Each week, the Sun Journal sports staff will pick high school football topics to discuss — sometimes the discussions will turn into spirited debates.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know via Twitter (@WilTalkSports and @FunkFlashyRob) or email ([email protected] and [email protected]).

Sun Journal assistant sports editor Wil Kramlich

WIL KRAMLICH: We just all blinked for seven weeks and suddenly playoff football is upon us here in Maine — at least for the eight-man ranks. For 11-man football, Classes B and C start next week, and Classes A and D the following week. Since the postseason is about to start, I figured we should talk about it. Which playoff bracket featuring area teams do you think is the most intriguing? I’d say the contenders are eight-man Small South, Class D and Class A (if only because Oxford Hills has a real shot of winning the whole thing). What do you say?

Sun Journal sports reporter Adam Robinson

ADAM ROBINSON: Eight-man Small School South Division is, selfishly, really fun for us at the Sun Journal. The top three teams, Telstar, Dirigo then Mountain Valley, are all in our coverage area. Telstar has a bye this week because Traip Academy withdrew due to injuries, but the undefeated Rebels are a force and I think could win it all. Dirigo has also gotten hot at the right time, and Mountain Valley won its final regular season game.

Class A, as well, is exciting because Oxford Hills played Thornton Academy well and showed it belongs with the big boys once and for all.

But, I think the biggest class for us is Class D, where I could see Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale making a very deep run, as I can Oak Hill. What do you think?

KRAMLICH: I got to go with eight-man Small School South, if only because in the inaugural year of eight-man football two years ago we only had two teams, only one made the playoffs, and it was a short run. But now Telstar is the juggernaut favorite, and once-storied programs Dirigo and Mountain Valley are in the spots right behind the Rebels. A Sun Journal-area team NOT making it to the state championship would be an upset. Can Telstar keep flexing its muscles all the way to states, or can Dirigo keep gaining steam like it has the second half of the season? Or will the Falcons of Mountain Valley fly from out of nowhere and win like head coach Devin Roberts’ team was able to do in this past summer’s Lobster Bowl 7-on-7 tournament? I can’t wait to find out. As Tom Brady says, “Let’s go!”

ROBINSON: Telstar has a potential rematch with Maranacook looming in the second round. The Black Bears gave the Rebels their biggest test this season, and I would love to see a rematch because Maranacook had been dealing with COVID-19 cases in its 14-12 loss to Telstar on Sept. 25. On the bottom of that bracket, Dirigo and Mountain Valley, the second and third seeds, respectively, could face each other in the second round in a rematch of their close rivalry matchup earlier this year, and that would be fun to watch.

In the Large School ranks, Spruce Mountain’s high-powered offense will be fun to see and I know they want to take another swing at Mt. Ararat and Cheverus. There’s also Gray-New Gloucester, which has a path to the second round.

KRAMLICH: Yeah, I bet Gray-NG is excited about getting another crack at Lake Region after its season-opening loss to the Lakers. And just the fact that the Patriots are in the playoffs, where the program has rarely been during its existence. These postseason opportunities can springboard any program into brighter days ahead. Now we’ll see if teams in our coverage area have brighter days in the coming weeks as the gold-ball games draw closer.

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