Lisbon is scheduled to play its last home game Friday night against Poland. If the Greyhounds win, and things play out in their favor this Friday and next, then they’ll earn another game at the friendly confines of Thompson Field come playoff time.

The visiting Knights, meanwhile, have their last scheduled home game next Friday, but a win over Lisbon and favorable results for Poland to end the regular season, and the Knights could be hosting a first-round playoff matchup in Class D.

In conclusion, there’s a lot on the line in Friday’s Week 8 Class D matchup between the two teams.

“Well, you know, I think it’s important for our seniors to have a home (playoff) game,” Lisbon coach Chris Kates said. “And that’s why this game is so important. Because I think whoever wins on Friday probably has an inside track to getting a home playoff game, whether it’s us or Poland. Our seniors are really excited about the opportunity to try and earn one.”

Both teams enter the contest with 3-3 records and have the bye week behind each of them. Neither have tasted victory in a few weeks.

The Greyhounds saw their three-game win streak snapped two weeks ago at home against Class C York, then had a bye week to stew on that defeat. The Knights last won in Week 4 against Class C Belfast to improve to 3-1, but then lost two straight after a bye in Week 5.


One problem that has ailed the Knights is the injury bug.

“Three of these (injured) players are key personnel in high profile positions on both offense and defense,” Poland coach Gus LeBlanc said.

Poland Regional High School coach Gus LeBlanc talks with his quarterback Lagan O’Driscoll during the fourth quarter of a Sept. 10 game against Oak Hill High School in Wales. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

LeBlanc didn’t name names for privacy purposes, but did mention that the Knights have played games this season without their starting and backup quarterbacks and centers, to go along with injuries at other positions.

“Due to the loss to injury of some key personnel … our offense has struggled the last two games,” LeBlanc said. “We are working hard to improve our offensive performance with replacement players.”

The Knights have scored just three points total the past two games.

They’ll look for some help from a defense that allowed just seven combined points during a three-game win streak in September.


“Our defense has been quite successful,” LeBlanc said. “Most of the points we have given up have been due to offensive mistakes and turnovers.”

That defense will have to stop a Lisbon offense that hasn’t been shut out, scoring at least two touchdowns in each of its last four games, and that loves to pound the ball with the running game.

LeBlanc highlighted Lisbon running back Colby Levasseur, and the Greyhounds also have Jimmy Fitzsimmons as a dual-threat quarterback. Lisbon coach Chris Kates will also spread the ball around to other skill position players, and LeBlanc noted that the Greyhounds can also be lethal taking the ball out wide when the attention is focused on the power run game between the tackles.

Lisbon’s Jimmy Fitzsimmons sheds a tackle by Fryeburg Academy’s Michael Malia during the first half of a Sept. 9 game in Lisbon. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“For us, we’ve been a little more run-heavy this year, but it is very important for us to establish the passing game early to at least give that threat to empty the box a little bit,” Kates said.

LeBlanc said the Knights’ defensive front of defensive ends Nick Aube and Liam Fifield and nose tackles Mike Phillips and Nate Baez will be key in countering the Greyhounds’ running attack.

Dylan Cook is being tasked with running the Knights’ offense, with a trio of running backs in Shane Yorkie, Isaac Ramsdell and Brady Martin all carrying the ball.

“I think they have a very good team speed. They run well with the ball,” Kates said. “Offensively, when they get the ball in space, they have some athletes. So they present some challenges with their speed.”

LeBlanc knows the Knights will be in for a dogfight.

“Lisbon has a well-deserved reputation for playing hard-nosed football,” he said. “Their program has a history of many successes. They are very deliberate, feature players who are physical. They play to win.”

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