The Mt. Ararat football team takes the field prior to a Sept. 10 game against Mountain Valley in Topsham. Photo provided by Jason Eggleston

The Mt. Ararat/Hyde and Cheverus football teams are set to clash Friday night in a game of eight-man heavyweights. The Eagles (4-0) and Stags (2-0) are undefeated and occupy the top two spots of the Southern Conference in the Eight Man Large School division.  

With both teams coming off impressive victories — MTA beat Gray-New Gloucester 52-20 while Cheverus handled Spruce Mountain 34-8 — both teams are in position to secure a first round bye in the conference playoffs. This game could go a long way in deciding who earns the No. 1 seed in the regional playoffs.

Cheverus, meanwhile, comes into the showdown having already had two of its games canceled. 

“After having two of our first four games canceled, we’re excited to be playing football Friday night against a good team like Mt. Ararat,” said Mike Vance. 

Here’s a closer look at the battle of eight-man powers.

Cheverus players run offensive drills during an Aug. 16 practice for their first season as an eight-man football team. Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald

When: 7:30, tonight

Where: Mt. Ararat High School Stadium Field, Mt. Ararat High School, Topsham.

Cheverus coach Vance on Mt. Ararat: “Mt. Ararat is a very good football team. They have athletes at every position, sound schemes in all phases, and excellent coaching. They’re the defending champs until someone proves otherwise.”

Mt. Ararat coach True on Cheverus: “They look like a solid team with tons of depth on both sides of the ball. They’re well-rounded and can switch it up in the backfield. Their line looks like they have some size and they also have depth at that position. It should be a heck of a challenge for our guys.”

Keys to the game: Similar to the Eagles, Cheverus will look to ride a pair of running backs. Marshall Fowler and Matt Fogg will lead a potent Stags’ ground game against a stingy Eagles defense that has allowed just 66 points through four games. Tasked with stopping Fowler and Fogg will be linebackers Shea Farrell and Kyle Graffam, both of whom have been tackling machines this year. If the ground game is stifled, Cheverus quarterback Richie Tremble will be forced to make plays through the air with his top target, Brett Bogosian. The Eagles will utilize their two-headed monster in the backfield of Farrell and Kaiden Getchell. Elliot Douglass will stabilize the line on both sides of the ball, withMackenzie Wilkins under-center. The Eagles have yet to play four quarters of competitive football this season, something they will likely be forced to do on Friday. If Getchell and Farrell can keep up what they’ve done, Cheverus will have to zone in on stopping the duo, setting up an opportunity for the Mt. Ararat offense to get out of their comfort zone and mix things up. 

“We need to tackle well and make sure we have eight hats to the ball at once,” said True. “Every game is important, but we’re ready to embrace the challenge that is ahead of us this weekend.”

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