The last time the Noble High football team started a season 2-0 was 2005. The Knights haven’t made a playoff appearance since 2006.

“The seniors on this year’s team hadn’t started kindergarten the last time Noble was 2-0,” said Kelly Smith, the Knights’ second-year coach.

Now they want to make it three straight Friday night at Biddeford (1-1).

“Biddeford, I think our boys are going to give them a run for the money. We already went on the road and had a big victory, and they’re excited to have another,” Smith said. “They want it. They want to be the first conference team that lets them lose on their brand-new field.”

This is nearly uncharted territory for Noble. The Knights had a memorable run to the 1997 Class A title and four straight playoff seasons from 2003-06 when Massabesic Athletic Director Brendan Scully was the head coach.

Since Scully left, consistent losing and frequent coaching changes have defined Noble football. The Knights won 16 games over 11 seasons from 2007-2017 (11-53 in Class A from 2007-14; 5-17 after shifting to Class B) and Smith was the fifth head coach in seven seasons.

Noble won Smith’s first game last fall, beating Gray-New Gloucester (a Class C team that finished 0-8), then lost seven straight.

This year Noble backed up its season-opening 14-0 home win against Greely with a 39-8 victory last week against Messalonskee at Colby College.

“Last year we had a very young team. We were putting in a new offense, a new defense and 75 percent of the starters were sophomores,” Smith said. “Now pretty much every single guy starting is an upperclassmen and they’re going into games knowing we can win.”

Greely (see below) and Messalonskee are struggling with roster size and/or experience. But there are reasons to believe Noble can maintain success.

First, the Knights have a relatively weak schedule, avoiding B South power Kennebunk and last year’s finalist Falmouth (they are at rival Marshwood in Week 6). Even with a loss Friday, a 6-2 finish is realistic.

Second, they have playmakers. Against Messalonskee, junior Matt Beerworth had scoring runs of 54 and 49 yards, senior tight end Eric Griffin scored on a 69-yard sweep, and junior quarterback Brandon Drake threw his third TD pass of the season. Fullback Bryson Lessard also scored. Against Greely, Drake and senior receiver Rian Sullivan hooked up for 76- and 50-yard scores.

Senior Matt Place and junior Blake Ouellette (the son of 1997 Noble quarterback Randy Ouellette) lead the linemen.

“We can attack anywhere we need to attack. It’s not a case where all we’ve got is a fullback and nothing else,” Smith said.

Most importantly, Noble is winning when it comes to building a roster, with 26 freshman.

“The year before I came, they had 34 (players). Last year we had 58. This year we’re at 65 and next year we’re hoping to jump to 75-plus,” said Smith, who expects another 20 freshmen to join the program in 2019.

Noble has five freshman and seven JV games scheduled.

“They’re a much, much-improved team, both football-wise and personnel-wise,” said Greely Coach David Higgins. “I believe they’re a much stronger team than they were last year and stronger than people give them credit for.”

GREELY WAS on the flip side of Noble’s Week 1 success. Never a program with a larger roster (usually about 35 players) the Rangers have been a consistent playoff team under Higgins. But they have a 22-man roster and 20 players dressed Friday for a home game with Mt. Blue, which emphatically upset Lawrence in its opener.

Greely bounced back in a big way, rushing for nearly 400 yards and routing Mt. Blue, 56-18.

“I probably didn’t do a good enough job coaching that first game and getting us prepared. So shame on me,” Higgins said. “As you can imagine with 20 kids, it’s a challenge.

“We were more prepared (for Mt. Blue). Our practices were a little more intense and the kids realized, this is what we’ve got and we need to make the best of it.”

Greely is at defending Class B champ Marshwood on Friday night.

THE GAME of the week looks to be Portland (2-0) at Bonny Eagle (2-0). The Bulldogs have up to 10 starters returning on both sides of the ball, led by senior back Zack Elowitch (295 rushing yards, 4 TD), receiver Ben Stasium (2 TD catches, 1 punt return TD) and Jamal Moriba (3 interceptions vs. Cheverus). The Scots have less varsity experience but senior running back Will Whyte (367 yards, 6 TDs) and junior quarterback Zach Maturo (279 yards, 3 TDs) are both working on consecutive 100-yard rushing games.

THE STATE OF THE STATE: For the second consecutive week, the average margin of victory in Maine high school football was 26.92 points. Eighteen of 39 games were decided by at least 30 points, and there was a 70-0 game – Kennebunk over Mt. Ararat. Kennebunk kicker Ryan Connors was 10 of 10 on PATs.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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Twitter: SteveCCraig