They probably weren’t allowed to mention each other’s names this week or use the word “playoffs” in any context that didn’t involve field hockey or soccer. But the football rivalry between Livermore Falls and Jay is king in their neck of the woods, so it’s hard to imagine next Friday’s game at Griffin Field not creeping into the back of one or two minds before the appointed hour.

Of course, try squeezing that confession out of anyone wearing green-and-gold or black-and-orange.

“We got off to a tough start at 0-2, so our playoffs really started then,” said senior two-way lineman Mike Durrell of Livermore Falls. “We take one game at a time.”

“It’s a long ways away,” said Jay coach Mark Bonnevie. “I know we will be looking at both of these next two weeks as games we need to have.”

This week’s assignments aren’t the kind that scream a need for attention to detail. Livermore Falls takes its five-game winning streak to Kittery for a date with Traip, which sports its own modest two-game binge after ending the nation’s longest losing streak at 51 games. Jay hosts Madison, the only team in Western Class C without a win this fall.

Last October, Livermore Falls needed a convincing triumph at Jay on the final night of the regular season to earn the fourth and final Campbell Conference playoff spot. The Andies are a victory ahead of that pace this time around, meaning that a win over the Rangers would put the Andies in prime position to host a first-round game.

“That’s the plan,” said Livermore Falls co-captain Mark O’Shea, “but you can’t go more than a week ahead. Of course, everybody talks about the Jay-Livermore Falls game.”

Jay could sneak into the playoffs with five wins. There is also one scenario in which Boothbay, Old Orchard Beach, Winthrop and Jay all tie for third at 5-4, with only two of those teams getting into the postseason.

There’s even a remote chance that Boothbay, Winthrop, Jay and Livermore Falls each could end up 6-3, with one school left out. Being able to point out those uncertainties gives a coach a little more leverage when he’s trying to motivate his team to play one of the non-contenders.

No letup for Lisbon

Only an act of God could prevent Lisbon from hosting the Western Class C playoffs at Thompson Field, and only Livermore Falls has been able to stand toe-to-toe with the Greyhounds in their authoritative defense of the state championship this fall.

Still, most of Lisbon’s wins over upper-division teams have been unanimous decisions instead of knockouts, so to speak. That’s a reflection of a relatively balanced league that Greyhounds coach Dick Mynahan believes is still as unpredictable as it looked before Lisbon outscored everyone 190-19 over the first seven weeks.

“I think there are probably four or five teams in our conference that can beat anybody else on a given day,” Mynahan said. “We’ve been a little lucky at times.”

Lisbon entered the season seeking an identity after losing two of its most accomplished athletes ever, Levi Ervin (now on the roster at the University of Maine) and Elijah Trefts, to graduation. Although the defense is much smaller, linebackers Dan Willis, Jesse Moan and Ryan Giusto have turned creating angles and swarming into an art form.

In the offensive backfield, Willis is emerging as the go-to presence that Ervin brought to the team his junior and senior years.

“Dan has great vision, and he’s probably only giving up 70 pounds to Levi,” Mynahan said only half-jokingly of his 160-pound tailback. “He sees the field well and works hard.”


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