At the midpoint of the regular season, the cream is starting to rise to top of Class D South. That cream includes Poland and Wells, who will be playing for at least temporary regional supremacy Friday night in Wells.

The numbers back up these two teams’ top-dog honors so far. Poland sits in first place in the D South Crabtree standings, with the region’s only 4-0 record, while Wells falls just behind fellow 2-2 team Freeport in third. Both of the Warriors’ losses, however, have been to Class C opponents.

Poland and Wells are the only teams in the region with positive points differentials, with the Knights outscoring opponents 100-8 and the Warriors sporting a 106-58 mark. That’s the two highest-scoring offenses and stingiest defenses in D South — and Wells’ 58 points allowed have come against its two Class C opponents.

Poland’s Regan Cohen stiff arms Freeport defenders on his way to a large gain on Sept. 22 in Freeport. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald

While Poland has looked dominant — especially defensively — through the first half of the season, head coach Gus LeBlanc said the sledding is only going to get tougher for the Knights.

“We are now entering the toughest part of our schedule, and the way we play from here on out will be very telling,” he said, adding that Wells will be “the best team and toughest opponent we have faced so far this year.”

The Warriors have filled their schedule with tough opponents, including already playing games against neighboring York — which Wells led 14-0 before falling 32-14 — and undefeated Cheverus, which edged Wells 26-20. After facing Poland and Lisbon, Wells closes its schedule against two more Class C opponents, Cape Elizabeth and Fryeburg.


Wells coach Tim Roche said time will tell if that difficult slate will be a good thing for the Warriors, but playing up a class generally helps.

“Playing in close games also will help us to understand how to stay calm and face adversity,” he said.

Roche did lament that there isn’t much incentive in the Crabtree points equation for playing those higher-class opponents, as every win and loss has equal value and a potentially lower winning percentage could mean the difference between a playoff game at home or on the road.

Being at home could be an advantage for the Warriors on Friday night, when they’ll be celebrating their annual Mike Guyer Salute to Armed Forces night.

“We will have a huge crowd, which is great for the kids,” Roche said.

That being said, the longtime coach cautioned that the Warriors will need to keep their focus on the game.


That could include both teams airing it out, which hasn’t always been the case in the past at Warrior Memorial Field. Roche still has the Wells running the Wing-T offense, but the wrinkle this season has been the passing of quarterback Brooks Fox, who LeBlanc called “probably the best throwing quarterback we have faced this year.”

The good news, on paper, for LeBlanc is that the Knights defense has been particularly stout against the pass, with 10 interceptions as a team. That includes four by Damon Martin, two of which he returned for touchdowns. Regan Cohen and Andre Desrosiers are the Knights’ top two tacklers from the linebacker spot, and have also been key to the defensive success.

Wells has shown balance on offense, according to LeBlanc, and “containing all aspects of their offense will be a test for us.”

Roche is looking for the Warriors’ offense to control the clock and limit mental mistakes and breakdowns.

Limiting the Knights’ chances on offense will also be key.

“There is a reason they are undefeated; they do things well,” Roche said of the Poland offense.


Dylan Cook at quarterback has been the maestro of the Poland attack, and Roche said he both throws and runs well. Nick Aube has been his favorite receiver, and running backs Isaac Ramsdell and Regan Cohen have paced the ground game.

Lineman Nolan O’Driscoll was injured in the Knights’ win over Oak Hill two weeks ago, which LeBlanc said was a tough loss, and the play of the offensive line will be key against a Wells’ big, strong defensive line.

“The ability to run the ball and present a balanced attack will be critical,” LeBlanc said.

That Wells defense, which LeBlanc called sound and physical, has yet to allow a point to a Class D opponent this season.

“They present many challenges that will test both our offense and defense,” LeBlanc said.

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