It just doesn’t look right. Two-time regional champion Portland is at the bottom of the Class A North football standings, seventh among seven teams, with an 0-3 record.

Scroll down to Class B North and there’s another anomaly: Three-time regional and defending state champion Brunswick is also 0-3.

Both teams graduated many talented players, but in the preseason they were still being pegged as league favorites by fellow coaches.

Portland Coach Jim Hartman said when a team has high turnover among starters, the short preseason makes preparation difficult. The first four days of practice are either no-contact or limited contact, and his team’s first scrimmage was on Day 6.

“We didn’t have any time to develop. We practiced five days and then we (scrimmaged) Scarborough,” Hartman said. “It hasn’t affected us in the past because we had a lot of experience. Next year, when we have 17-18 seniors coming back, we’ll be the team with the edge.”

“Then, once you get into a real game, teams like us and Portland, the other teams are frothing at the mouth to get a piece of you and they don’t cut you any slack,” said Brunswick Coach Dan Cooper. “They’re happy to kick you when you’re down.”

Both coaches believe their teams will recover from the slow start. As Hartman said, “the film wasn’t that bad,” from last Friday’s 68-14 loss to Bonny Eagle. “I think by the end of the season, we’ll be just fine.”

Brunswick’s last two losses – 35-28 against Biddeford and 26-14 at Cony – were competitive, and sophomore running back Owen Richardson has rushed for 400 yards.

The outlook for both teams is helped by the fact that most of the teams in Class A and Class B North will qualify for the playoffs. Only one team will miss out in Class A North, and six of the eight teams in Class B North will qualify.

“The challenge is to not let the kids get too down on themselves,” Cooper said. “All you’ve got to do is win a couple of games to get into the playoffs.”

But there is a sense of urgency to get the first win.

Portland hosts Windham (2-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium, with rival Cheverus waiting next week in a game that has been moved from Saturday to Friday afternoon (3:30 p.m.) because of Yom Kippur. Brunswick hosts Skowhegan (1-2) at 7 p.m. Friday, then is at undefeated Kennebunk in a rematch of last year’s state championship game.

“We don’t want to be 0-4 heading down to Kennebunk. We’re kind of circling the wagons this week,” Cooper said.

Deering, another 0-3 team, is on its third quarterback.

The Rams lost to Class A South powers Scarborough (48-0) and Thornton Academy (55-12), then lost 20-6 last week to South Portland.

Starting quarterback Ben Trefethen went down early against Scarborough. Backup Jack Lynch was injured early against South Portland, and sophomore Travis Soule took over.

“He did very well last week and he’d only taken 10 to 12 snaps the night before in practice,” said Deering Coach Jason Jackson.

Jackson said mental mistakes, more than quarterback play, are holding back the Rams.

Deering hosts Sanford (1-2) on Friday.

On the flip side is Lake Region, which is 2-1 in Class C South after consecutive shutouts against Freeport (12-0) and Gray-New Gloucester (25-0). The Lakers, who host winless Yarmouth on Friday night, have historically struggled and haven’t won more than two games in five previous seasons under Coach Brian Jahna.

“The football IQ is better. We have strong senior leadership, and they’re believing in what we do and allowing themselves to be coached,” Jahna said. “With two (wins) in a row, they believe they can win, and that’s battling tradition. That’s what the guys are overcoming.”

Seniors Andrew Douglass (RB) and True Meyers (TE/DB) have played well. Jahna also noted the contributions of Brandon Sargent and Ethan McMurray, two sophomore backs who selflessly moved to the offensive line.

“Brandon had a broken thumb and had a hard cast on it, so the first week we moved him to offensive tackle and he weighs maybe 150, 160 pounds,” Jahna said. “Ethan was going to be our backup quarterback. He knew we had an opening (at right guard) and he convinced me he could do it, and wanted to do it, and the team needed him to do it, and he’s done a great job.”

Two small-division games should go a long way toward determining the top seeds in Class C and Class D South.

Two explosive Class C offenses meet when Leavitt (3-0) plays at Fryeburg Academy (3-0) on Saturday. Only Bonny Eagle (171) has scored more points than Leavitt (147), which scored on its first six offensive plays in a 73-0 win against Belfast in Week 2. Madison/Carrabec has also scored 147 points.

Fryeburg has put up 40 or more points twice, including last week’s 44-6 win against Poland, and also has a 20-0 win at York.

Fryeburg is a veteran bunch that went 7-3 a year ago and returns three key scoring threats – backs Jared Chisari and Cody Gullikson and quarterback Oscar Saunders.

Leavitt was in Class B a year ago, going 2-7 with several close losses.

In Class D, Madison/Carrabec (3-0) gets its first big test Friday night, at Wells (3-0). Wells, last year’s Class C state champion, got through a slugfest with Cape Elizabeth last week, winning 14-7. The Warriors shut out their first two opponents. Madison/Carrabec has outscored its three opponents by a margin of 147-36.

Lisbon, the other 3-0 team in Class D South, is at Class E Sacopee Valley.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: SteveCCraig