Lee: So, is this the Leavitt football program I’ve heard all about? Or is this something more?
The Hornets’ season actually got off to a slow start against York. They were trailing by double digits in the game, then, BAM, they reeled off 41 straight to beat the Wildcats, 55-34.
Then, last week, Leavitt scored a TD on every play — literally every play — in the first quarter to take a 39-0 lead before the break. The Hornets might have shown mercy by only winning 73-0.
Is it going to be that kind of season in Turner this season?
Randy: Well, if this season were a game of Madden, the difficulty setting for the Hornets would be on the verge of switching from rookie to pro, and it may go All-Madden pretty soon. The points will certainly harder to come by starting this week against a Gardiner team that only gave up 21 points to a very good Cape Elizabeth team last week. Then it’s a road trip to Fryeburg against a team that will soon be on everyone’s radar as one of the contenders in C South. Games with Cape and MDI are also on the horizon.
But anyone who watched the Hornets’ growth through last year’s uncharacteristic 2-7 rebuild probably anticipated they would rebound pretty quickly. They played two of the better teams in B South, Westbrook and Falmouth, tough during the regular season, then lost to the top seed and eventual regional champions, Kennebunk, by two points. The talent was clearly there. They just needed to pay some dues.
Having QB Tim Albert taking the starters’ reps in practice after splitting them last year has obviously not only helped him but the entire offense, just in terms of continuity alone. And the offensive line is starting to look like the dominant lines of past state championship teams led by the likes of Matt Pellerin and Mitch Cobb.
It’s virtually impossible for the offense to keep up the pace its had over the last six quarter. I’m almost more interested to see if the defense stacks up to the unheralded defenses that were vital to those teams, too. They’ve been pretty impressive against the run, first against York and obviously last week.
I’ll be at Libby Field Saturday night for the Gardiner game and I’m hoping for, and expecting, a fairly tight contest. The Tigers have a lot of great athletes on their side, too. And Libby Field is always a great atmosphere, especially at homecoming. What’s the best football atmosphere you’ve experienced so far here in our humble state? And does it compare to out west?
Lee: I’d say that overall it’s a little better here, but it’s not exactly a fair comparison because the towns were smaller on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.
Also, I haven’t experienced a game at every high school here, yet. But my corner of Washington didn’t have anything quite like Oxford Hills has at Gouin Athletic Complex or the hillside at Winthrop Middle School. I’m hoping I’ll get to take in Mt. Blue and Mountain Valley homes games some time because of all the good things I’ve heard.
I also enjoyed the Saturday afternoon atmosphere at Oak Hill (plus the concessions stand there that has the best chicken tenders, in my opinion).
Speaking of the Raiders, they might be off to an even more surprising start than Leavitt, with a pair of fairly dominating wins. But that hasn’t earned them many Heal points — is too soon to analyze Heals — as they currently sit eighth in the 10-team Class D South.
Of course, this isn’t the same D South, or the same Class D, that Oak Hill dominated from 2013-15. The additions of Wells and Madison seem to have — how should I say this — ruined everything, sending the traditional D South powers to a distant second tier of the division.
Randy: It is a much different division than the one the Raiders dominated. We’ll have a better idea of who the true front-runner is when Madison and Wells duke it out in a couple of weeks but I’m not ready to write off Lisbon yet. As the Heals show, the Greyhounds and Raiders have yet to face the iron of their respective schedules yet. But you can only play who is on the schedule, and so far, they’ve more than taken care of business.
Also, you might not want to order anything when you’re in, say, Lisbon or Winthrop for a while. They don’t take kindly to you pumping up a rival’s tenders.