With the high school football season coming to a close last weekend in all divisions except Class A, teams across the state can revisit their checklist of goals for the season and assess what they’ve accomplished.

Leavitt (Class C South) and Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale (Class D South) are among the few who can put check marks next to “Earn the top seed and home field advantage” in the postseason. Nevertheless, the coaches of both teams are reminding their players to keep their No. 2 pencils sharp.

“We talked about how it’s the first box you want to check off, but it’s not the last one you want to check off,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said.

“We’re happy to be at home,” Hathaway said. “But at the same time we know we’ve got some tough games coming up, so we’ll just focus on the next one.”

The next one for Leavitt is No. 8 Lake Region (3-4), which the Hornets will host at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale (7-1) will have next Friday night off, having earned a first-round bye. The following weekend, the Ramblers will host the winner of next week’s first-round game between No. 4 Spruce Mountain (5-3) and No. 5 Mountain Valley (3-5). The Mountain Valley Conference rivals met on Oct. 11 in Livermore Falls, with the Phoenix cruising to a 43-8 win over the Falcons.

The Ramblers wouldn’t trade places with either of those teams to play next week, but coach Dave St. Hilaire, whose team is on a seven-game winning streak with an average margin of victory of 37.7 points per game, said a week to rest isn’t the chief benefit of the bye.

“We’re pretty rested. We haven’t played (starters) in the second half much,” said St. Hilaire, whose starters played virtually all of last Friday’s 34-12 win over Spruce Mountain.

“Our goal is to get better every week,” St. Hilaire said. “We haven’t played those tough opponents the last three weeks before Spruce Mountain, but we’ve gotten better.”

But good health means the Ramblers can spend the next two weeks continuing to get better internally rather than look for someone to scrimmage to stay sharp.

“It’s about getting crisp and getting better and having two weeks to see our next opponent and game-planning for two weeks,” he said. “We have competitive practices and we get crisp in practice.”

Lisbon (5-3) also earned a bye by virtue of securing the No. 2 seed with Saturday’s 16-13 win over Oak Hill. Like the Ramblers, the Greyhounds will not scrimmage.

“I’ve seen that backfire more often than not, so we’ll probably take some time to heal up and get back to work on Monday,” Lisbon coach Chris Kates said.

“I think (the bye is) good for us — we’ve got a couple of kids banged up — just to get some health back,” Kates said. “By the same token, I think it’s good to keep playing that week to stay sharp and hopefully get through to the next round.”

Oak Hill (4-4) will host Madison (2-6) next Saturday to determine who will get through to the next round to face Lisbon. The Raiders beat the Bulldogs, 48-21, on Oct. 4 in Madison.

In Class B North, Mt. Blue (5-3) will travel to Augusta for a quarterfinal matchup with Cony (8-0). In the season opener on Sep. 6, the Rams beat the Cougars in Farmington, 35-18.

Leavitt may have separated itself in C South during the regular season with its perfect record and 26 point-per-game margin of victory, but Hathaway sees a tough postseason ladder to climb with York, Wells, Cape Elizabeth and Fryeburg, which beat the Hornets in last year’s regional championship at Libby Field, all presenting formidable challenges.

“There are probably four, five or six teams that have a pretty good shot at it,” Hathaway said. “Even Fryeburg, that’s a team that’s got some experienced guys from the state championship game. I think it’s fairly wide open.”

Poland (1-7) will try to throw a wrench into the bracket when it travels to face second-seeded York (7-1) in the quarterfinals. The Wildcats beat the Knights 47-16 in Poland on Sep. 20.

The first eight-man football playoff in state history will not include the two area entries, Telstar (3-5) and Gray-New Gloucester (1-7), which did not finish in the top four in the small- and large-school divisions, respectively, to qualify. Old Orchard Beach (5-3) and Maranacook (8-0) earned the top seeds in the small and large divisions, respectively.

Class A will complete its regular season next weekend before opening the playoffs.


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