Football: Old and New Matchups Highlight 2022 High School Schedule
AUGUSTA – BL Lippert already knows that the first half of his team’s 2022 season will be a glove.
After opening the year on the road against an Oxford Hills side fresh from a Class A title game, Cony’s football team will face a team they’ve never played before, Massabesic . The Rams will follow with games against Skowhegan, the coaches’ pre-season pick to win Class B North, and Windham, who won the division last year.
“It’s going to be a tough start for us,” said Lippert, Cony’s head coach of seven years. “We’re starting against one of the best teams in Maine and then we’re going to play against a team we have no history with. Then you add two teams that will be among the best in our league.
While Cony may have a tougher start than most of the upcoming football season, the Rams won’t be the only ones facing opponents old and new. With the 2022 schedules finalized on Friday, there are plenty of new matchups, old rivalries and exciting crossovers on the itinerary for the year ahead.
Crossover matches will be plenty in 11-man football this year, with the Maine Principals’ Association working to create more competitive matchups across all four 11-man classes. It created mouth-watering matchups between teams that don’t normally get the chance to battle it out on the gridiron.
Among those teams is defending Class C champion Nord Winslow, who have a slate of three consecutive non-league opponents in the meat of their schedule. The Black Raiders will play road games against Mt. Blue in Week 4 (Sept. 23-24) and Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale in Week 5 (Sept. 30-October 1) before hosting Cheverus in of week 6 (October 1). 7-8).
“We are definitely excited about the new schedule; it’s a small change from what we had last year,” Winslow head coach Wes Littlefield said. “Winthrop are a good team, and we’re also happy to play Cheverus at home. In the history of our program, I don’t think we’ve ever done that.
Cony, of course, has the Week 1 showdown (September 2-3) at Oxford Hills and the Week 2 home game (September 8-9) against Massabesic. The Rams will also host longtime rival Gardiner in Week 7 (October 14-15), a game that will mark the rivalry’s return to the regular season after the two teams met in the preseason there. one year old.
The new additions to the schedule, however, mean some traditional matchups won’t be played in 2022. Maine Central Institute and Nokomis won’t face off this year, and Cony won’t play against a Lawrence team that has. thrilling contests with the Rams over the past few years.
“It’s a little frustrating, and I know there are other coaches at B North who are also frustrated,” Lippert said. “I’m not going to overdo it, but with our league, if we could play the games just between our 10 teams, that would be amazing.”
In Class D, teams will face two Class C opponents to make up for the lack of scheduling options in an eight-team statewide league. This put the Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale clashes with Winslow and Hermon (Week 1) and the Week 4 battle of Oak Hill with MCI on the table.
There will also be some intriguing league matches for a class that, though small, had some exciting matches a year ago. As well as playing on the road against Foxcroft in a rematch of last year’s state title game in Week 1, Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale will host Lisbon in Week 5 and close out the regular season at Freeport in Week 9 (October 28). -29).
“Lisbon have only lost three seniors I think, so they’re going to be a tough team this year,” Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale head coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “Freeport had a good year last year, and they have their quarterback and their two running backs. We are going to have good matches. »
Other notable 11-man games this season include Skowhegan at Lawrence in Week 1, Lawrence at Windham in Week 2, Oak Hill at Foxcroft in Week 5, Skowhegan hosting Thornton Academy in Week 7 and MCI in Winslow and Skowhegan in Windham in week 8 (21-22 October).
There will be no crossover matches at the eight-man level, with the big-school and small-school teams only playing in their respective classes. Still, with the new format continuing to progress, there are still plenty of standout matches on the schedule for Waterville, Maranacook and Mount View.
After opening the season against Ellsworth/Sumner, Waterville has three straight big games through September. The Purple Panthers take on eight-man newcomer Greely on the road in Week 2, head to Bar Harbor in Week 3 (September 16-17) for a rematch of thrilling 34-28, 50-40 battles with MDI last year and host Spruce Mountain in week 4.
At Small-School North, Mount View will make history in Week 2 when they travel to Fort Kent for the first-ever home game for the new St. John Valley Co-op team. In the South, a Maranacook team denied a state title in the final game last year has tough matches against Dirigo (Week 1, home) Mountain Valley (Week 3, home) and Old Orchard Beach (week 5, outdoors).
“Mountain Valley has a ton of athletes, and Dirigo is going to fire its top two athletes,” Maranacook head coach Jordan DeMillo said. “You also have Old Orchard Beach, who are very skilled and talented, I can’t wait to go to OOB to face them.”
As eight-a-side football continues its rise and Classes A and D are down to just eight teams, this could very well be the last season with four classes of 11 players. This could mean another schedule shakeup for Maine high school football in the not-too-distant future.
“I think eight-a-side football is good for a lot of these programs that are sort of on the bubble, but that might mean getting rid of D,” Littlefield said. “We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
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