Morse football coach Jason Darling, left, observes his team as players work on a tackling drill during the preseason in Bath. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

On Friday morning, Nate Priest got the call no athletic director wants. Priest, the Morse athletic director, was informed that his football team’s game against Mount Desert Island that weekend had been canceled due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

“It was very unfortunate, but it’s the time that we’re in,” Priest said.

The Shipbuilders and Trojans were set to kick off on Friday night in Bar Harbor, but the game was pushed to Saturday because of poor field conditions. Then, MDI had to cancel the game altogether, leaving Priest scrambling to find an opponent.

“I knew that Camden Hills had lost its game earlier in the week for similar reasons,” said Priest. “I picked up the phone and gave Jeff Hart (Camden Hills’ athletic director) a call immediately to tell him our situation to see if we could pull it off.”

Hart was quick to get on board.

“Once I got the call, I was in,” said Hart. “For our players to lose a game under those circumstances is demoralizing, we just wanted to find a way for them to get on the field.”

Priest said he had hoped to schedule the game in the afternoon but no officials were available. However, he was able to secure officials for a 7 p.m. kickoff on short notice, along with game personnel.

“We were hoping for an away game as we were scheduled to travel to Mount Desert Island,” he said. “Camden was unable to host due to conditions of its field, so we said ‘why not’.”

The Windjammers’ had its scheduled game with Ellsworth/Sumner canceled on Thursday, prompting Hart to seek alternative options as well.

“We had been preparing for a game all week just as Morse had been,” said Hart. “I’ve got to tip my cap to the coaches on both sides. It’s not easy for them to adjust as they all did. I’m more than happy with how it came together.”

Camden Hills prevailed, 60-42.

“It was great, obviously we doubted that we were going to pull this thing off,” said Priest. “Turning around a game that quickly was crazy, but it was a real community effort from everyone involved.”

 

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Class D Lisbon also had its game with Madison/Carrabec/Valley abruptly canceled on Friday afternoon.

“I think I got the call around 2 p.m.,” said Lisbon head coach Chris Kates. “It was a tough afternoon for all of us, but we went through a practice and had a good turnout to watch the Oak Hill game on Saturday.”

Originally scheduled for Friday, the game had been pushed back to Saturday afternoon earlier in the week due to lighting problems at Madison. The game was canceled altogether on Friday when Madison/Carrabec/Valley reported COVID-19 issues.

Brunswick quarterback Sam Cassidy (12) gets ready to take a snap during a football game on Friday night at Brunswick High School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“We know not to take any games for granted and we just experienced it,” said Kates. “The boys know to take advantage of the opportunities they have in front of them the rest of the way.”

 

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In Class B, Brunswick bounced back from a season-opening loss to Windham with a 28-12 victory over Brewer on Friday night.

Now, another tough test awaits the Dragons on Saturday, when they face Cony at Messalonskee High School in Oakland at 2 p.m. Cony is playing its home games at Messalonskee because its turf field isn’t quite ready.

“Our execution tonight (Friday) was outstanding, much better than last weekend,” said Brunswick running back Wes Cooper, who ran for 76 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. “We want to keep this momentum going. We know we have a tough one coming up so it’s time to get back to work this week.”

The Rams will be fresh for the game with Brunswick on Saturday, as their game with Mt. Blue this past weekend was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols.

 

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The defending eight-man state champion Mt. Ararat Eagles continued their torrid start with a convincing 36-0 victory on Friday night over the visiting Mountain Valley Cougars. It was the first game for the Eagles at their new home turf field on their campus.

“It was a special moment, I had them huddle up before the game so they could look around and soak it in,” said Mt. Ararat head coach Frank True. “None of our players had ever played a home game at the school before Friday.”

The Eagles spent the past four seasons playing their home games at the Topsham Fairgrounds while the new school was being constructed.

Through the first eight quarters of the season, the Mt. Ararat defense has allowed just 12 points overall and one touchdown on defense. True attibutes the strong defensive start to a couple of factors.

“We have the experience and understand the schemes and assignments of eight-man compared to the traditional game,” said True. “We have smart players who are capable of playing in multiple positions and execute the game plan.”

The offense had no issues at all either on Friday. Kaiden Getchal ran for 188 yards and two touchdowns while running mate Shea Farrell picked up 120 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Farrell also returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown.

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