Mountain Valley is coming off of a big 46-22 win over Boothbay two weeks ago, while Dirigo is fresh off back-to-back victories over Maranacook and Traip Academy

On Friday, the two teams will converge in Rumford for a big eight-man Small School South division showdown.

Both teams are in their first seasons of eight-man football. The Cougars (2-2) are riding high with a lot of momentum, while the Falcons (1-1) are wishing they could have played last week against Sacopee Valley before COVID-19 cases forced a cancellation. 

“We felt good leaving that (Boothbay) game, knowing we were going into Sacopee,” Mountain Valley head coach Devin Roberts said. “We expected to play Sacopee and were hoping to keep that good feeling rolling, and coming off a good win like that you hope to feed off it a little bit. Then when we canceled on Sacopee, I think that it didn’t really hurt us in the long run, but that momentum we had pretty much came to a halt. It’s like we are going into another game without that motivation.”

The Falcons are also entering Friday night’s game without running back Grant Carrier. 

“We’ve had to do a lot of shuffling,” Roberts said. “We lost Grant Carrier at Mt. Ararat. We don’t have running back Robert Leveillee, he’s out on quarantine. We’ve got a kid named Lucas Libby who has really stepped up and taken on the running back role.”

Nevertheless, Dirigo coach Craig Collins is preparing for the Falcons’ run game. 

“They like to run it, they want to run it,” Collins said. “We need to make sure we are in the right sets and that we set the edge because they love to run it.”

Dirigo running back Curtis Errington (12) tries to run away from Maranacook’s Owen Dunn who caught one of Errington’s feet and brought him down during a football game Friday at Ricky Gibson Field of Dreams in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The Cougars have grown each week, and Collins said he was surprised by how well they played in a win against Maranacook. 

“In the Maranacook game, we watched film and stuff, and our coaching staff felt that we could compete with those guys, and if we scored right away we could control the game,” Collins said. “I was shocked by the way we played it. The kids felt good about the win against Traip, and we had one of our better weeks of practice and it showed in the game.”

Seniors Curt Errington and Lucas Micks have been leading Dirigo in its first season of eight-man football. 

“They’ve taken control of the team,” Collins said. “Curtis is our senior running back and he takes care of the skill guys, and Lucas is the offensive lineman. I got two seniors who are taking it on themselves to be great leaders.”

Errington ran for three touchdowns in the team’s win over Traip.

Roberts said the Falcons match up well with Dirigo, and he noted they have been working on perfecting the little things in practices this week.

“Even with the win against Boothbay we had a lot of small mental mistakes,” Roberts said. “A lot of beginning-of-the-year mistakes, and that goes hand-in-hand with the lack of another game. We focused a lot on discipline and a lot on conditioning. Again, it goes hand-in-hand with not having that other game, you don’t have as many reps.

“We tried to perfect the basics, making sure we broke a huddle persistently, make sure we hustle up to the line, make sure we lined up right, and those little things you gain from playing games and experience you miss out on, so we tried to incorporate those things as much as we could into our practice.”

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