Week 6 in Maine high school football was a wild one, with three teams falling from the undefeated ranks.
Another team’s pursuit of perfection is guaranteed to end Friday night after Lisbon (5-0) and Dirigo (5-0) clash at Harlow Park in Dixfield.
Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield is the only other Class D team in the state with a zero in the loss column.
The Greyhounds and Cougars each flaunt a powerful running game and a passing attack that has successfully picked its spots. On defense, Lisbon tends to get after opposing quarterbacks with its pass rush, while Dirigo has inflicted heavy damage with an athletic, veteran secondary.
Since holding off Winthrop/Monmouth, 28-24, in its opening game, Lisbon has outscored Campbell Conference foes by an aggregate score of 151-19. The Greyhounds bookended that run with road shutouts of Boothbay and Maranacook.
Lisbon has proven difficult to defend by splitting its carries among 8 to 10 different backs each week. Sophomore Noah Francis leads the touchdown parade, but the Greyhounds also have received major contributions from Shawn Grover and Henry Adams, with fullback Joe Philbrick providing the ideal usher.
In last week’s 40-0 rout of Maranacook, Lisbon rushed 57 times for 311 yards and scored on every complete possession.
Senior quarterback Kyle Bourget has emerged as a dynamic double threat in his third year as a starter. Tyler Halls, Francis and Adams are his chief targets.
Darren Ward, Robert Wood, Adam Desjardins and Sean Ball lead the Greyhounds’ senior-dominated line and play equally pivotal roles on defense along with Andrew Golino, Josh Collier, Bourget and Philbrick.
Dirigo’s journey has been more dramatic, with three victories by a touchdown or less.
The Cougars’ signature win was a 14-6 triumph on defending state champion Oak Hill’s home field. The most dramatic: Last week’s 28-24 survival at OOB, when the Cougars stopped the Seagulls at the goal line as time expired.
Tyler Frost (93 carries, 560 yards, 5 TDs) leads the Dirigo Wing-T. The 235-pound senior’s constant forward motion as a fullback has opened doors for Joe Casey, Mike Casey and Kaine Hutchins on the perimeter.
Riley Robinson and Gavin Arsenault have hooked up for four TDs through the air. Together with Hutchins on defense, they have made it difficult for opponents to return the favor.
Special teams are a Dirigo strength. The Cougars have scored on both a kick return and a blocked punt.
Lisbon won in overtime, 22-14, a year ago. The Cougars responded with a three-game winning streak, including an upset of No. 1 seed Winthrop/Monmouth, to reach the regional final for the third time in five years.
Both teams could clinch home field advantage in the playoffs by backing up a win Friday with another one in its season finale. Dirigo faces Traip, while Lisbon must deal with rival Oak Hill.