The Bangor High School football team faces a major challenge Friday night.

Not only is it hosting Lawrence of Fairfield, the two-time defending Eastern Maine Class A champion that has won its last five meetings against the Rams — including the 2006 and 2007 regional finals, but the Rams are beginning a four-week stretch against opponents that all are off to 2-0 starts in the Bulldogs, Edward Little of Auburn, Skowhegan and Lewiston.

Bangor, meanwhile, is 1-1 after spotting Brunswick a 20-0 first-half lead last Friday before a late rally fell short.

“We’ve gotten better since then,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett. “The kids are proud, and they watched the game film.”

The Bangor-Lawrence game highlights a Week 3 full of competitive matchups, as parity has become the common denominator in Classes A, B and C through the first quarter of the regular season.

Lawrence Bulldogs (2-0) vs. Bangor Rams (1-1), 7 p.m. Friday, Cameron Stadium, Bangor: Lawrence has yielded just one touchdown in victories over Mt. Blue of Farmington and Cony of Augusta.

“They’ve been the best defen-sive team in the league over the last two years, and this year they don’t look any different,” said Hackett. “It’s a new year and they have different names, but it looks the same.”

Bangor will seek to challenge that Lawrence defense with offensive balance featuring sophomore QB Joe Seccareccia. The Rams also will be tested at the line of scrimmage, where Lawrence boasts the edge in both size and experience.

“We have to block the front and have good first-down production,” said Hackett. “Lawrence is very patient when they’re attacking other people offensively, and you have to be the same against them. You have to take what the defense gives you, and you can’t be greedy.”

Brewer Witches (1-1) vs. Mt. Blue Cougars (0-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Caldwell Field, Farmington: Brewer faces its first road test after ending a long Class A winless streak in emphatic fashion Friday.

Coach Don Farnham’s club used its double-wing offense to rush for 401 yards in a 36-0 rout of Oxford Hills of South Paris, with Billy Bissell (10 carries, 130 yards) and Pat McEwen (11-121) leading the way.

The Witches also forced three Oxford Hills fumbles and hope to continue that opportunistic play against a young Mt. Blue squad that has managed just one touchdown in losses to Lawrence of Fairfield and Edward Little of Auburn. Mt. Blue will play at home for the first time this season.

Foxcroft Academy Ponies (1-1) vs. Bucksport Golden Bucks (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Carmichael Field, Bucksport: Foxcroft bounced back from its season-opening loss to Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln with a dominant 54-0 victory over Dexter that featured coach Paul Withee’s club scoring 41 second-quarter points.

Bucksport is seeking its second straight home-field victory after a 33-18 win against Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield on Friday. Senior Nate Warren was at it again for the Bucks, rushing for 206 yards and two touchdowns to bring his two-game total to 528 rushing yards and five TDs.

Gardiner Tigers (1-0) vs. Hampden Academy Broncos (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Hampden: Hampden will attempt to match its 2007 win total against the defending Class B state champions.

Hampden features senior QB Shawn Smith, who rushed for three touchdowns and passed for a fourth in a 46-0 rout of Maranacook of Readfield last Friday. The Broncos’ defense has allowed just one touch-down, with leading tacklers including Justin Rodgerson and Rodney Murray.

Waterville Purple Panthers (2-0) vs. Mount Desert Island Trojans (1-1), 7 p.m. Friday, Bar Harbor: MDI continues its rugged early-season schedule coming off a 22-15 win at Morse of Bath. Terrence Jones had three interceptions — one he returned for a touch-down — and recovered a fumbled punt, while Odane Gaynor led a balanced offense with 96 rushing yards.

Linebacker Jasper Cousins anchors MDI’s defense, while the Trojans will be challenged by a Waterville defense that has yielded just one touchdown in wins over Morse and Nokomis of Newport.

Mattanawcook Academy Lynx (1-1) vs. Orono Red Riots (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Orono: This will be a game of offensive contrasts, with Mattanawcook relying on a spread formation that has featured the passing of Josh Pelkey (120 yards, 3 TDs) while Orono features a rushing-oriented attack that includes four of the LTC’s top eight ground-gainers through two weeks, a contingent led by Blaine Silk (293 rushing yards, four TDs).

Rockland Tigers (1-1) vs. John Bapst Crusaders (1-1), 7 p.m. Saturday, Cameron Stadium, Bangor: This game shapes up as a high-scoring encounter, given that John Bapst has averaged 32.5 points per contest while Rockland is scoring at a 40.5 ppg clip.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...