The visiting team, Oxford Hills, is big and powerful.

The host Blue Devils aren’t nearly as big as their foes, but they are loaded with speed.

Which is better, power or speed? Will the bigger team push the smaller one around, or will the faster faster wear down the bigger players?

It should be a nice battle, just like it was last time the teams met, Sept. 11, 2015, when neither team scored in regulation.

The game’s first points came in overtime when Stefan Porter scored a touchdown and the Blue Devils faked an extra point and Brock Belanger threw a two-point conversion Desmond Jackson to make it 8-0. The Vikings had a chance to match that score, but they fumbled on their first play, and Lewiston recovered.

That game was played the second week of last season, and the victory ended up being one of only two for Lewiston in 2015. Oxford Hills finished with one win, and were the only Class A North team to not make the regional playoffs. Had the Vikings won that game and the season played out exactly how it did over the following six weeks, then they would have played in the postseason and the Blue Devils would have missed out.

The way Class A North is set up makes it pretty easy to reach the postseason — six of the seven teams qualify. But it also puts incredible importance on every single game, especially for Lewiston, Oxford Hills/Buckfield, Edward Little and Bangor, who tend to find themselves battling for the final three berths.

The Blue Devils and Vikings are both 0-1 heading into Friday’s matchup at Lewiston High School. Not all losses are created equal. Lewiston fell 41-8 to Windham in Week 1; Oxford Hills lost to Cheverus 33-18.

Windham and Cheverus are two of the three powerhouses in A North, so for the Vikings to rally in the second half and make the game fairly close is impressive.

Oxford Hills outgained the Stags 441 to 351 yards. Most of that action came on the ground. The Vikings ran for 323 yards, and four players gained more than 60 yards: Connor Truman (92), Dawson Stevens (74), John Bowen (69) and Ryland VanDecker (62).

Truman also completed 10 of 15 passes for 118 yards. Ethan Bourgoin caught six of those throws for 70 yards.

Meanwhile, the Blue Devils’ loss to the Eagles wasn’t really a shocker. In fact, it was a 16-point improvement over last year’s 57-8 season-opening loss to Windham. And Lewiston coach Bruce Nicholas said last week’s game was closer than the score.

But it wasn’t the ideal start for the new-look Blue Devils. To better fit the plethora of athletic skill players, they switched from a power-run offense to the spread. There were some flashes in Week 1, such as the long catch-and-run touchdown by Garrett Poussard after a throw by Belanger, who is starting at quarterback this season, and Roman Dennis broke off some big runs.

Defending the other team’s strength will be key. Lewiston will need to take on the larger Vikings, and Oxford Hills will need to corral the Blue Devils’ quickness.

With the collision of styles and sizes, this matchup could play out all sorts of ways. A blowout, a shootout, or even another 8-0 overtime finish.


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