With two weeks left in the Western Class A regular season, the top four ranked teams in the Crabtree point standings are in the playoffs. The last four playoff spots are up for grabs among seven teams.

Cheverus, the defending state champion, has six wins while the other three playoff-bound teams – South Portland, Deering and Thornton Academy – have five each.

For the other seven teams in contention, the final two weeks are huge. Bonny Eagle, Massabesic, Windham, Portland, Gorham, Sanford and Scarborough still have shots, some better than others, to make the playoffs. There are several big games remaining, starting tonight.

The Crabtree points give a team a value by combining its winning percentage with their opponents’ winning percentages.

Bonny Eagle, which will be home against Deering tonight, has won three straight to even its record at 3-3. The Scots then finish up with Windham.

After both losing last week, Massabesic and Gorham meet tonight in Waterboro, both in need of a win. The Mustangs are 4-2; Gorham is 3-3.

Like Bonny Eagle, Windham has come on strong, winning three straight after losing its first three. The Eagles are home tonight against South Portland, then close with Bonny Eagle. A win in either game could get Windham in.

Portland is home against Cheverus tonight, then plays South Portland a week from tonight in the Battle of the Bridge. The Bulldogs have played one of the league’s tougher schedule based on their opponents’ winning percentages. That could help if they finish with a 3-5 record.

After Massabesic, Gorham plays Scarborough. Sanford plays Kennebunk on Saturday and finishes with Massabesic. Scarborough, plagued by injuries, has lost three straight but could gain enough Crabtree points to make the playoffs with wins over Thornton Academy on Saturday and Gorham next week.

“You can drive yourself crazy figuring out all the different scenarios,” said Portland Coach Mike Bailey.

“The good thing about the Crabtree system is that a 2-4 team like us still has a chance of making the playoffs.”

THE CHIEF REASONS for Westbrook dropping from Class A to Class B were to be more competitive and have a chance to make the playoffs.

Mission accomplished.

The Blue Blazes have been more competitive, and with two games remaining and a No. 7 ranking, are in position to make the playoffs. After an 0-3 start, Westbrook has won two of its last three.

“With a 1-3 start in Class A, it wouldn’t be realistic to make the playoffs,” said Coach Jeff Guerette. “I think we have a great chance of getting in. Playing the toughest schedule in the Campbell Conference gives us an advantage. We’re excited about having two meaningful games in Weeks 7 and 8. It’s a different situation than we’ve been in.”

The Blazes opened with losses to Mountain Valley, Wells and Greely. They beat Fryeburg Academy, lost to Cape Elizabeth by a point and beat York 35-14 last week. Westbrook will be home against Falmouth tonight.

“We’ve had a full complement of players since the Wells game,” said Guerette. “But more than that is that the players have bought into the idea of playing physical football. We’ve been very competitive in the last three weeks.”
    

BACK IN LATE spring, SMAA athletic directors Gordie Salls of Sanford, Gary Hoyt of Cheverus, Bill LeRoy of Deering and Joe Kilmartin of McAuley faced the task of devising a schedule after Marshwood and Westbrook moved to Class B. Their departures left the league with 14 football schools.

“We had a 16-team schedule that was very good,” said Salls, the SMAA football liason.

“We had to reconfigure the schedule. Trying to make it into one league and doing away with the Cumberland and York county divisions was difficult. That meant some teams that normally play each other weren’t going to, which bothered some people. We tried to keep as many rivalries intact as we could. The committee gathered a lot of information from a lot of people.”

Before this season, teams played within their counties with a weekend set aside for crossover games.

Salls said their decisions in the new schedule were based on what was good for the players, and making it as equitable as possible for struggling programs.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

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