Halfway through the season we’re starting to see some trends pop up from all of our local teams, whether positive or negative, with Spruce Mountain’s speed being one of them. Gray-NG’s youth and drop-off from last year’s senior class is another, as well.

What trends are you starting to spot at the halfway point from some of the teams you’ve seen?

Horton: The trend I’ve noticed is how close Edward Little is to the top tier of Class A North. Now, there is a caveat: I make that statement without ever having seen Windham or Portland play a football game.

The Red Eddies probably should have beaten Cheverus last week, and likely should have done so fairly handily. EL drove into Stags territory on every possession but one. And those incursions were legitimate; it’s not as if the Eddies were barely crossing midfield. But four times they turned the ball over. EL had no problem moving the ball, it just struggled to finish.

That offense is potent. It’s a nearly perfect storm of a strong-armed quarterback, Grant Hartley, and receivers who can separate from defensive backs on long routes, or who can turn short passes into huge gains. I can’t imagine anyone having enough DBs to cover Tyler Blanchard, Maxx Bell and CJ Jipson.

The defense took a big step forward against Cheverus, especially in the second half. Yes, the Stags had two big plays after halftime that led to all 10 of their second-half points, but that’s about all they generated. As with the Eddies’ offense, the defense was a couple mistakes away from a dominating performance.

Look back at EL’s other loss, to Portland. It ended 40-14, but was tied at halftime.

So the Eddies are close. The same could probably be said for Oxford Hills/Buckfield. The Vikings were close to putting EL away two weeks ago, and with a few less mistakes might have defeated Lewiston by a lot more than 19-0.

Kramlich: Close sounds like some of the losses for Leavitt, Mt. Blue, Mountain Valley and Dirigo. And all of those teams are doing worse than they’d like to be doing. Like with EL, turnovers and stalled drives help tell the story.

On the flip side, Winthrop/Monmouth seems to be thriving in close games. The Ramblers had to sweat out their wins over Traip and Dirigo, but the perspiration was well worth it in the win column.

Some teams’ troubles seem to stem from youth and inexperience, and it seems like a lot of our local teams are dealing with either or both. Gray-NG coach Mark Renna lamented about having to play six freshmen while only having two healthy seniors against Spruce Mountain. That’s not a good recipe for success, and it certainly wasn’t Friday night.

Do you see some of our more inexperienced local teams growing up enough by the end of the season to make some noise in the playoffs? I know that’s a lot to ask of even the best coaches in just four weeks.

Horton: Mt. Blue might be able to cause a scene in the postseason. The Poland Knights and the Gray-New Gloucester Fighting Kramlichs are probably at least a year away. By the way, those types of teams are kind of fascinating to me. Both are taking some lumps this season, but young players are getting some experience. But is it positive experience? I guess that all depends on attitude.

You’ve seen more of those inexperienced teams than I have, what do you think? Can any of them be pests in the postseason?

Kramlich: Oh yeah, bring this discussion back to attitude. Thanks! But in all seriousness, I think taking your lumps in losses as a freshman or sophomore can pay dividends with the right message from coaches and the right motivation in the offseason. The problem with Poland and Gray-NG are they are still relatively new programs without a lot of success. They need to find traction that they’ve always been looking for. Mt. Blue already has an established program, so I think they will be alright; if not this year, then next.

I think Leavitt, which has the youngest team Hathaway has ever had, will be a tough out for whoever the Hornets face in the playoffs.


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