“Once upon a time,” said Sanford Coach Mike Fallon, “the Biddeford-Sanford game was a pretty big deal.”

And it should be again Friday night in Sanford when the two old York County football rivals meet for the first time since 2014.

Biddeford, which shifted to Class B in 2015, is 3-0 and in first place in Class B South. The Tigers have rolled up a 124-47 scoring advantage, beating two former Class A teams (Massabesic and Portland) and then defeating Westbrook, 69-18.

But Sanford, 2-1 in Class A South, is clearly the best team the Tigers will have faced to this point.The Spartans led at halftime in a season-0pening loss to defending state champion Thornton Academy, then posted convincing wins against Oxford Hills (35-17) and at Edward Little (42-7).

“I feel like this week is a big opportunity for us to show what we can do,” said  Biddeford senior quarterback Marc Reali. “Not only for what we can do in Class B but against a team from Class A. They are a very good team. I mean, we (saw) them play with TA. They stuck with TA. I feel like this is our opportunity to show what we’re made of.”

With a nine-game regular season, each Class A team plays two games against Class B opponents. If Sanford wants to keep on pace for home-field advantage to start the playoffs, it needs to beat a quality Class B team, much like Thornton’s win against Marshwood and Bonny Eagle’s victory against Kennebunk.

“This is a big game on a lot of different levels,” said Fallon. “You look at the history of both schools. It’s a big Crabtree (points) game on both sides. And from our perspective, we’ve got a team coming to town that hasn’t lost yet and we better be ready. They play to the whistle and they compete.”

Conversely, if Biddeford can knock off the one Class A team on its schedule, the Tigers gain an advantage over other Class B contenders. Regardless of the outcome, Biddeford Coach Brian Curit is glad to rekindle an old rivalry.

“It’s good for football. It’s good for Sanford and Biddeford. It’s good for our communities,” Curit said. “I think we’ll be competitive, no doubt about it. That’s what we expect.”

Both teams have shown a diversified attack that features several returning starters at skill positions. For Biddeford, junior fullback Aidan Donovan leads a ground game that includes backs Kurtis Edgerton and Alex McAlevey. Delano Voccio-Hale and Scott Kelly are big-play threats. Reali started for Cheverus as a junior before returning to Biddeford.

“Marc coming back, he’s had a very good year so far,” Curit said. “He’s a good quarterback and we hope he’ll be a great quarterback by the time he’s done.”

Fallon said he almost hesitates to list Sanford senior quarterback Xavier Levine’s statistics in fear of jinxing things: Levine has completed 26 of 29 passes for 382 yards with five TDs and no interceptions. He’s also Sanford’s leading rusher (26 carries, 277 yards, two TDs).

“He’s very analytical. He’s done a great job,” Fallon said.

But it’s not all Levine, according to Fallon. Caleb Saucier rushed for two touchdowns against Edward Little. Rylan Bougie gives the Spartans a power inside runner. Ethan Shain is a big-play threat running and receiving from the slot, and 6-foot-5 tight end Leyton Bickford is a prime target.

The line has been led by 6-5, 285-pound Reese Boucher.

“He’s probably the most special lineman we’ve had in a long time,” Fallon said.

SOUTH PORTLAND is off to a 2-1 start and hosts Massabesic, also 2-1, on Friday. Both squads are in their first season in Class B South after one-win seasons last fall in Class A.

First-year South Portland Coach Aaron Filieo says it’s way too early to start thinking about playoff implications.

“We’re still trying to progress and are focused on trying to get better and evaluating our guys,” Filieo said. “To start looking at standings and playoffs, that’s not really on our radar at this point.”

The Red Riots are coming off a 49-7 win against Noble. Senior quarterback Anthony Poole continued to impress with two touchdown runs and a touchdown pass. South Portland is also working in junior Luca Desjardins at the quarterback position. Senior running back Keenan Jones gained over 150 yards and two touchdowns against Noble. A tri-captain, Jones is small in stature, listed at 5-foot-6, 150 pounds.

“He’s a strong kid. He’s fast. A hard worker,” Filieo said.

INJURIES HAVE had an impact on Deering for a second straight season. As their 13-6 loss at Massabesic wound down last Friday, the Rams were without six two-way starters from their opening day lineup. Then quarterback James Opio sprained his wrist on his throwing arm while making a touchdown-saving tackle after throwing an interception.

“Last year we had the same issues but it was our schedule,” said Deering Coach Rob Susi. “We got beat up by the schedule last year. This year it’s just been unlucky I guess.”

Opio’s status for Friday’s game at Noble is still uncertain, Susi said.


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