By Travis Lazarczyk
Eastern Class B has been getting a lot of recognition as a tough league in the state's new four class format for high school football, and deservedly so. But don't overlook Eastern Class C, which has the potential to be a very competitive league.
"You have two teams that played each other for the state championship last season," Nokomis head coach Matt O'Connell said.
O'Connell referred to Foxcroft Academy and Winslow, who met in the Class C championship game last season. Both are in the new Eastern C, along with three teams that made the Eastern Class B playoffs last season playing in the Pine Tree Conference Class B.
Waterville reached the regional championship game, while Belfast upset three-time defending conference champion Leavitt in the quarterfinals. Mt. Desert Island nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the playoffs, falling to eventual undefeated state champ Mt. Blue 14-13 in the regional quarterfinals.
"There's a little bit of the old, a little bit of new," Madison head coach Scott Franzose said. "There's a lot of parity, a lot of balance there this year."
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Last season, Mt. Blue's offensive experience was in the backfield, where quarterback Jordan Whitney and fullback Chad Luker turned in dominant seasons. This season, the Cougars power is on the offensive line, where three all-conference players return.
"Our line is more experienced this year," Mt. Blue head coach Gary Parlin said.
Guards Connor Farrington and Tyler Sennick, and tackle Colin Richards, each earned all-PTC B honors last season. The group will be blocking for a new quarterback, where seniors Andrew Pratt and Cam Abbott are battling for the position. Moving from the slot receiver to running back is senior Kindle Bonsall.
The Cougars take on Leavitt, which now plays in Western Class C, in an exhibition game tonight. Parlin expects the Hornets to be a tough test.
"It'll be interesting to see how we run the ball against Leavitt," Parlin said.
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With the graduation of three-year starter Spencer Carey, Lawrence has a battle for the quarterback position going on this preseason. Senior Jim Leathers and junior Cody Martin are the candidates to replace Carey, who has moved on to the University of Maine, where he's a freshman defensive back.
Both Leathers and Martin took reps with the starting offense in Monday's controlled scrimmage against Lewiston.
"We feel they both have some strengths. They both have assets," Lawrence head coach John Hersom said.
Whomever wins the job will be taking snaps from veteran center Kyle McLain. An all-conference player last season as a junior, McLain is the leader of Lawrence's offensive line.
"We're fortunate to have a veteran like Kyle right in the middle of our line," Hersom said.
Tonight, Lawrence and Bangor play an exhibition game at Husson University. Now in different leagues, the game is a chance for the two dominant programs in recent PTC A history to keep a rivalry going. The Bulldogs and Rams met in the conference championship game three time between 2006 and 2011, with Lawrence winning each time.
Either Lawrence (2006, 2007, 2011, 2012) or Bangor (2009, 2010) has won the PTC A in six of the last seven years.
Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242
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