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Wednesday, September 14, 2011
New England Roundup: Maine

By Gary Hawkins

The first two weeks of the Maine high school football season produced a number of surprises.

MaineHere’s a rundown of some of the highlights in each of the three classes:

Class A
Cheverus keeps rolling along despite the loss of several players from last year’s state championship team. Senior Cam Olson stepped in at quarterback after playing behind Fitzpatrick Trophy winner Peter Gwilym for two years and last week threw three touchdown passes. Spencer Cooke, who scored four TDs in the state game last fall, has emerged as one of the state’s top running backs. The Stags are 2-0 and have outscored opponents 94-21.

Lawrence keeps rolling along in Class A’s Pine Tree Conference. The Bulldogs traveled to Bangor and knocked off the Rams 32-25 last Saturday night to go to 2-0. Shaun Carroll led the way with 224 rushing yards and four touchdowns, Lawrence has won its last 11 regular season games, dating back to a 2009 loss to Bangor. Prior to that, the Bulldogs had won 36 regular season games in a row. They are 8-1 against Bangor since 2005.

Many high school handicappers picked Bonny Eagle and Windham among the teams to beat in North Division of the Southern Maine Activities Association (SMAA), but both teams are winless after two weeks. Windham fell 28-20 to a strong Deering team last week while Bonny Eagle fell, 31-28, to upstart Massabesic. Lewiston, one of the PTC favorites, dropped to 1-1, losing 48-27 to Messalonskee, another team that has emerged as a contender. Along with Massabesic, Sanford is the surprise of the SMAA South. Last week, the Redskins knocked off a good Scarborough team 23-12 for one of its biggest wins in years.

Class B
This class is the most competitive in the state at least at the top where four teams in each of the two divisions are unbeaten. Included in those ranks are the two teams who met in the state final last fall, Mountain Valley and Leavitt. Mountain Valley has outscored opponents 81-23 so far while Leavitt, led by quarterback and linebacker Jordan Hersom, holds an 83-12 advantage over opponents.

Mt. Blue may be the most dangerous contender in the class. The Cougars dropped down from several years in Class A this season and in two games have outscored the opposition 87-6. Falmouth, Wells and Fryeburg are also 2-0 as are Waterville and Gardiner. The latter two teams meet Friday night in Gardiner. Waterville must find a way to stop running back Alonzo Connor who is looking to eclipse his total of 31 touchdowns form last year. In two games so far, Connor has scored 10 touchdowns.

Falmouth, which has outscored opponents 98-7 plays this week against Marshwood.

Class C
Foxcroft Academy and Yarmouth are the talk of Class C so far. They play in different divisions and don’t meet in the regular season, but could well square off for a state championship in November. Yarmouth is the defending state champ and so far the Clippers have scored 92 points and allowed seven. Foxcroft has been equally impressive outscoring opponents 108-8. There are contenders in each division. Bucksport, Orono and John Bapst are all 2-0 in the Little Ten Conference headed by Foxcroft while Freeport and Lisbon are unbeaten the Campbell Conference South along with Yarmouth.

Maranacook and Winslow are 2-0 in the Campbell’s North division and play this week in Winslow. The Black Raiders dropped down to Class C this season and are cruising so far, but they’ll face a big test in Maranacook and 6-foot-4, 210-pound running back Luke Emery. Lisbon hires female coach
After long-time assistant Randy Ridley resigned after last season, Lisbon’s search for a new assistant as well as a freshman coach led it to 24-year-old Kelsey Rush, who played the game for four years at Brunswick High School.

Rush graduated form the University of Maine with degrees in physics and secondary education and joined the Lisbon staff in July. She teaches ninth grade science and has some of the students on the gridiron.

Although it’s unusual for a female to coach a boys' high school team, Rebecca Fletcher did it last year at Dirigo, leading the boys' basketball team to a regional title.

Football Top 10
1. Cheverus
2. Lawrence
3. Messalonskee
4. Deering
5. Sanford
6. Mt. Blue
7. Leavitt
8. Massabesic
9. Mountain Valley
10. Falmouth

Week 2 Honor Roll
Mr. 500
Ellsworth boys' soccer coach Brian Higgins is closing in on 500 career victories. Higgins, who began coaching the Eagles in 1974, has a career record of 485-95-47. The team is 3-0-0 so far this fall. His teams have won six Eastern Maine Class B titles, including last season .

Calvary Chapel of Orrington has suspended its season just a year after going 16-0 in Class D. The team only had 10 players try out for the team and decided to forego the season. Had it started the season and then folded, it would have had to wait two years before fielding another team, according to Maine Principals’ Association rules.

Boys' soccer Top 10
1. Bangor
2. Scarborough
3. Camden Hills
4. Cape Elizabeth
5. York
6. Mt. Ararat
7. Gorham
8. Falmouth
9. Ellsworth
10. Mt. View

Girls' Top 10
1. Bangor
2. Brunswick
3. Greely
4. Gorham
5. Cape Elizabeth
6. Scarborough
7. Falmouth
8. Morse
9. Caribou
10. Sanford

Cross-country Top 10 Maine coaches' poll
Boys

1. Scarborough
2. Falmouth
3. North Yarmouth
4. Greely
5. South Portland
6. Caribou
7. Freeport
8. Bangor
9. Cape Elizabeth
10. York

Girls
1. Cheverus
2. Mt. Desert
3. Massabesic
4. Cape Elizabeth
5. Camden Hills
6. John Bapst
7. Mt. Ararat
8. Windham
9. Mt. Blue
10. Brunswick