After a pass was deflected, Lisbon’s Ben Blake, left, made sure Bucksport’s Logan Stanley didn’t come up with the catch during the first half of a game in Lisbon in September 2017. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal File Photo

A run-first attack and stout line play on both sides of the ball propelled Lisbon to the Class D state championship game.

At Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland on Saturday (2:30 p.m.) the Greyhounds may be meeting their match in D North champion Bucksport.

“This year’s team is big and physical,” Lisbon coach Chris Kates said of the Golden Bucks. “They’ve won a lot of their games with power run, but they also have good athletes on the outside that can challenge you in the pass game. Their ability to mix power and speed makes them a challenging matchup.”

Sounds a little bit like a scouting report on the Greyhounds (7-3), as well. Lisbon has pounded it up the middle with Cam Bourget and Justin Le, bounced to the outside with Daytona McIver or quarterback Seth Leeman, and Leeman has hit speedsters Riley Quatrano and Robbie Dick (a St. Dominic Academy representative) in stride when asked to pass.

“They present a lot of problems,” longtime Bucksport (10-0) coach Joel Sankey said. “They’re quick. Their quarterback is good. They do a lot of different formations, including that double-tight double-wing.”

The Greyhounds showed in their C South final victory over Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale that they can pass the ball. Sankey said the Bunks rarely needed to do so in its regular-season play. A young trio of running backs — working behind what Sankey called a “fairly large offensive line” — has been a pleasant surprise.


Freshmen Jaxon Gross (215 pounds) and Josh Miller (205 pounds) both have ran for more than 1,000 yards this season. Sophomore Ty Giberson has added another 500-plus.

“I had never seen anything like it, and I’ve coached for a long time,” Sankey said. “You might have one kid that steps up like that, but to have three running backs that way, and they’re all over 200 pounds, they’re all fast.”

When asked, senior QB Brady Findlay has slung the ball for a better-than 60% completion percentage — with Logan Stanley as his favorite target — and even tossed five TD passes in one game. And, “knock on wood,” Sankey said, “he doesn’t have an interception this year.”

That could aid the Golden Bucks. Sankey said “who makes the fewest mistakes” is part of the X-factor of Saturday’s game, along with penalties and “those sort of things.”

Kates, the head coach in a state game for the first time after being an assistant on now-assistant Dick Mynahan’s staff on the 2016 state runner-up team, said the Greyhound needs to limit mental mistakes, namely penalties. He also said, “More often than not, a special teams play is a major deciding factor in big games.”

It’s a bit of a surprise that these two teams have never met in a state championship, given the programs’ respective pedigrees. Bucksport last played in a state final in 2013 (Class D). It also played for the 2011 Class C gold ball, and won its most recent state title in 2004. That was the year after the Greyhounds lost in the Class C state final and the year before the first of back-to-back titles for Mynahan’s Lisbon teams in 2005 and 2006.

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