The Mt. Ararat / Hyde and Morse football teams are fresh out of weeks off and ready to take on familiar enemies in the regional eight-player playoff semi-finals.
No.2 Morse (5-2) will face No.3 Camden Hills (4-3) Friday night at 7 in a North Division semi-final. The teams split the regular season fixtures with Camden winning 60-42 on September 11 and Morse 44-30 on October 8.
The No.2 Eagles (6-1), meanwhile, will host No.3 (6-2) Spruce Mountain in a South Division semi-final Friday night at 6. The two teams last met. in week 1, that Mount Ararat won 42-12.
Morse’s coach Jason Darling said there certainly wouldn’t be many surprises on Friday night.
“It’s definitely a rarity to play against a team three times,” said Morse head coach Jason Darling. “I don’t think anyone will be surprised by what either team does. It will depend on who limits mistakes and which team capitalizes the most on opportunities. … I think everyone knows that if you don’t play your best you won’t play until next season.
Camden Hills coach Chris Christie added: “We look forward to the opportunity to fight them again. We have great respect for their entire program from top to bottom. It should be a great game. for football fans.
Mount Ararat coach Frank True said he watched Spruce pound No.6 at Yarmouth in a quarter-final match last weekend and knew his Eagles would face a difficult test on Friday.
“What I saw in the first week was a team going from 11-a-side football,” True said. “They changed their patterns and moved the guys on both sides of the ball with the depth they have. To sum up, they are big, fast and strong. They are going to present us with a lot of challenges.
Other eight-man teams are also preparing for regional clashes in the semi-finals.
Waterville is preparing for a familiar foe on Mount Desert Island when they meet Friday at 2 p.m. The Purple Panthers earned a 30-28 overtime victory earlier this month.
“Mount Desert Island is a very good football team, its record (2-4) is disappointing,” said Waterville head coach Isaac LeBlanc. “Our regular season competition with MDI was reduced to a few overtime games. Once again they will be a great test for us. “
Waterville quarterback Liam Von Oesen missed the Oct. 9 game with injury, but will play on Friday. Nonetheless, LeBlanc knows the basics need to be covered to win a playoff football game.
“Our fundamentals and our focus have to be on point,” he said. “It’s really important to focus on a basically solid game, to play together and to stay calm for four quarters.”
In the eight-man Little South Division, Maranacook (3-3) will be hoping to maintain the momentum he gained in a quarterfinal victory over No.4 Old Orchard Beach. The Black Bears will play No.1. Telstar (7-0) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Bethel.
“I challenged the guys to get down to business after our final regular season loss to Mount Ararat,” said Maranacook head coach Jordan DeMillo. “I’ve believed in this team a lot all year and that’s one of the reasons why.
DeMillo said his team executed all three phases of the game to secure the victory. Now, with a rematch with Telstar coming up on Saturday, DeMillo knows his team will need to play as well as they did at Old Orchard Beach to be successful.
“We’re going to have to play some really good football, they’re tall, athletic and quick where it counts,” he said. “They went undefeated for a reason. It’s going to take the same style of execution we just had (against Old Orchard Beach) and more. “