Winslow running back Matt Quirion dives over the goal line for the touchdown during a Sept. 19 football game in Winslow. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

They play in separate regions of Class C, against a different slate of opponents, and are separated by over 100 miles. But when it comes to the Winslow and Wells football teams, the coaches said, there’s a rivalry there.

“It dates back to ’92-93, when they played each other in back-to-back state championships,” Winslow co-coach Pete Bolduc said. “And from there, the rivalry has grown. We opened our 2019 season down there, and boy, they came out to play.”

In the years since those back-to-back Class B title games, both teams have done their share of winning. Wells has won two state championships in Class B, one in C, and two most recently in D. Winslow has made eight championship games, four apiece in B and C, winning two in each.

“I said to the kids on Monday … Winslow-Wells, there’s some tradition to it, which is weird being a northern team, so to speak,” Wells coach Tim Roche said. “It’s always physical. It might not be the display of offensive talent that we see across the state maybe, but it’s always a physical battle between the two teams.”

They meet Saturday in the middle of the playoff race again. Winslow, at 2-1, is second in Class C North and gaining steam after an opening week loss to York. Wells is 2-2, having rebounded from a blowout loss to Leavitt by holding off Fryeburg 11-8.

“They do what they do, we do what we do, so it’s a great test to see where you are in your season,” Roche said. “It’s good to see there’s still some of that old-fashioned type of football around. We don’t see it much every week.”


Here’s a closer look at the Wells-Winslow matchup:

When:1 p.m., Saturday

Where: Poulin Field, Winslow.

Wells coach Tim Roche on Winslow: “I like their line, but I’ve always liked their line. … What I see so far isn’t exactly what coach (Mike) Siviski ran, but they’ve got some double wing, they’ve got some power I, some of the stuff that he’s done, and then they’ve integrated their own stuff. They’re definitely run heavy, but they’re physical and they’ve got good size to them. I like what they’re doing.”

Winslow co-coach Pete Bolduc on Wells: “Coach Roche has been there for 30 years, the guy knows the Wing T better than anybody. He’s going to have that team well-prepared and ready to play us defensively as well. It’ll be a real challenge.”

Winslow co-coach Wes Littlefield on Wells: “His coaching shows up in his players’ technique and shows up in his playcalling. We respect him tremendously and that program. … We know we’re going to be in the air for a dogfight.”


Three keys for Wells

Don’t overcommit. Winslow’s double wing offense leads to some great opportunities for misdirection, and it can be hard to figure out where exactly the ball is going. In addition to being able to get off blocks, the Warriors will need to have the awareness to recognize where the play is going, instead of overselling and falling for the fake.

“Your defensive line has to get a little bit of penetration,” Roche said, “and then what you have to do is play disciplined football. You have to read what’s going on. The minute you start becoming undisciplined and stop taking care of your own square, the double wing works.”

Wells running back Colby Bolduc looks for an opening against Leavitt during a Sept. 17 game in Wells. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald

No missed tackles. The Black Raiders have a pair of hard-charging running backs in Evan Bourget and Matt Quirion, and they have a strong offensive line ahead of them. When Warrior defenders do find a hole and get a chance for a tackle for a loss or no gain, they can’t let those slip away and watch second- or third-and-long become first downs.

Handle the environment. The Black Raiders love to play on their home field, and the setting at Poulin is more confined and intimate than what many fields offer. Winslow always plays well there, so Wells will need to get comfortable quickly and not be forced into playing catchup.

Three keys for Winslow

Lock up the ground game. Wells does not want this to become a game in which it needs to throw to move the ball. So the Black Raiders need to zero in on the Warriors’ trio of Colby Bolduc, Brayden Fazzina and Brady Fox and limit what they can do on the ground.

Ball security. In Winslow’s most recent game, a 44-8 win over MCI, the Black Raiders rolled down the field on their opening drive for a touchdown and were in position to do so again on their second, but fumbled on the MCI 9-yard line. Mistakes like that that take points off the board didn’t hurt Winslow then, but could flip the game against the Warriors.

Sprinkle in some throws. Winslow quarterback Jared Newgard completed all four pass attempts against MCI, and all four went for first downs or touchdowns. Wells will likely be keying its defense on halting the ground attack, so there should be receivers open for big gains, and just connecting on a few of those will force the Warriors on their heels a little bit.

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