Mt. Blue fans who came out to Caldwell Field on Friday night were treated to the Cougars running away with a 50-8 victory over Brunswick in the season opener, the first under new head coach Matt Friedman.

What fans may not have realized, at least initially, was that the Cougars used 22 different starters — 11 on offense, 11 on defense — to start the game. With programs struggling for numbers, the move is a rarity now in the state, particularly central Maine.

And it was a move purposely planned by Friedman.

The Mt. Blue football team takes the field prior to playing Brunswick on Friday night in Farmington. Dave Dyer/Kennebec Journal

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Friedman said after the win. “We’ve got the players this year to do it, and hopefully, we stay healthy. We’ve got a few players who are down right now. When we get those guys back, we’ll be able to continue to do that, because I feel like it really helps us stay fresh.”

The move certainly worked Friday night. Mt. Blue quarterback Jayden Meader was 13 of 17 passing — with two of his incompletions being drops — for 188 yards and three touchdowns. Charles Stevens also had five receptions for 90 yards and two touchdowns.

“I expect nothing less from this team,” Meader said. “We’ll be good. … We’ve just got to come out and execute, no matter who it is. I feel like we did that well.”




Championship rematches in the regular season are rare; title rematches in Week 1 are rarer still. Yet Class D punts the North-South split in favor of a statewide setup, and the schedule-makers took advantage by pitting champion Foxcroft against runner-up Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale in Friday’s season-opening rematch of the 2021 title game.

It was a sequel that didn’t disappoint. Again, Foxcroft prevailed, this time in the form of a 28-27 overtime win over Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale. The Ponies scored a touchdown and made the extra point to begin overtime, then stuffed the Ramblers’ 2-point attempt to win after the home team responded with a score of their own.

Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale running back Robby Feeney runs the ball during a football game against Foxcroft on Friday in Winthrop. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

It would have been reasonable, perhaps, if a Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale team that had come so close to beating Foxcroft for the Gold Ball last year had revenge on its mind opening the season against the same team. Yet head coach Dave St. Hilaire said he told his team to not dwell on past history.

“It wasn’t a redemption thing,” St. Hilaire said following the game. “It was more, ‘Hey, we can’t get last year back, so this is your season; this is your team. Let’s go out and play like you want to play and set the tone for the season.’”

Central Maine Newspapers reporters David Bailey and Dave Dyer contributed to this report.

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