Cony receiver Ashton Dennett reaches out to put the ball into end zone for a touchdown as Skowhegan defensive back Adam Savage drags him down during a footbal game Sept. 4 at Messalonskee High School in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The Cony and Mt. Blue football game couldn’t be played Friday. Then it couldn’t be played Saturday. It was moved to Monday, and then that couldn’t happen either.

So instead, there will be no regular-season game between the Rams and Cougars, which for the teams involved makes for just another disappointing twist to a football season that across the state has made no schedule a sure thing.

“It’s very frustrating,” Cony coach B.L. Lippert said. “First we couldn’t play because of field conditions, then Saturday in the afternoon when we had a field, there were bus shortages and ref shortages. So we thought Monday night, although not ideal, would have been an appropriate time for us to play. And then COVID, as has become the norm for the now 18 months, rears its ugly head.”

Contact tracing at Mt. Blue caused the game to be canceled Sunday night, and Lippert said losing an opportunity to get on the field challenges a team’s development.

“I just feel like we have to play whenever we can,” he said. “The kids are pretty resilient. They’ve been through this already, last year losing the whole season, so I think they view every game as a gift and an opportunity to play. But we try to establish some rhythm, try to find some kids new roles, and to have games canceled like this, it’s frustrating.”

The Rams are missing starters themselves and were going to be making the trip to Farmington with only 25 players. But even with the issues his team was facing, Lippert said he would have preferred to play the game rather than get what amounts to an impromptu bye week.

“Playing the game is much more preferred than not playing, as long as you can do it safely,” he said. “We’d rather play, especially because eight of nine teams make the playoffs (in Class B North) now, so even if you play and lose, it’s not hurting you as much as maybe it would in the past few years.

“We just want to play as many football games as we can, and to miss out really hurts.”

 

• • •

 

Mt Blue’s Hayden Dippier, left, stiff-arms Lawrence defender Noah Grass (22) during a Pine Tree Conference Class B game Sept. 3 at Keyes Field in Fairfield. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

For Mt. Blue, which just had the issues with contact tracing pop up, this week will be touch and go. Coach Scott Franzose said he was expecting to hear late in the day Monday about when his team would be able to resume practice and get ready for Friday night’s home game against Falmouth/Greely.

“It’s kind of day-to-day,” Franzose said. “It’s waiting to sort all of that out, until we have some definitives. My best hopes are as early as (Tuesday), maybe as late as Wednesday, we can move forward positively and hopefully have enough healthy players to continue on, whether that’s a varsity schedule or strictly a JV schedule. But just keep the kids playing, and do what we need to do to get our other players back.”

Franzose said he’s not concerned about the next week’s game against Lewiston being affected, but that the status of Friday’s game is unclear.

“We’re really not sure on the Falmouth game,” he said. “Right now it’s a little bit up in the air.”

Like Lippert, Franzose said it was frustrating to have to cancel the game.

“We have to focus on things we can control,” he said. “And if we can go back to work tomorrow, we’re back to work tomorrow. We’re back on the field, and we’re doing the things that we do every single day.

“Unfortunately, it’s starting to feel a little bit like it did in the fall of 2020 or summer of 2020, with the uncertainty. … We want to control what we can control, move forward on the best information that we have and know that we’re going to be playing football again.”

 

• • •

 

Maranacook thought it was going to finally play its first game. Instead, the wait continues for the Black Bears, whose game Monday with Cheverus was canceled due to contact tracing.

Coach Jordan DeMillo said the team was expecting to get its quarantining players back in time, a group including four starters, but found out over the weekend that wasn’t going to happen. Without enough players to safely play, the Black Bears pulled the plug.

“I told (athletic director) Brant (Remington) ‘We went to eight-man to avoid putting 14-year-olds in dangerous situations against 18-year-olds,” DeMillo said. “He said ‘I think we’re going to cancel it,’ and I said ‘I think that’s the right move.'”

That doesn’t mean DeMillo wasn’t hoping to see his team in action.

“We really feel like we could have made those first two games very competitive,” he said. “Especially against Cheverus, knowing we were going against such a good opponent, knowing what I had, it was going to be a good measuring stick for us. To lose that game really (stunk). They’re very well-coached, they have a ton of depth. That’s a team that you really want to compete with, because it shows that your team is on that level.”

The Black Bears will play next against a Dirigo team that has played twice, and DeMillo said he’s concerned about his team trying to catch up.

“I’m very worried. I told the kids, to try to get them in the mindset … I feel like it might take us a quarter to settle in,” he said. “I just told my kids, ‘We’re going to have to really fight through to get back up to game speed.’ We lack that game experience, and it definitely plays a role.”

 

• • •

Messalonskee’s Haven Birch, right, and the rest of the Eagles touch the carved wooden eagle as they go onto the field before a football game against Edward Little on Friday in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Finally, the weekend went Messalonskee’s way.

The Eagles beat Class A Edward Little 34-6, earning their first victory since the 2017 season after a pair of 0-8 seasons. Brady Doucette ran for 111 yards and four touchdowns, while Giovanni Caccamo ran for 84 yards and a score.

The win snapped Messalonskee’s 22-game losing streak, and brought some needed relief to a rebuilding program.

“We finally got it off our back, and got the players feeling how it feels to get their first victory,” said assistant coach Dennis Martin, who has been filling in temporarily for Walter Polky. “We haven’t had a lot of close games either in a while, but we played pretty well Friday night against Noble (in an 18-12 loss), and we built off that.”

Asked which emotion his players felt after the win, Martin had a quick answer.

“Basically all of them,” he said, laughing. “Some of the kids were saying ‘You know, coach, we have been walking around the hallways hearing ‘Nice game.’ It’s the first time we ever heard ‘Nice win.””


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.