Week 2 of the high school football season may represent dangerous territory for the Bangor Rams.
Coach Mark Hackett’s young guns, coming off a solid 34-19 victory at Messalonskee of Oakland last weekend, are just one week away from a showdown against two-time defending Eastern A champion Lawrence of Fairfield.
But lest the Rams be looking ahead too much, a road test against upset-minded Brunswick awaits tonight.
Bangor Rams (1-0) vs. Brunswick Dragons (0-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Brunswick: Bangor struggled early against Brunswick last year before erupting in the second half for a 45-0 victory.
But with just three returning starters for Bangor there are few first-hand recollections of that game, and Hackett sees other factors that should prevent his players from thinking about anything else but the immediate challenge that Brunswick represents.
“These kids are fighting not to lose their positions, they’re fighting to get better,” he said. “They’re very proud kids, they love to play football and they want to get better. They want to prove something.”
Brunswick dropped a 26-6 decision to Lewiston in its opener.
The Dragons got 117 rushing yards from Shaun Tanner, but was victimized as Lewiston returned two pass interceptions and a punt for touchdowns.
Those plays were apparent on the game film Hackett viewed this week, as was something else.
“Just the quality of their athletes,” he said. “You miss a tackle and they can score.”
Maranacook Black Bears (0-1) vs. Hampden Academy Broncos (1-0), 7 p.m. Friday at Hampden: The Broncos will play their home opener riding the momentum of a solid two-way performance in their 16-6 Week 1 victory at Belfast.
Coach Harry McCluskey’s club proved resilient on both sides of the line of scrimmage, limiting the Lions to a single first-quarter touchdown while showing a balanced rushing attack as Nolan Turner gained 89 yards on 12 carries — or 7.4 yards per carry — while Mike Jenkins and Jon Haws each contributed a touchdowns.
While Hampden was solid defensively against Belfast, Maranacook of Readfield nearly amassed enough offense to up-end Leavitt of Turner Center last Saturday. The Black Bears led by 16 midway through the third quarter before falling to the Hornets 34-28.
Key for Maranacook against Hampden will be the health of quarterback-halfback Pat Norwood. He rushed for 173 yards and three touchdowns and also caught a 42-yard touchdown pass before leaving the Leavitt game briefly in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.
Oxford Hills Vikings (0-1) vs. Brewer Witches (0-1), 7 p.m. Friday, Doyle Field, Brewer: Two teams looking to gain a boost of confidence square off after slow starts in their season openers.
Brewer yielded 24 first-half points to Skowhegan, but allowed just a single touchdown after intermission. Edward Little of Auburn scored on all six of its first-half possessions en route to a 53-21 victory at Oxford Hills.
Brewer showed some offensive promise while debuting its double-wing offense, but will need to reduce its turnovers — four lost fumbles against Skowhegan — to keep the ball away from an Oxford Hills offense that also showed opening-night potential. The Vikings, who have switched to a spread formation under new coach Nate Danforth, were within 26-21 of Edward Little midway through the second quarter behind QB Jake Hall, who rushed for 94 yards and passed for 94 yards in the first half.
Orono Red Riots (1-0) vs. Old Town Coyotes (1-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Victory Field, Old Town: These teams are meeting for the first time in a regular-season game since 1998, and both are coming off season-opening victories.
Orono spotted Rockland a 20-0 first-quarter lead but held the Tigers scoreless the rest of the way while rallying with 16 fourth-quarter points for a 26-20 victory.
Coach Bob Sinclair’s club hopes to keep its ground game going against Old Town. QB Kash Keezer and running backs Blaine Silk and Marcus Leek combined for 263 yards and four TDs against Rockland.
Old Town was successful in its Class C debut with a 12-6 win over Mount View of Thorndike. The Coyotes feature quarter-back Josh Boucher, who rushed for a touchdown and passed for 119 yards and another score against the Mustangs.
The Coyotes’ defense, which limited Mount View to a single touchdown, will face a much stiffer test against Orono’s offense.
Stearns Minutemen (1-0) vs. Mattanawcook Academy Lynx (1-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Curry Field, Lincoln: Two local rivals coming off opening-week wins square off in Lincoln.
Mattanawcook must be careful not to let down after its 14-12 victory at defending state champion Foxcroft Academy. The Lynx used disciplined defense and timely offense to outlast the Ponies in Dave Hainer’s head coaching debut, and will need a similar effort against a Stearns team with some quality veteran leadership of its own.
Coach Chris Preble’s Minutemen are coming off a 48-0 victory over Dexter in which they limited the Tigers to minus-5 yards of total offense.
Stearns also rushed for 301 yards against Dexter, and similar ball control will be pivotal if the Minutemen are to score a road victory.