Coming off a season of 7-on-7 flag football, there would be no easing into the 2021 season for any high school football team in Maine. For four of the top teams in the state, the schedule-makers made certain of that.

Week 2 provides a pair of games featuring traditional powers. On Friday night, Bonny Eagle plays at Scarborough in a matchup of two of the contenders in Class A. On Saturday, perennial Class A juggernaut Thornton Academy plays at Marshwood, winner of five of the last six Class B state titles, including the last three in a row.

“We like playing these big games. We like it whether it’s early or late in the season. It gets your kids the feel of a big game. We’re fortunate to get one early,” said Thornton Coach Kevin Kezal, whose Trojans have won four Class A state titles since 2012.

Each of these four teams is coming off a lopsided victory in Week 1. Thornton defeated Sanford 47-7 and Marshwood was a 45-2 winner over Massabesic. Bonny Eagle won 49-20 at Edward Little in its opener, and Scarborough won at South Portland, 40-3.

Scarborough Coach Packy Malia said his team is eager to face a strong opponent like Bonny Eagle.

“I think it’s good to have a big test like this early, especially with the way our schedule is set up with tough games late,” Malia said. “I think this game is going to tell us a lot about ourselves.”

The Red Storm need to clean up some things on offense, Malia said, pointing to a turnover on the team’s first play of the season. Defense and special teams were excellent against South Portland. Jayden Flaker scored on a 91-yard kick return, and Griffin Denbow returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown.

The Red Storm will need to be efficient across the board against the Scots.

“It’s a lot of new faces, but it looks like the great Bonny Eagle teams of the past,” said Malia, who became the Red Storm’s head coach in 2020.

When Marshwood and Thornton played in 2019, each was coming off a state championship. Thornton won 28-27, rallying from a 14-point deficit and then stuffing the Hawks on a 2-point conversion try with 18 seconds left. Even with new players operating Marshwood’s wing-T offense, the Hawks will be a tough opponent, Kezal said.

“They do a great job with their wing-T offense. It’s kind of like a wing-T on steroids,” he said. “They look a lot like they did two years ago on film.”

When they met two years ago, Marshwood and Thornton were veteran squads. This season, Marshwood’s roster is full of freshmen and sophomores, said Coach Alex Rotsko.

“I think we’d rather get (Thornton) later in the season,” he said, citing that experience factor. “It’s typical Thornton. With the numbers they have and the size of their school, you’re not going to see any players you can pick on at any position. They have good football payers everywhere.”

A big game early in the season isn’t just great for the players, Kezal said. Fans love it, too. Kezal said his team drew inspiration from the enthusiastic fans at last week’s game.

“Friday night, all of a sudden there’s an atmosphere. It’s good to be back,” Kezal said.

WITH COVID-19 cases surging throughout the state, the high school football schedule continues to be in flux.

For the second week in a row, Leavitt is caught in the middle of it. The Hornets’ scheduled game at Hermon on Friday was canceled as Hermon deals with a COVID-19 outbreak at the school. Hermon also was forced to cancel last week’s game at Cape Elizabeth.

Also canceled Friday is an eight-man large school game between Camden Hills and Ellsworth/Sumner because of positive COVID-19 tests in the Ellsworth/Sumner program.

For Leavitt, the cancellation is the continuation of the frustrating start to the season. The Hornets’ game last week against Maine Central Institute was canceled when COVID-19 prevented the Huskies from playing. Leavitt Coach Mike Hathaway said his team is staying focused and will be ready to play when the opportunity comes.

“We are happy to be able to practice. (We) couldn’t do that last year and we are trying to just stay ready for whenever our next game is and whoever that opponent might be,” Hathaway said. “Not the outcome we wanted, but the kids are focused on being the same team with the same work habits regardless of the circumstances.”

Leavitt is now scheduled to open its season at Wells on Sept. 17.

CHEVERUS Coach Mike Vance said the Stags’ game against Maranacook has been rescheduled for 4 p.m. Monday at Cheverus. The game was to have been played Friday night at Maranacook’s Ricky Gibson Field of Dreams.

Maranacook canceled last week’s opener against Mountain Valley because of COVID-19 issues. Cheverus is coming off a 54-8 win over Yarmouth.

GORHAM SENIOR Kyle Skolfield is still being evaluated following a knee injury late in the first quarter of Friday’s 16-6 win over Falmouth/Greely, Rams Coach Sam Morrison said.

A senior running back/linebacker, Skolfield was injured on a carry with 1:22 to play in the first quarter and was helped off the field. He watched the second half on crutches with his right leg wrapped.

At the time of his injury, Skolfield had four carries for 26 yards. Gorham (1-0) will play at Noble (1-0) at 6 p.m. Friday.

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