CLASS A

Maine’s largest football classification was essentially ransacked by reclassification.

Class A mainstays Cheverus, Deering, Gorham, Portland and South Portland all dropped down to Class B, which now has 22 teams. Class A, meanwhile, is left with eight. 

It’s as if the Maine Principals’ Association threw in the towel for the chances of any team outside of Thornton Academy (the 2018 state champion), Scarborough (2017 champ) and Bonny Eagle (2016 champ) competing for a state title any time soon, so its football committee figured out a way to get as many teams out of the line of fire as possible. Thirteen of the past 15 Class A championships have been won by those three schools.

That leaves five teams whose mettle will be tested: Edward Little, Lewiston, Oxford Hills, Bangor and Sanford. The good news is that those teams are guaranteed playoff spots. But those teams will have to find joy in competing against the best and not be frustrated when they suffer rough losses.

CLASS B NORTH

Mt. Blue ended a two-year playoff drought last year with a 4-4 record and tie for fourth in an eight-team B North.

The region underwent some significant changes in the offseason, though, with the additions of Gardiner, Falmouth/Greely and Windham. Eight playoff berths are up for grabs between the 11 teams.

The Cougars also have a new look. Head coach Nate Quirion left after two years to return to an assistant role at Husson University. Former Madison coach Scott Franzose takes over the program, and is bringing with him a version of the spread offense.

Brunswick won its fourth region title in five years, but again fell in the state title game to Marshwood.

B South still has recent powerhouses Marshwood and Kennebunk, but also adds mystery with a herd of former Class A teams in Portland (which has been a consistent presence in the A state title game), Cheverus, Deering, Gorham and South Portland.

CLASS C SOUTH

Leavitt has rolled through C South the past couple of years before faltering in the postseason, including a loss to Fryeburg in the regional final.

The Hornets return many key players in 2019, and the region remained relatively untouched in the classification cycle, losing two teams and gaining two teams. One of those additions, though, might alter the region landscape: After two seasons scorching the D South earth with two straight state titles, Wells has returned to Class C, where it claimed the 2016 state championship.

The Warriors lost Fitzpatrick Trophy award winner Tyler Bridge, but the program has a habit of replacing departed stars with another standout player. Wells will probably find more challenges in C South, particularly from Leavitt.

Poland also is moving up after two years of growth in D South, particularly 2018 when the Knights went 3-5.

CLASS D SOUTH

The region had a nice thing going its first four years after Class D was re-instituted in 2013. That was especially true for area teams Oak Hill, Lisbon, Winthrop/Monmouth and Dirigo, who seemed to battle it out for region titles each year.

D South changed prior to the 2017 season, with the additions of a handful of teams, most notably Wells, who tore through the region and Class D with few four-quarter tests for two seasons.

Now that Wells is back in Class C, D South is back on the market and several teams are ready to make bids on the region titles. Oak Hill and Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale both return prolific quarterbacks in Gavin Rawstron and Keegan Choate, respectively. Spruce Mountain returns QB Jack Bryant and speedy weapon Brandon Frey.

Lisbon, which must replace key players, and Mountain Valley, should still be tough to beat. The same can be expected of Dirigo, which is back in Class D after playing in the developmental Class E in 2018, despite the team’s low numbers.

EIGHT-MAN

Ten teams made the decision to participate in Maine’s first season of eight-man football. Among those are area schools Telstar and Gray-New Gloucester, and both programs are in need of the spark that the eight-man version of the game can provide after years of losing and low numbers.

Gray-NG, which hasn’t won a game since 2015, has enthusiastically embraced the switch to eight-man and spent the summer adjusting to the differences. The Patriots will play in large-school division.

Telstar has struggled with numbers, a problem that should be alleviated with eight-man football. The Rebels, who will play in the small-school division, have some experience back from last year’s team that competed in Class E.

Four of the five teams in each division will advance to the postseason, and the division championships will meet in the first eight-man state championship on Nov. 16, a week before the other classes play their title games.

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