The South is dominating the North in 2017.

Crossover games were scheduled in Class B, C and D for the first time in several years. Teams were rated prior to the season with the intention of creating even matchups for crossover games.

It hasn’t worked out.

Through five weeks, the South has won 22 of 25 games against North teams from the same class. Two of the North’s wins are from Class A teams, which have played crossovers since 2013. The other came in Class D when Dexter beat Dirigo.

In Class B, the disparity has been glaring. South teams are 9-0, and their average margin of victory is 24.3.

“We’re hoping to get the North on the board this week,” said Skowhegan Coach Ryan Libby.

Skowhegan (3-2) plays Biddeford (3-2) at Waterhouse Field. On paper, it looks like a good matchup between two slightly undersized teams with potent offenses. But Skowhegan’s first crossover didn’t go well, when Marshwood went north on Labor Day weekend and won 55-12. Biddeford, fifth in the Class B South Heal point standings, lost 35-21 at Marshwood.

Other lopsided results include Marshwood over Lawrence, 42-0; Kennebunk’s wins against Messalonskee (32-7) and Brunswick (35-0), and Falmouth’s wins against Cony (41-19) and Messalonskee (42-14).

In retrospect, the domination was predictable.

In the North, three-time regional and 2016 state champion Brunswick and two-time regional runner-up Brewer took big graduation hits. Skowhegan and Cony graduated experienced quarterbacks in Garrett McSweeney and Taylor Heath, and Libby is a first-year head coach at Skowhegan.

Conversely, South regional champ Kennebunk returned almost its entire team, Falmouth has three-year quarterback Jack Bryant and a host of other veteran players, and Marshwood had eight starters returning on defense.

So, did the coaches see the South’s dominance coming?

“I’m guessing no,” said Marshwood Coach Alex Rotsko. “I’m not sure anybody expected it.”

Libby thinks the South’s dominance this season is an anomaly.

“Since (realignment in 2013), the state games are 2-2. I’m hoping this is just a year where the South has really strong teams, and it’s not a perennial thing,” Libby said.

In Class C, the South has a 4-0 edge; in Class D it’s 5-1. In Class A the South’s advantage is 4-2.

Crossover scheduling has worked better in interclass games – lower-class teams have a 12-10 advantage. Eight of the games have been decided by 10 or fewer points.

MARSHWOOD (5-0) faces its toughest test yet when it hosts Falmouth (4-1) at 6 p.m. Friday.

The Hawks won consecutive state titles in 2014 and 2015 but were inconsistent last season, losing to Kennebunk in a regional semifinal to finish 6-4.

“I think we’ve done a better job focusing from a learning standpoint,” Rotsko said.

Junior quarterback Tommy Springer has “exceeded expectations” in his first year as the starter. The offense includes three returning playmakers in Joe Taran, Kyle Glidden and sophomore Justin Bryant, running behind a big line that includes right tackle Ian Dures (6-4, 260), right guard Drew Gregor (6-4, 235) and center Seth Aumann (6-5, 320).

The Hawks have had to deal with a number of injuries and a rampant flu bug.

“It seems we’re missing one or two guys every game, and that one game (against Biddeford), we had six or seven guys out that would have played for sure, but we’re lucky none have been serious to end a season,” Rotsko said.

“If we ever get everyone 100 percent healthy at the same time, then we could have some room for improvement.”

A Marshwood win would likely set up a showdown of unbeatens at Kennebunk next Saturday. Kennebunk is at Mt. Ararat (2-3) this week.

ANOTHER GAME of significance is Cape Elizabeth (4-1) at Leavitt (5-0). For the Capers, it’s the start of a daunting three-game stretch, followed by games against Fryeburg Academy (4-1) and at York (3-2). Cape’s loss was to old rival Wells, 14-7, when it was hurt by penalties.

“We found out a lot when we played Wells and things will crystallize for us as the next three weeks unfold,” said Cape Elizabeth Coach Aaron Filieo.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: SteveCCraig

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