The Lawrence football team stands in the last rays of sunshine during the National Anthem prior to the Sept. 3 game against Mt. Blue in Fairfield. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

The Lawrence and Skowhegan couldn’t be coming into their Week 2 matchup from more opposite directions.

For the Bulldogs, 56-3 winners over Mt. Blue, Week 1 was the type of game that bolsters confidence and players and coaches can only hope to repeat. For the River Hawks, on the wrong end of a last-second 36-35 loss to Cony, Week 1 was the type of game the players tried to get over the moment they got on the bus.

“We’ve got to try to turn the page, and sort of get over some of the early-season mistakes and jitters and get over that hump a little bit,” Skowhegan coach Ryan Libby said. “The other side of that coin is it’s a very tough opponent to do that with, with Lawrence looking like they’re in midseason form.”

In normal years, which saw B North award six playoff spots and two byes, falling to 0-2 would be a deep hole out of which to climb. This year, however, eight of the nine teams make the postseason, so the pressure is lessened.

Still, Libby said, the team is going to be hungry for a victory Friday night.

Skowhegan’s Adam Savage (10) is congratulated by teammates Tyler Longley, left, and Quintcey McCray after scoring a touchdown during a football game last Saturday against Cony at Messalonskee High School in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“Absolutely, we want a win,” he said. “We need a mark in the win column, I think would be the best thing for us. … We’ve got to get into that frame of mind.”

Lawrence coach John Hersom said he’s expecting the intensity to be where it’s always been for these long-standing rivals.

“We can depend on our kids always being ready to play Skowhegan,” he said. “We don’t need to remind them, we don’t need to continue to harp on that. We just realize that our kids will always be ready to play them. It’s a long history. It goes way back.”

Here’s a closer look at the Lawrence-Skowhegan matchup:

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Where: Reginald Clark Memorial Field, Skowhegan

Lawrence coach Hersom on Skowhegan: “They are, offensively, pretty diverse with their quarterback being in shotgun 100 percent of the time. They run the ball effectively from that position, but they also have athletes on the outside and they do a good job of spreading the ball around to get to them. It’s going to be much more challenging, I think, than our Week 1 game, where they are executing with the run game (and) executing with the pass game.”

Skowhegan coach Libby on Lawrence: “They have multiple running backs in the quarterback and fullback, any one of those guys carrying the ball is going to be dangerous. And they have a very good-looking offensive line. They’re large and physical, and they get off the ball quite well.”

Three keys for Lawrence:

Be ready in coverage. Skowhegan will be without primary Week 1 ballcarrier Dennis Neal and top receiver Marcus Hampton is a game-time decision, so the River Hawks could really try to spread the ball and get Quintcey McCray, Tyler Annis, Tate Jewell and Trevar Pease involved. Lawrence will have to be ready to account for multiple options, whether that means playing zone or holding firm in man coverage.

Don’t lose focus. The Bulldogs were euphoric after their Week 1 win, and for good reason: Lawrence looked every bit like a juggernaut. But confidence can lead to cockiness, and if the Bulldogs aren’t focused and fall behind early, they could be in trouble. Hersom’s team will need to be locked in and ready to deliver another strong showing to beat a good River Hawks team.

Handle the road. The Bulldogs fed off their home crowd at Keyes Field last week, and they can bet the Skowhegan fans will be ready to enthusiastically cheer on their team. It’ll be a different environment, one the Bulldogs haven’t seen yet.

Lawrence running back Parker Higgins (32) looks for an opening to run through as Mt. Blue defender Tyler Blauvelt pursues during a Pine Tree Conference Class B game Friday night at Keyes Field in Fairfield. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“We’ve got to be comfortable playing on the road,” Hersom said. “Early in the season, that can be a little challenging, especially when it’s a rival opponent. Might as well say it that way.”

Three keys for Skowhegan:

Contain the run. This is the game. Lawrence ran at will in its opener, with a strong line paving the way and giving a talented stable of ballcarriers all the room and running lanes they could ask for. Skowhegan will have to measure up and hold its own against the Lawrence push, and prevent the Bulldogs’ sweeps from getting around the outside.

“We need to contain the run for sure,” Libby said. “We absolutely need to play better pass defense than we played last week, but if we can’t stop Lawrence’s run, then things will get out of hand fast.”

Next man up. The River Hawks are banged up, with starting middle linebacker Joe Linkletter out in addition to Neal and, possibly, Hampton. The Linkletter loss hurts, as the junior is the team’s leader at middle linebacker. It’ll fall to Hunter McEwen to take over and keep the River Hawks organized against the aforementioned Lawrence ground game.

Watch out for Cade Scott. The speedy senior was a special teams maven in Week 1, returning a punt 62 yards for a touchdown and then a kickoff 69 yards. Special teams can make the difference in a game like this, and the River Hawks will need to make sure Scott isn’t getting many returns with openings and room to run in front of him.

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