Football is a game of adjustments, and the high school teams playing for regional championships this weekend will have to be prepared to adapt to changing conditions.
Fortunately, weather won’t be a factor requiring their attention — despite the early snowstorm that dumped 1-4 inches on parts of Maine Wednesday night.
Forecasters say the snow will be gone and the sun will be shining when the Saturday games kick off.
Those schools fortunate enough to have artificial turf, like Thornton Academy, don’t even have to sacrifice outdoor practice time. They just sweep the snow off and get back to work.
“We should be all set,” Thornton Coach Kevin Kezal said of the interruption.
His Golden Trojans worked on special teams play Thursday after breaking into groups to work on fundamentals.
Bur no team that’s advanced this far is going to let weather affect final preparations. It doesn’t serve any purpose to practice on a snow-covered field. A team can’t get as much accomplished or a realistic look.
With that in mind, both Cheverus and York practiced Thursday at nearby indoor facilities.
“We’ll be outside on Friday,” said York Coach Randy Small.
“The game plan is in. It’s all polishing things up at this point.”
No. 1 Cheverus and No. 2 Thornton meet in a rematch of last year’s regional final Saturday at 12:30 at the Stags’ Boulos Stadium.
The Stags (10-0) are seeking their third straight Class A state title. They have won 34 straight games. Win No. 31 was a 28-14 decision over the Golden Trojans on Oct. 13 at Saco. In last year’s regional final, Cheverus won 21-10 after trailing 3-0 at halftime.
Top-ranked Marshwood and No. 3 York played in the opening game of the season on Aug. 31 with the Hawks winning 28-12. They will play for the Western Maine Class B title at Marshwood Saturday at 12:30.
“The snow will be gone. Saturday should be a great day,” said York’s Small.
In Western Maine Class C, top-ranked Winslow hosts No. 3 Dirigo at 1 p.m.
The only regional final being played tonight has No. 6 Waterville at No. 1 Mt. Blue at 7 for the Class B East title.
FORMER MARSHWOOD High and St. Thomas Aquinas High of Dover Coach Rod Wotton has been helping York Coach Randy Small break down game film for the last two seasons.
“Coach Wotton is a tremendous person and a library of knowledge,” said Small.
“I drop the film off at his house. He breaks the film down. We go have coffee and talk about it.”
Wotton lives near York Beach.
CHEVERUS HIGH athletic director Gary Hoyt said a portion of the football field was shoveled Thursday morning. The field has been in excellent shape all season. Cheverus has a full-time grounds keeper who maintains the field.
The boys’ and girls’ soccer teams also play at Boulos Stadium.
“If the weather turns a little colder than at first thought, the field should play as well as it did last week,” said Hoyt.
After every football game, players walk the field replacing divots. “That helps a great deal,” said Hoyt.
“We roll field the day after football games. We’ll mow it on Friday and Saturday and roll it again. It gets well-cared for.”
SPEAKING OF FIELDS, Marshwood has a great setup for football. The lighted stadium has a grass surface. The home bleachers are large with a spacious press box atop them.
The concession stand is underneath the bleachers along with locker rooms for the home and visiting teams. The football practice field is adjacent to the stadium field.
The new Marshwood High opened in the fall of 1999.
“They did a lot of good things when they designed the school,” said athletic director Rich Buzzell.
“We get a lot of positive comments on the athletic facilities. It’s like a little college campus.”
The baseball field, also first class, is at the opposite end of the school campus.
Buzzell said the gates will open at 10:45 a.m. Saturday for the game.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: