As we enter the second half to the 2018 high school football season, some folks are going to start trying to project playoff seedings via whatever number of Heal point scenarios they can dream up. 

I am not one of those people. I gave up projecting Heals several years ago after failing on a few what-ifs in basketball. So please, for the next four weeks don’t ask me what your team has to do to make the playoffs, get home field in the first round or avoid being relegated next year. My math skills are suited strictly for points and yards. I’m already looking forward to basketball season, where I only have to double- and triple-check half as much math. 

On second thought, hoops can wait. Football season is just now starting to get good because …

• Seeing young athletes grow into their positions, or thrive in new positions, from one year to the next is one of the cooler things about my job. Already this season, it’s been fun seeing quarterbacks such as Oxford Hills’ Colton Carson, Lisbon’s Lucas Francis and Mountain Valley’s Dylan Desroches take the next step in their development while also watching Edward Little’s Leighton Girardin, Spruce Mountain’s Jack Bryant and Wyatt Hathaway of Leavitt emerge in their first (full) season at QB. 

• Part of what makes all of those athletes exciting to watch is they all can make plays with their legs as well as their arms. Quarterbacks who are strictly pocket passers have never been the norm in Maine high school football, but it isn’t too often that we have this many who are this dynamic in our region. And those are only the half-dozen I’ve seen in person. I hope to get to see many more in the coming weeks.

• Class D South has spent the past week split into two groups — two unbeaten teams (Wells and Lisbon), and six teams at 2-2. That will change and the region will start to come more into focus after Friday night. The two 4-0 teams will square off in Wells. Four of the half-dozen .500 teams face each other — Oak Hill at Madison and Spruce Mountain at Poland.

Throw in Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale and Mountain Valley, who play crossover games Friday, and good luck predicting who will get the two quarterfinal home games not claimed by Wells and Lisbon. The pair playing crossovers currently have the edge in the Heals, but Mountain Valley has a lot more to gain from a victory over Class C Oceanside than Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale will accrue against Class E Maranacook. 

All eight D South teams make the playoffs this year, so only seeding is at stake over the next four weeks. And we all think we know the region will ultimately conclude with Wells once again on top, but, top-to-bottom, this is still going to be the most fun race to watch in the state.

• Six of the eight teams in B North will earn postseason berths, and Mt. Blue has a shot at being among them for the first time since 2015. Friday night’s game at Brunswick could be the Cougars’ best shot at not only securing a spot but hosting a playoff game. Last year’s Week 7 game between the two teams, a 38-22 Brunswick win at home, played a big part in the Dragons extending their season and the Cougars staying home for the playoffs.

• Lewiston’s playoff hopes in A North could come down to the next two weeks. The 0-4 Blue Devils travel to 1-3 Bangor tonight, then host Windham, which is also currently 0-4, next week. Six of the seven teams in the region will reach the playoffs, and if first-half form holds, one of those three will be on the outside looking in at the end of the regular season.

The Devils finish their home schedule with defending state champion Scarborough before the annual Battle of the Bridge at Edward Little. 


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