September 30, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Playoff position at stake in Eastern C

By Travis Lazarczyk tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

We've reached the regular-season midpoint and there are 12 undefeated high school football teams in the state. Three of them -- Waterville, Winslow and Foxcroft Academy -- play in Eastern Class C. Over the next four weeks, those three teams will play a round robin against each other that will determine the top seeds in the regional playoffs.

WEEKLY HONOR ROLL

• Maine Central Institute’s Jonathan Santiago ran for 143 yards and three touchdowns, and also had a 78-yard kick return for a score in a 67-18 win over Mt. View.
• MCI’s Greg Vigue threw three touchdown passes in a 67-18 win over Mt. View.
• MCI’s Eric Hathaway had a pair of sacks, recovered a fumble, and scored a touchdown, in a 67-18 win over Mt. View
• Dylan Hapworth of Winslow ran for two touchdowns, and returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown, in a 21-0 win at Nokomis.
• Messalonskee quarterback Jake Dexter threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for two more scores in a 48-0 win at Brewer.
• Adam Clukey of Skowhegan threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns in a 47-26 loss at Brunswick.
• Waterville’s Dan Pooler ran for five touchdowns and 130 yards in a 53-0 win over Hermon.

It starts Friday night when Waterville plays at Foxcroft. On Oct. 19, Foxcroft travels to Winslow. On Oct. 26, Winslow goes across the Kennebec River to face rival Waterville in the regular-season finale.

Of the three undefeated teams in Eastern Class C, only Winslow has faced an opponent with a winning record. The Black Raiders won that game against Mt. Desert Island, 49-18.

Only Foxcroft has played a game decided by less than 10 points. The Ponies came from behind to defeat Belfast 28-27 in Week 3.

Waterville has had the easiest road. The Purple Panthers' four opponents so far are a combined 4-12, and Waterville scored at least 53 points in each game. The Panthers average margin of victory is just over 48 points.

* * *

Maine Central Institute was dominant in the first half of the season, but if the Huskies want to make a deep run in the playoffs, they'll need to commit fewer penalties.

In Friday's 67-18 win over Mt. View, the Huskies committed nine penalties for 82 yards. Three of MCI's penalties were of the 15-yard variety. There was a pass interference early in the third quarter, and back-to-back personal fouls late in the second quarter on late hits. Those 30 free yards helped Mt. View move into scoring position, and the Mustangs capped the drive with a touchdown.

"We paid for them. Every drive they had where we had a couple penalties, they scored. We absolutely have to clean those up, especially the personal fouls," MCI coach Tom Bertrand said.

The 4-0 Huskies travel to Bangor on Saturday to play John Bapst (1-3). Bertrand expects his team to play more disciplined football.

"Some of those things come from playing real hard, and some of those things are just not mental toughness, and we've got to clean that up," Bertrand said.

* * *

Halfway through his first season as head coach at Nokomis, Matt O'Connell likes the progress the Warriors are making.

"We're getting better every week," O'Connell said.

Nokomis is 1-3, but aside from a Week 2 loss to Waterville, the Warriors have been competitive in each game. On Saturday, Nokomis held undefeated Winslow scoreless in the first half before falling, 21-0.

"This was a good Winslow team we just played (Saturday), and we had some opportunities to make some things happen and have the game go in our favor, but we didn't. We'll learn from them and get ready for next week," O'Connell said.

Nokomis travels to Mt. Desert Island to take on the Trojans on Friday.

* * *

First-year Kents Hill coach Steve Shukie acted on instinct and decided to switch Oakland's Tom Dugal from defensive end to middle linebacker last weekend against the Dexter School.

The move paid off as Dugal recorded six tackles in a 34-14 loss.

"He'll probably stay there the rest of the season," Shukie said. "He had a nice game."

Dugal, who transferred this fall to Kents Hill from Messalonskee with his brother Mike and cousin Chandler, also started at tight end and caught two passes for 75 yards.

"He had a pretty good game," Shukie said. "He's an important player for us."

Mike and Chandler Dugal are also seeing significant playing time for the Huskies (0-3), as a long snapper and lineman.

Starting tight end Nelkas Kwemo, who is out with a leg injury, could return as early as this week, but Shukie said Tom Dugal has earned more playing time.

"We'll probably go with some two tight end sets when Kwemo returns," Shukie said. "We want our best players on the field."

Kents Hill hosts Portsmouth Abbey on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

* * *

Around the state: Leavitt looks as if it will pull away from the rest of the Western Class C field. The Hornets outscored their last two opponents, Gray-New Gloucester and Poland, 114-0. Leavitt is the lone unbeaten team in its region... Defending Class A champion Thornton Academy has won three in a row after an opening week loss to South Portland... Each game Poland has played this season has been a shutout. The Knights beat Lake Region, 6-0, in Week 1, and have been blanked the last three weeks by Cape Elizabeth, Freeport and Leavitt. Poland hosts Spruce Mountain this week.

Bill Stewart contributed to this report.

Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242

tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com

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