1,415 passing and 622 rushing). For much of the season, Friend did that without the full compliment of players around him. Running back Cole Steeves, who missed the regular season game against Winslow, is back from a leg injury, and the trio of receivers Dominic Wilson, Nason Berthelette, and Will Russell give Friend reliable targets who know how to get open. Not many teams have the personnel to get into a shootout with the Black Raiders, but if it comes to that, MCI is one of them.

“They come at you in a lot of different ways. Friend is quite a threat running and passing,” Winslow coach Mike Siviski said.

2: That’s how many first downs Winslow allowed to Hermon in last week’s 49-7 semifinal win. That number stands out because it shows an improvement in Winslow’s defense, especially in stopping the run. A few weeks earlier in the regular season, Winslow allowed Hermon to run for 236 yards and pick up 19 first downs. In last week’s rematch, the Hawks gained 120 yards, 56 of those coming on Hermon’s lone touchdown.

“We’re running to the ball really well. A lot of orange helmets to the ball,” Siviski said. “That’s what it will take to bear MCI.”

 

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

 

Comments are not available on this story.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.