H.S. football takes on new look, new feel this fall

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

In years past, if Lake Region and Fryeburg Academy football teams had suffered through dismal seasons, one club could end the year on a high note by winning the Pleasant Mountain Cup.

This year, the high note comes in Week 1.

Class B underwent a major shake-up as the Campbell Conference welcomed new teams — Marshwood, Westbrook and Spruce Mountain (Class C powers Jay and Livermore combined) — and saw Poland drop down to Class C.

The conference also went to a tier system (based on performance over the last five years) and expanded the playoff field from four to eight.

The good news is neither Lake Region or Fryeburg Academy will see powerhouse Mountain Valley in the regular season. Meanwhile, Fryeburg picks up former Class A Westbrook (2-6 a year ago), while Lake Region lands Spruce Mountain (which is sporting a “physical” front line and “pretty good speed” to run Coach Mark Bonnevie’s spread offense) and Marshwood. The Hawks (2-6) owned the Campbell Conference in the mid-1980s, then moved up to Class A.

FA Coach David Turner said the arrival of new schools does not change the approach preparing for an opponent.

“You still scout and prepare for your opponent as with every other week,” he said. “We just don’t have the past years/games to use as a reference point.”

When the schedule makers developed the new two-year schedule, they penciled the two local rivals on Opening Weekend. A good or bad idea?

“It doesn’t make a difference to me. I do think it is neat that Fryeburg Academy and Lake Region will be the first game of the 2011 football season,” Coach Turner said.

Last year, the two teams met in Naples with the Lakers taking back The Cup for the first time in several years.

This year, the game rotates back to the Academy, but with a different twist. The game will be played this Friday afternoon, not Saturday.

Fryeburg Academy Athletic Director Sue Thurston said the decision to play at 4 p.m. on Friday rather than Saturday at 1:30 p.m. — the traditional start time — was three-fold. One, college teams Castleton and Plymouth play Saturday afternoon featuring former local gridmen and some current players will be headed to watch that game. Secondly, Thurston said, “We’re trying to create a crown environment for a rival game that happens to be opening day.” Thirdly, Thurston said the Friday game allows families time to travel for the long Labor Day weekend.

Normally, fans can watch the game from the track area, but this year, spectators will be a little farther back from the football field. Fryeburg is installing a new track, which surrounds the football field. Spectators will need to stay outside of barriers positioned near the track, Thurston said.

Regardless of whether the Pleasant Mountain Cup is played at the start or end of the season, one can expect a lot of emotion from both teams.

Lakers look to ‘compete’

PREVIEW: VARSITY FOOTBALL

Head Coach: Jason Simmons, third year

Assistant Coaches: Chris Nelson, Jayson Bennett, David Skillern, Erik Jackobs

Key returning players: Seniors James Anderson (linebacker/running back) and Jacob Anderson (linebacker/running back), Kamen Scott (linebacker/guard); Sophomores Cody Gibbons (linebacker/running back), Jonah Simmons (linebacker/running back).

Top newcomers: Juniors Mike Triglione (linebacker/tight end), Lewis Morton (defensive end/tight end) and Kyle Stevens (center/running back); Freshmen Donnie Eaton (defensive end/tackle) and Quinn Piland (safety/quarterback).

Varsity roster: Seniors Ben Fillmore (tackle/guard), Jake Fleck (tackle), Damien McKeil (guard/tackle), Ryan Skillern (linebacker/quarterback), Eli Szeto (center/running back); Juniors Joey Austin (linebacker/guard), David Cosgrove (tackle), Derrick Douglass (center), Jaried Pierce (tackle); Sophomores Nolan Abrams (tackle/guard), Brian Brooks (tackle), Austin Chamberlain (tackle/guard), McKae Curran (center/running back); Sean Edwards (defensive end/tight end), Cameron Harriman (linebacker/guard), Tucker Irish (tackle/guard), Richard Legere (center/running back), Sage McKeil (linebacker/running back), Drew Shane (defensive end/tackle); Freshmen Cole Jakobs (center/quarterback) and Dylan King (tackle).

Players to watch: Kamen Scott and James and Jacob Anderson for their physicality and toughness; Jonah Simmons and Cody Gibbons for their speed.

Team strengths: Physicality and toughness.

Team weaknesses: Young and inexperienced.

Based on what you’ve seen thus far, what are you most encouraged by? The selflessness and the “Team First” attitude.

Three keys to the season? Staying healthy, staying on top of grades and remaining united.

Three goals? Top build on last season’s success, gain experience for the coming years, and keep our pride.

Season opener: The Lakers travel this Friday afternoon to Fryeburg Academy to meet the Raiders. Game time is 4 p.m. The Lakers first home game is next Friday night, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. against Greely.

Raiders: youth movement

PREVIEW: VARSITY FOOTBALL

Head Coach: David Turner

Assistant Coaches: David Jones, Jim Cummings, Preston Jones, Jim Thurston

Key returning players: Seniors Bobby Ramsay (offensive/defensive lineman), Kirk Hubbard (running back/linebacker), Tyler Nadeau (wide receiver/defensive back); Junior Andrew Rascoe (quarterback/defensive back) and Kyle Bonner (running back/defensive back).

Top newcomers: Sophomore Greg Sargent (offensive/defensive lineman), junior Divine Dockery (running back/linebacker) and junior Jake Thurston (running back/linebacker).

Players to watch: The offensive and defensive lines. Only one returning starter from last year’s team and few have any varsity experience.

Strengths: Though still a young group, the skilled positions have some overall depth. “We hope they will learn and improve quickly. This will permit us to substitute more freely,” Coach Turner said.

Weaknesses: Many Raiders currently lack varsity playing experience.

Based on what you’ve seen thus far, what are you most encouraged by? “Our three seniors have shown great leadership and worked extremely hard this preseason,” Coach Turner said. “The rest of the team has followed suit. Hopefully, this will allow us to improve quickly.”

Keys to the season: Development of the offensive and defensive lines, improve quarterback and skilled position play, and improve team continuity.

Three goals: Improve each week, stay healthy and compete every week.

Season opener: The Raiders host Lake Region this Friday, Sept. 2 at 4 p.m. Next week, FA travels to Gray-New Gloucester for a Friday tilt against the Patriots at 7 p.m.

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