AUGUSTA

Mid-coast high school football teams are on the move.

Mt. Ararat and Morse high schools will become new rivals now that a Maine Principals Association panel has reclassified high school football teams from a three-class format into four classes.

The MPA announced the new conference makeup Wednesday on the heels of a reclassification proposal that took four years to develop.

“I feel this will create new, exciting rivalries, like Morse and Mt. Ararat playing each season,” MPA Assistant Executive Director Mike Burnham said.

If approved by the schools — and then the full MPA, which will decide by late March — the new system will place 76 high school football teams into four classes: two, nine-team conferences in Classes A, B and C; and two, 11-team conferences in Class D.

 

 

Mt. Ararat and Morse are on a collision course to compete in Western Class B.

After an 0-9 campaign this season, Mt. Ararat requested to drop from Class A to Class C, but the committee decided to move the school only down one class, to B.

Because Mt. Ararat requested the move and MPA approved, the Eagles will be ineligible for the playoffs over the next two seasons.

Lisbon High School also is moving — from Class C to Class D — but still will compete against old friends Yarmouth, Oak Hill, Winthrop and Boothbay high schools.

For Mt. Ararat, it’s a second go at stepping down.

Back in the late 1970s, Mt. Ararat went from Class A, to Class B to Class C, the final season in 1983 at 0-9 under the legendary Doc Hersom.

In that 1983 season, the Eagles were outscored 319-68 and disbanded after an 11- year run, which started in 1973 with a 1-8 record.

Along the way, Mt. Ararat was held winless in five of those seasons and was riding a 25-game losing streak.

For 12 years the Eagles were without gridiron play until a John Dumont-led group, whose motto was “A Whole New Ball Game,” revived the sport in 1997.

Back-to-back “club” years followed against teams like Hebron, Lisbon, Rockland and Morse, until football became an official sport at Mt. Ararat again in 1999.

Since 1999, the Eagles have gone 31-85 with one winning record — 6-2 in 2002 — and two .500 marks — 4-4 in 2000 and 4-4 in 2007. Its only postseason contest was a 40-20 quarterfinal loss to Skowhegan in 2007.

Mt. Ararat currently owns a 27-game losing streak over four seasons. Last year alone, it was outscored 409-69 with an undermanned and undersized team under head coach Frank True. Since 1973, Mt. Ararat football has gone 43- 169-1.

Morse, which competed in Eastern B, makes a lateral move and will see Falmouth, Class B state finalist Marshwood, Kennebunk, Greely, Westbrook, Fryeburg Academy, and York on its schedule.

Morse had been a Class A competitor for years before moving to Class B in 1993.

Brunswick is likely to remain in Eastern A.

Freeport will stay put in Western C, but loses each of its Campbell Conference rivals with most, including Lisbon, heading to Western D.

TIMES RECORD sports editor George Almasi contributed to this story.


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