Brunswick offensive and defensive linemen stretch during a linemen-only practice last week at Brunswick High School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Brunswick football coach Dan Cooper didn’t hold back when asked how the first week of practice went.

“It wasn’t as good as we would’ve liked,” he said. “It’s really tough for these kids and getting back into football. The hitting and two-a-days have been a challenge for them to find a routine.”

Numbers are down across the board in the program. With just 42 players out for football, Cooper and staff have had to adjust practice plans.

“It’s certainly an adjustment and one that we’re still working on,” said Cooper, who has 16 seniors on his roster this season.

Brunswick played Kennebunk in a controlled scrimmage on Saturday. The Dragons will face Oxford Hills in a preseason game Friday before they open the season Sept. 3 at Windham.

“A lot of these kids haven’t played varsity football before, so it’s good for them to get experience against two quality opponents before the season begins,” said Cooper. “We should have plenty of (game) film to watch afterward.”

 

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Defending eight-man state champion Mt. Ararat held its first scrimmage of the season on Saturday against Boothbay at the Hyde School in Bath.

“I saw a lot of good things and a lot of things that need some work,” said Mt. Ararat head coach Frank True. “Our underclassmen group looked strong and have been learning at a quick pace.”

True said that there are 25 players in the program, including 10 freshmen. A full junior varsity schedule will be critical to their development.

Morse football players grab a drink after a workout during the opening day of preseason last week in Bath. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“To me developing the underclassmen is everything,” said True. “We should be in a good spot to develop our guys without throwing them into a situation where it’s hard for them to be successful.”

The Eagles are searching for a preseason game later this week, after Dirigo had to cancel because of COVID-19 safety concerns. Mt. Ararat is set to open Sept. 3 at Spruce Mountain in Jay.

 

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Morse is gearing up for its first season in eight-man. The Shipbuilders will play in the large-school North division and will play a schedule full of long bus trips.

“Well, we’re going to learn how to get off the bus and play a complete game of football,” said Darling. “Some of the teams we’ll see are schools we haven’t seen in 10 years; some we’ve never seen.”

Morse will play three of its seven games on the road. It travels to Mount Desert Island (Bar Harbor) on Sept. 10, Orono on Sept. 24 and Camden Hills on Oct. 8. Home opponents include Mattanawcook Academy, Mount View, Ellsworth/Sumner, and Waterville.

The Shipbuilders will travel about 642 miles for their games this season.

“While it will be different, I don’t think we’re at a disadvantage because of this,” said Darling. “Everyone behind the 8-ball and will be learning about themselves, we just have to travel a little further than years’ past.”

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