Ain’t no rest for the wicked good football teams that reside in Turner and Saco.

Class C contender Leavitt is preparing for its fourth straight game against a team from a higher classifications. This week’s opponent, Class A South leader Thornton Academy, opened the season with five straight games against undefeated teams — and the Hornets (6-0) become the sixth.

“I’ll just give my kids credit. It wasn’t like we started with easy opponents,” Thornton coach Kevin Kezal said. “I mean, we played probably two of the best teams in Class A (Portland and Oxford Hills) to start with and had opportunities in both of them to win them early, we just didn’t make enough plays to do it. And give them credit for making plays.

“But, yeah, I think it’s just, you know, I give our kids credit. They didn’t panic, and we’ve just tried to get a little bit better every week. And, yeah, we’ve been able to kind of reel off four in a row.”

The Golden Trojans’ (4-2) four consecutive wins have come against Bonny Eagle, Windham and Sanford — which were all undefeated at the time — and over South Portland, 14-0, last week.

Thornton has only given up 34 points combined in those four wins and has outscored opponents 162-90 this season.


Now the Trojans face a Leavitt squad that has beaten its six opponents by a 287-87 total. The Hornets have held five of those six opponents to two touchdowns or less (Lawrence scored 32), and they’ve scored at least three touchdowns in every game, including 45-plus points in all but one game (a 21-14 win over Oxford Hills).

“I think against a team like them, with the capabilities they have offensively, your best defense can be your offense,” Kezal said. “We want to grind it out, but at the same time, you want to be able to take some shots when the opportunities present them. So, yeah, I think it’s just kind of what we’ve done, you know, what’s made us successful in the past, and certainly has made us successful the last four weeks.”

Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway called the Golden Trojans’ offense, “Typical TA, with no real weak spots out there.”

He noted that Thornton has a physical offensive line and a good ground game that features several players who can run the ball, including quarterback Wyatt Benoit.

Benoit also has plenty of targets to throw to, a group that features Jackson Paradis, who Hathaway called one of the top receivers in the state and a gamebreaker when running the jet sweep — a play that is a staple of Hathaway’s offense.

Kezal said the key to slowing down the Leavitt offense is to keep the ball in front.


“You watch them, and it’s just big play after big play after big play. And you try to minimize that as much as possible just by keeping the ball in front,” he said. “If you can make them go on a 12-play drive and they score, then you tip your cap to ’em. But you can’t be giving up the explosive plays over the top and the easy scores.”

As Hathaway said of Thornton’s offensive line, Kezal said the Hornets have physical linemen, plus a great supporting cast around quarterback Noah Carpenter.

This week’s film study could play a major role in Saturday afternoon’s game (1:30 p.m.) at Hill Stadium in Saco, since the two teams don’t normally play each other during the fall season — though Hathaway did note that Leavitt visits Thornton Academy for summer 7-on-7 football.

“You watch a little more film when it’s a team you don’t play year to year. Coaches and kids both,” Hathaway said. “The good thing is, at Week 7 there is a lot of it out there so you can get a pretty good feel for the way a team is built.”

“Certainly you’re gonna get some tendencies and stuff (watching film). And you try to get as much information as you can,” Kezal said. “So I think it’s certainly real important. I think it’s a part — we certainly do a lot of it. And I’m sure they do the same thing.”

The moment shouldn’t be too big for either team Saturday, considering how many difficult opponents each has already faced. That could potentially make for a memorable game, and Kezal expects there to be plenty of people in the stands to watch it.


“You look at our schedule, we’ve been on the road four of the last five weeks. So to come back to Hill Stadium, it’s a great atmosphere. We’ve got a great showing. We’re going to have a great crowd,” he said. “I’m sure they’ll bring a great crowd. I’m sure there’ll be a good crowd there just from people interested in the game.

“So, yeah, we like playing home games, and it’s a tough place for teams to come in and play. And certainly we like our homefield advantage that we have.”

Hathaway doesn’t see his team having any disadvantage with the time or place, since the Leavitt program and the current players have been in spots like this before.

“It’s going to be a great battle and we will just try to keep our focus on maintaining our poise, a high level of intensity and executing our schemes,” he said.

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