52, 39, 54, 32, 47, 66, 54, 35, 27.

No, smart guy, you don’t have bingo.

These aren’t my results in nine different standardized IQ tests, either.

They are the winning team’s score in each of Friday night’s high school football games that ended in a shutout.

Yuck. I almost don’t know what else to say, other than to thank the Good Lord for my chance to see a 42-7 shellacking. At least there was some semblance of a game. For three minutes.

That was the story statewide on Pigskin New Year. One-third of Friday’s games ended by the wicked whitewashings documented above. Only six of 27 games were settled by a touchdown or less.

What does that say about high school football in Maine? Hopefully nothing more than the schedule makers wanted to save the best for last.

We will have better nights and weekends than this, although I think it’s safe to say that the high volume of trips to the woodshed will continue.

High school football is growing around here like Troy Polamalu’s hair. Faster than school administrators and league commissioners can keep up with, in fact. And anytime you have rapid, dramatic growth, there are growing pains.

Adding varsity programs at the rate of one or two per year, as has been the rule for the last decade, can’t help but widen the gap between the haves and have-nots.

I’m among the many (coaches, especially) who have called for the addition of a fourth classification. While such a move now seems light years away, I still contend that it would spread out the talent level and give the schools at the bottom end of the current Class A, B and C cutoffs a better chance to compete.

Not sure it would fix what we saw Friday night, though.

Football mirrors its winter cousin, hockey, with so many schools in each class at different levels of development. Tradition is more of a factor than enrollment, and there’s no equitable way to measure that. No offense to Gray-New Gloucester, but any of the traditional Class C playoff teams are better equipped to push Class B monolith Mountain Valley right now.

All is not lost for the Falcons, though. With 65 players dressed in any given year, their freshmen and sophomores get as much playing time as starters in the disparate Western Class B division. The monster keeps getting fed.

This is still the most wonderful time of the year. There’s still no place I’d rather be on an autumn Friday night. It’s like being on a diet: You learn to appreciate the buffet binges when they happen.

Based on the early returns, though, I’m afraid the schedule is going to feed us our fill of rice cakes.


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