It’s two days after Halloween and all that’s left in the pillow case are Twizzlers and Good & Plenty, so it’s time for some sweet, sweet football hot takes.
• There is nothing quite like the feeling of anticipation in a crowd and on a sideline when a player and team who have made late comebacks a habit is in a position for more late heroics. That was the buzz at Walton Field when the Leighton Girardin-led Edward Little offense took the field trailing Lewiston by one point with 3:50 left in last week’s Class A North first-round game. For the third week in a row, and second in a row against Lewiston, the Red Eddies drove down the field for the game-winning touchdown with 1:42 remaining. The defense erased any “did they leave too much time on the clock?” questions when Travis Jalbert forced a fumble that Josh Kaiser recovered.
The Eddies will have an uphill battle against top-seeded Portland on Friday night, but I wouldn’t want to be the Bulldogs if they let them hang around for the game to be decided on EL’s last possession.
• Can’t blame teams for moving games to Thursday and late Saturday and/or changing venues to avoid the rain forecast for Friday night into Saturday. Some who made the move are counting on hosting regional championships next week. Some may have seen the photos from No. 7 Oak Hill’s 6-0 overtime upset of No. 2 Lisbon in last Saturday’s slop and decided they don’t want to risk a similar outcome. Regardless of the reason, they’re all subject to criticism from internet tough guys who apparently had no problem with the weather being more important than skill and execution in the biggest games of their lives.
Credit to Cony for giving up home field for its B North semifinal against Brunswick because it’s field was already too torn up and deemed unsafe. The game was moved to Lewiston’s Don Roux Field turf on Friday night, and everyone, players, coaches, and fans are better off for it.
• With Lewiston High School becoming a valuable backup plan for a number of fall sports needing a suitable playing surface for big games, one has to wonder if the Maine Principals’ Association would deal it into the state football championship rotation in the future. It’s obviously more centrally-located than Portland or Orono, closer to the 1-95 than those venues, and has sufficient parking to host at least one game. The locker rooms are closer to the field than Portland and Orono. I’m not sure concessions and restroom capacity will quite meet the MPA’s demands, but those can always be augmented with temporary arrangements (Portland uses food trucks and port-a-pottys at Fitzpatrick Stadium). Bleachers will have to be added to the visitor’s sideline, too, of course. The press box is big enough for media and coaches as long as someone doesn’t need an ESPN-esque eight-expert panel to cover and analyze high school football.
The MPA would likely hold championship games in a couple of other sports at Lewiston High School before proceeding with any plans for state football championships there. But the fact that schools around central Maine are already lining up to use the new complex shows how qualified Lewiston AD Jason Fuller and the city are to host bigger events.
• Classes A, B, C and E held to form in the first round of the playoffs. In Class D North, three of the top four seeds reached the semifinals, with only No. 5 Washington Academy preventing Class D South from being the only region to not go with all chalk. D South was so unpredictable all season that having three of its four road teams emerge victorious last week was almost too predictable. I’m writing this well before No. 5 Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s bid to continue the trend in Wells on Thursday night. But regardless of the outcome of that game, the Campbell Conference’s small schools have proven once again that when it comes to competitiveness, no one outclasses them.
• Congratulations to Oxford Hills’ Colton Carson and Mark Soehren for being named Class A North Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively, as well as Vikings assistant Nate Danforth for being named Assistant Coach of the Year.