Teagan Mattson of Lisbon, front, deflects a ball away from a Leavitt receiver during a 7-on-7 flag football game Thursday at Lisbon High School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

LISBON — After winning a state championship last season, the Lisbon football team had high expectations of a repeat before the coronavirus pandemic brought an end to tackle football this fall.

In its place came flag football, or 7-on-7. And while football isn’t the same as years past, it did present unique opportunities with regionalized scheduling.

Thursday afternoon, the Greyhounds hosted another defending state champ, the Leavitt Hornets of Class C.

It marked the second time in seven days the teams got together for a flag football game. 

“One unique thing about this year is getting to play teams we don’t normally see,” said Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway, whose team won 30-6.

After navigating through last year’s regular season to finish second in Class D South, the Greyhounds ran the table in the postseason, which culminated with a 28-8 victory over Bucksport in the Class D state title game at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland. 

It was Lisbon’s first state title since 2006, and came in just the third year under head coach Chris Kates, who took over in 2017.

Adam Gosselin of Lisbon, right, catches a pass in front of Hunter Hayes of Leavitt during a 7-on-7 flag football game Thursday at Lisbon High School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

This year has clearly been different and challenging for all football programs across the state.

“It definitely is weird, but we still go out there with the same mentality,” Lisbon sophomore quarterback Canaan Cameron said.

Added Kates: “I wouldn’t say we have fully adjusted to this year, but we’re all just happy to be out here playing. It still feels funny to be playing 7-on-7 in October.”

Kates enjoys facing some different competition this season.

“It’s always good to play against a competitive team that’s a class up from us and see how you stack up against different teams,” Kates said. 

Before the game, Lisbon honored its seniors with a small ceremony on the field. It was the first group of seniors whom Kates coached all four years.

“It was better than not having anything, and it felt good to have my hard work pay off,” said Lisbon senior Adrian Blake, who had two interceptions in the game.

Leavitt pushed the ball down the field consistently in the first half, resulting in four first-half touchdown passes from senior quarterback Wyatt Hathaway.

The score was 30-0 at halftime, but Lisbon didn’t even think about the scoreboard.

Lisbon had a different tone on defense in the second half.

“We focused up more and played as a team,” Blake said.

Lisbon’s lone touchdown came in the fourth quarter, when backup quarterback Jimmy Fitzsimmons found junior receiver Nick Blair with just over nine minutes remaining in the game.

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