Maine High School’s football season is mostly halfway through.
That makes this the perfect time for a midseason report for Sun Journal coverage.
BIG GAMES – HOW REALLY BIG
There are a few players from the penalty area who are dangerous with every touch of the ball, no matter how far they are from the end zone. That seems like an exaggeration, but it wasn’t in the first four weeks for Lewiston’s Eli Bigelow, Spruce Mountain’s Reece Davis and Mountain Valley’s Robert Leveillee.
Leveille opened the season with a seven-touchdown performance in Mountain Valley’s win over Telstar. All but one of those seven points were 30 yards or longer, and four were from more than 50 yards. COVID-19 kept him from playing in Week 2 and he was held at one score in Week 3, but last week he returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a score and had a 58-yard touchdown streak .
In the Phoenix’s last two games, Davis has carried the ball 43 times for 549 yards (12.8 yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns. He’s been at the next level all season. The first two weeks were filled with big plays that earned six points.
Sure, Leveillee and Davis play 8-man soccer. Before moving to Maine, I covered several programs that had played 8-man since the 1970’s (they also played on full-size fields, unlike here). So I can say with some knowledge that what Leveillee and Davis are doing is not common, even in 8-man football.
Bigelow, on the other hand, has had four touchdowns in each of Lewiston’s two wins. He has 11 for the season, including 81-, 76-, and 74-yard runs and a 68-yard punt return. Only one of his TDs was less than 30 meters away. For the season, Bigelow has 29 carries for 641 yards (22.1 yards per carry), nine rushing touchdowns, a receiving TD, and a punt returned for a score.
TWIN CITIES HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY
It’s too early to say Lewiston and Edward Little are back, that they are competitors, or to make any predictions about how this season will end for either team.
However, this year they have shown that it is not impossible to compete in class A. Since 2019 it was decided that the state’s largest league should only have eight teams, three or four teams have been battling for championships while the other four or five have tried to rebuild while being blown out by the state’s biggest and best teams.
Last week Lewiston and Edward Little faced two of those traditional contenders. The Blue Devils throttled Scarborough 39-7. The Red Eddies couldn’t hold a 40-14 lead over Bonny Eagle, they lost 52-48, but the Eddies made their point.
It’s too early to say the A-Class isn’t as strong as usual, but either way, the Twin Cities’ two soccer schools should at least know that the gap between them and the top isn’t as great as it is it seemed.
FIGHT FOR D TITLE
Lisbon’s win over Foxcroft last week suggests the Class D playoffs may be more open than they were in 2021, when the entire season seemed headed towards a title game between Foxcroft and Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale.
The Greyhounds (2-2) showed last week that they will be, as usual for other Class D teams, an ordeal in the postseason. They made the long journey to Dover-Foxcroft and ended the Ponies’ 13-game winning streak. Lisbon controlled the ball and kept the high-profile Foxcroft offense off the field, and the Greyhounds didn’t succumb to frustration when their long drives went empty in the first two-plus quarters. Defense also strengthened towards the end, particularly the defensive line that ended the Ponies’ potential go-head drive in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
Foxcroft falls back to 3-1 but has a win over Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale (2-1) on his resume. The Ramblers are looking strong again. Freeport (3-1) looks like it will be a force. Poland (3-1) flies under the radar but have won three in a row since falling to Klasse C Fryeburg in the opener. This winning streak includes the only loss of John Bapst (3-1). Oak Hill (1-3) is young but seems to be finding his way.
HORNETS ON A TEAR
Leavitt has progressed through the first four games of his schedule. So far, no team has been able to compete with the Hornets. Not Class A Lewiston, not Class B Portland, and not regional opponents York and Wells, who suffered their only losses of the season to Leavitt by a combined score of 86-0.
The remainder of the Hornets’ schedule includes four other top-flight opponents: Class B Lawrence (2-2) on Friday and C South contender Cape Elizabeth (3-1), defending Class C state champions Cheverus (3-1) and Fryeburg ( 2-2).
Oxford Hills took on Class A in a way not many would have predicted before the season, and who would have expected less had they known quarterback Eli Soehren and Lincoln Merrill — key players on offense and defense — would miss games due from injuries.
But Soehren’s replacement, Brady Truman, has put Oxford Hills (4-0) past Thornton, Sanford and Portland. It’s become clear just how talented the Vikings are beyond Soehren, the 2021 Gatorade Maine Player of the Year. Merrill returned last week, converting a short pass into a 58-yard TD, Teigan Pelletier and Tanner Bickford are big receivers who always threaten to make big plays, and the offensive and defensive lines led by players like Zach Louvat and Mekhi Hill, been strong. Running backs Trey Morrison, Hunter Tardiff and Jake Carson made important contributions. The list goes on.
The Vikings were the fastest of last year’s semi-finalists – Thornton (2-2), Bonny Eagle (3-1) and Scarborough (2-2) – on reloads and the rest of the Class A have five weeks to try to catch up . And Oxford Hills has five weeks to try to widen the gap.
Match of the week: Lewiston brings confidence and big-play ability to Oxford Hills encounter