All that’s left for Leavitt is to finish the job.

Sun Journal sports editor Lee Horton

Before the postseason gets underway, take some time to appreciate the Leavitt football team’s regular season.

The Hornets entered the football season with a chance to do something special. They weren’t content to dominate. They wanted a challenge.

Taking advantage of the current rules that open up teams’ scheduling possibilities, the defending Class C state champions went big, setting up games against Class A programs Oxford Hills, Thornton Academy and Lewiston and perennial Class B contender Lawrence.

Leavitt won all four games.

The Hornets obviously knew they’d be pretty good this season, but it seems like they wanted to know how good and to be elevated by the additional challenge those teams could provide.


The wins over Oxford Hills and Thornton are the gems of that stretch. The Vikings and Thornton have been the post-COVID powerhouses of Class A.

Yes, the Vikings lost several of their best players to graduation and prep school. But they’re still strong and still a powerhouse — and still a Class A contender, as much of a favorite as anyone.

In the meeting against Oxford Hills in Turner in Week 4, Leavitt put up two quick touchdowns, held a 21-7 lead at half, then turned away the Vikings’ attempts to tie the game in the second half to win 21-14.

Just over a week ago, Thornton pulled the same thing on Leavitt that Leavitt pulled on Oxford Hills. The Golden Trojans scored two quick touchdowns and took a 21-6 lead into halftime.

As I watched the livestream of the first half during the lunch break of a conference I was attending (and, don’t tell anyone, checked in every 5-10 minutes when the conference resumed), I thought, “Interesting. This is really going to test them.”

Holding off a great team is one thing. Maintaining composure against a great team that builds an early lead is a different type of adversity.


There was no holding off or holding back the Hornets in the second half. They scored 29 unanswered points and beat Thornton 35-21.

That victory all but sealed one of the most legendary Maine high school football seasons in recent memory, and undoubtedly one of the best seasons by a Class C team in history.

Now the Hornets just need to take care of their Class C business. They’ll have a bye this week and face the winner between No. 4 Cape Elizabeth (2-6) and No. 5 York (2-6). A win by Leavitt would set up a second meeting against either No. 2 Fryeburg (7-1) or No. 3 Cheverus (6-2).

Leavitt’s Keegan Reny runs through two rows of youth football players as part of introductions prior to a Sept. 23 game against Oxford Hills at Leavitt Area High School in Turner. Brewster Burns photo


There were a lot of things that stood out in Leavitt’s wins over Oxford Hills and Thornton. But the thing that stood out the most to me was that Noah Carpenter was unquestionably the best player among the many great players on the field during those two games.

If Carpenter — who excels as a quarterback, safety, kicker and punter — doesn’t win the Fitzpatrick Trophy, then I’m going to create my own trophy to give out every year and name it the Noah Carpenter Trophy.


It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t play another snap, or if Leavitt somehow is upset. And I mean no disrespect to any of the state’s other excellent seniors. But Carpenter entered the season as the favorite. It was his to lose, and in the regular season he has only doubled his worthiness.

Also, when I say that Carpenter excels at quarterback, safety, kicker and punter, the word “excels” is an understatement — for all four positions.

For instance, there were two punts he had against Thornton that were downright amazing. One was kicked from deep in his own end zone and traveled about 67 yards through the air and 74 yards overall, flipping field position from the Leavitt 7-yard line to the Thornton 27. The other, he was on the run after a high snap, but with two defenders closing in, Carpenter still got off a 60-yard punt to inside the Golden Trojans’ 10 (roughing the kicker was called).


The eight-man football playoffs began last week, and Classes B and C open the postseason this week. Class A still has one week left in the regular season.

Oxford Hills plays at Bangor, then moves on to the playoffs. The Vikings will probably be the No. 2 seed behind Portland, unless the Bulldogs lose to South Portland this week.


This week in Class A football also includes the next edition of the Edward Little-Lewiston rivalry.


The Leavitt and Oxford Hills football teams have legitimate chances to repeat their gold ball seasons from 2022.

But what about the other sports in the Sun Journal’s coverage area? Glad you asked because I have some opinions.

In boys soccer, the top championship contender is Mt. Abram. Subscribers to the Varsity Maine Newsletter already know about how amazing the Roadrunners’ season has been.

Quick summary: they finished the regular season 14-0 and outscored their opponents 69-2. They have 12 shutouts. (They are 15-0, with a 75-2 scoring difference and 13 shutouts if you count Thursday’s 6-0 win over Monmouth in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game — which, technically, doesn’t count.)


Like Leavitt in football, the Roadrunners did their best to put together a challenging schedule. Their wins include 2-1 over Class A Mt. Blue and 1-0 over Class B Greely.

Mt. Abram has reached two C South finals in a row, losing to Waynflete both times. The Roadrunners will have to earn their way back this year. Their path to the regional final will likely include No. 4 Waynflete in the semifinals, but this time in Salem Township.

The second most likely boys soccer championship contender is a tie between Lewiston and Edward Little.

The Class A North tournament will be fun. Each of the top five teams have multiple wins or ties against the rest of the top five. For instance, the Blue Devils are the No. 1 seed, and the Heal points aren’t even close, but the Red Eddies defeated them 5-3 in the season finale last Tuesday. Anything can happen. Expect chaos.

The Monmouth boys were reclassified to D South this season. Since the Mustangs were usually a contender in C South — and most of their regular season schedule is still against those teams — they’re definitely a contender in D South. They finished 12-1-1 (their only loss: Mt. Abram) and are seeded second. But also keep an eye on Buckfield, the third seed.

In girls soccer, St. Dom’s is the area team most likely to win a gold ball. The Saints earned the top seed in D South, and they split the season series with No. 2 Richmond and swept No. 3 Buckfield.


Also, most of St. Dom’s regular season schedule was against Class B and C schools.

Field hockey has probably been my favorite sport this fall, and the playoffs will be fun for area teams. Spruce Mountain is the top contender. The Phoenix defeated Winthrop — the two-time defending Class C state champs — twice and their only loss is to Class B contender Yarmouth. But don’t underestimate Winthrop.

Leavitt definitely has a chance to emerge from B North. Belfast and Cony were the best in the regular season, but Leavitt, Nokomis and Gardiner aren’t far behind. If the Hornets can get past Gardiner in Turner next week, they’ll get another shot at Belfast.


Eight-player soccer, in its first year, has been good for area teams.

The Rangeley girls are the second seed in their region, while Telstar, Lisbon and Dirigo also reached the postseason.

Among area boys teams, Dirigo, Rangeley, Telstar and Spruce Mountain are playoff-bound.

Some of these programs struggled to field 11-player squads, so it’s great that they have been given a way to keep the sport alive, and hopefully help it thrive, in their communities.

Contact Sun Journal sports editor Lee Horton at He also writes twice a week for the Varsity Maine Newsletter, which you can subscribe to here.

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