Six of eight teams will make the playoffs in Class A East football.
For the second consecutive year, that’s the good news for Lewiston after an 0-4 start.
The bad news: Lewiston must face Bangor (4-0) and vastly improved Portland (2-2) before finishing the regular season with rival Edward Little.
That itinerary turns Friday night’s home game against Deering into nothing less than a win-or-else situation for the Blue Devils. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Don Roux Field.
Lewiston entered the season with elevated hopes, fueled by speed to burn at the skill positions and in the secondary.
The Devils were forced back to the drawing board when their most celebrated player on both sides of the ball, quarterback and cornerback Quintarian Brown, went down with an ankle injury on opening night against Oxford Hills. Brown had already returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the game.
Slowly, the Devils have recovered, adopting a power running game behind sophomore quarterback Jared Rubin (19-for-41, 274 yards, three touchdowns). The outside/inside rushing attack of junior tailback Stefan Porter (44 carries, 163 yards on the season) and Stone Colby (42 for 226) had its best performance to date in last week’s 21-20 loss to Biddeford.
“What allowed us to move Q (from tailback, where Brown started since his sophomore year) is that Stefan Porter had such a good summer back there,” Lewiston coach Bill County said. “And what keeps us from getting too spread-happy is that Stone Colby is such a good fullback.”
Ace Curry (12 reeceptions) and Sheon James (nine) give Rubin two explosive threats down the field.
If you enjoy a pass-happy offense, you’ll love Deering (1-3).
The Rams, led by Lewiston graduate Matt Riddell, have aired it out an average of more than 30 times per game this fall.
Max Chabot (51-for-124) leads the league with 777 passing yards and four TDs. If there’s a number that has Curry, James and the Lewiston secondary licking its chops, it’s the conference-most seven intcrceptions thrown by that high-octane unit.
Dom Bernard, Pat Viola and Jacob Coon are three of the top four receivers in the division in terms of yardage. Bernard’s 21 catches top the standings by a bunch.
Colby (39 tackles, good for second in Class A East) and pass rushers Sabin Lavorgna and Kyle Ullrich lead the Lewiston defense at the point of attack.
When Deering does run, Robbie Dacey and Joe Nzeza are the primary threats.
Lewiston dominated the 2013 game in Portland, jumping out to a 29-0 lead before Deering scored two late touchdowns. It was the 100th anniversary of the first gridiron meeting between the two schools.