Game of the Week: Vikings, Red Eddies hope to sort out muddled A North

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Edward Little’s Caden Begos attempts to get around the the edge as he’s pursued by Oxford Hills’ Dylan Cobbett, Parker LaFrance and Tasker Winslow during their Class A quarterfinal game in Paris on Friday.

The last time Oxford Hills and Edward Little met on a football field, both teams pulled out all of the stops. They had no choice.

The Vikings won the Class A North quarterfinal, 26-20, in overtime to extend their season and end the Red Eddies’. For the winning touchdown, they threw their first and, as it turned out, only touchdown pass of the entire season, an eight-yard pass from Connor Truman to Ethan Bourgoin.

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Both coaching staffs may be contemplating whether they can afford to hold anything back for Friday night’s rematch at Walton Field. Oxford Hills and Edward Little are nearly halfway through what is clearly the most competitive season since the Portland-area teams joined the region in 2013. 

The Red Eddies (3-0) are the only unbeaten team in A North, but are currently looking up at Lewiston and Windham in the Heal point standings. The Vikings (2-1) are ranked fourth. The weight of the Heals won’t be fully realized until the final game is played, but both teams know the value of a victory on Friday night will likely increase significantly as the season unfolds.

After being shut out by Lewiston in Week 2, Oxford Hills’ offense got back on track in last weeks’ 47-7 win at Bangor. Running back Dawson Stevens has run for 427 yards and four touchdowns and is always a threat to break a big run. Quarterback Colton Carson threw his first two touchdown passes of the season last week and has two downfield threats in Cam Slicer and Chris St. Pierre.

Edward Little’s offense, which leads the conference with 94 points scored, made up for early turnovers with several big plays in last week’s 26-20 come-from-behind win at Cheverus. Quarterback Grant Hartley  has thrown for 322 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions on the season. His top target is wide receiver Maxx Bell, who also threw a touchdown pass last week.

Hartley is also a physical runner in goal-line and short-yardage situations, but the Red Eddies’ top ground threat is Caden Begos, who has seven rushing touchdowns.

Many of those names were central to two high-scoring games last year (EL won the regular-season matchup at Gouin Athletic Complex, 32-28, on a last-second touchdown pass by Hartley to CJ Jipson). But Oxford Hills (31 points) and Edward Little (36 points) are No. 1 and 2 in fewest points allowed. Both defenses are led by their linebackers — Jordan Silver, Parker LaFrance and Jason Paradis for the Vikings, Bell, Terrell Thomas and Justin Theriault for the Red Eddies.

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