Marshwood and York will re-energize a football rivalry that lapsed for several years in the Western Class B championship game Saturday in South Berwick.
Top-ranked Marshwood (9-1) and the third-seeded Wildcats (8-2) will play at 12:30 p.m. for a spot in next Saturday's state final at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.
The teams met in the opening game of the season on Aug. 31, with Marshwood winning 28-12. Both have come a long way since.
The Hawks' only loss was to Wells, 36-6 on Sept. 28. Marshwood avenged it with a 15-13 semifinal victory.
Besides the Marshwood loss, York fell 48-34 to Westbrook on Oct. 5, then avenged it with a 21-14 semifinal win over the Blue Blazes.
Marshwood has a five-game winning streak; York has won four straight.
"No one is going to remember what happened in the first game," said York Coach Randy Small. "This game is going to come down to adjustments and execution."
Both teams have been doing those two things very well. The Wildcats have a good balance between the run and the pass; the Hawks look to run first in their wing-T offense but can throw.
The Wildcats had some injuries early in the season but are now healthy in the playoffs.
"Having the injuries allowed us to play some other kids, which has added to our depth," said Small.
York quarterback Ross Hogan has a strong and accurate arm. Defenses can't stack the line of scrimmage because of Hogan's passing.
Cameron Roll is a strong running quarterback for the Hawks. Brett Gerry is the top running back, and Dan Lizotte and Nick Janes are the other top Marshwood runners.
"Neither team is going to throw the ball 30 times," said Marshwood Coach Alex Rotsko.
Rotsko is in his first year with the Hawks after a successful career at Longmeadow, Mass., and before that at American International College in Springfield, Mass.
"We had only three to four weeks to put in a new system," said Rotsko. "There was a lot of new stuff. I think the players have a good grasp of the offense and defense. We're pretty balanced."
Rotsko said he didn't know what to expect when he arrived. Adding to his challenge was that two top players were sidelined for the season because of ACL injuries.
Marshwood and York were rivals in the Southern York County League, then the Campbell Conference until Marshwood moved to Class A in 1989. The Hawks returned to Class B last season. The teams had some memorable games in the 1970s and 1980s, and now hope to add a new chapter.
"This time of the year, Saturday games are pretty fun," said Small.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: email@example.com