Mt. Ararat’s Kaiden Getchell runs the ball against Maranacook during a football game last Friday in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The eight-man football regular season has come to a close and opening round playoff games will kick off this weekend.

Mt. Ararat (6-1) and Morse (5-2), however, earned coveted byes in their respective divisions, meaning they get the added bonus of a week of rest.

“We’re happy to have some time off, that’s usually not a luxury you get during this time of year,” said Darling, whose team finished the regular season 5-2. “We’re going to treat this week like we’re playing a Saturday game and go from there.”

The Shipbuilders earned the No. 2 seed in the large North division. They will host No. 3 Camden Hills (4-2) in a regional semifinal on Oct. 29. The Eagles, meanwhile, earned the No. 2 seed and will host either No. 3 Spruce Mountain (5-2) or No. 6 Yarmouth (1-6) in regional semifinal, also on Oct. 29.

Darling and Mt. Ararat coach Frank True said the extra week off will help with preparations and getting players some needed rest.

“Hopefully, we get a chance to heal up a bit this week,” said True. “We’re going to try and keep this week as normal as possible in terms of practice.”

Mt.. Ararat’s Shea Farrell, left, celebrates with teammate Parker Lohr after scoring a touchdown during a football game Friday in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The Shipbuilders could use a couple of days off after a tough 58-48 loss to large North top seed Waterville last Friday. The back-and-forth game — the two teams combined for 34 points in the fourth quarter — featured a battle between Morse standout Gabe Aucoin (285 yards and five touchdowns on 16 carries) and Waterville quarterback Liam VonOesen (316 rushing yards and five touchdowns).

“Both of those great players showed their skill sets on Friday,” said Darling. “I couldn’t be more proud (of Gabe), he’d be the first to tell you he couldn’t do what he does without the help of his team. It was a lot of fun watching those two go at it.”

Morse did have a few players get banged up on Friday. Although Darling wouldn’t specify which players were injured, Aucoin was in and out of the game all night with what he said were leg cramps. Furthermore, wide receiver Eliott Dorr went down for a couple of minutes with an apparent head injury in the second half and didn’t return.

“We’re relatively healthy,” Darling said. “We’re hoping to know more later in the week. We held a few guys out of an abundance of caution but we’re pretty optimistic they’ll be available against Camden.”

 

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Morse and Mt. Ararat won’t face an unfamiliar foe in their semifinal showdowns.

The Shipbuilders and Windjammers split their two meetings this season. Camden Hills beat Morse 60-42 on Sept. 11 in Bath while the Shipbuilders sank the Windjammers on Oct. 8 in Rockport.

“Being battle tested throughout the season could pay dividends for us,” said Darling when asked about the postseason. “Playing in those environments early on will hopefully give us an edge.”

Maranaocook’s Seth White, left, gets chased down by Mt. Ararat linebacker Shea Farrell during a football game last Friday in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Mt. Ararat defeated both Spruce Mountain and Yarmouth this fall. The Eagles plan to attend the Spruce Mountain-Yarmouth game Friday night.

“We’ll have some intense practices as we roll into the weekend,” said True. “Hopefully the guys can get a good read on both of these teams on Friday. “I’m very excited for this postseason and so are the guys,” said True. “We’ve come a long way from where we started the season, I’m very happy with our performance.”

 

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In Class D, Freeport will play another Monday game when it hosts Oak Hill on Oct. 25. The Falcons fell to Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale on Monday in Winthrop.

“The team has been trained to expect the unexpected and adjust,” said Freeport head coach Paul St. Pierre on Monday. “We knew we’d have to adapt to new situations this season.”

Elsewhere in Class D, Lisbon/St. Doms (1-3) picked up its first win of the season — a 37-13 decision over John Bapst at Cameron Stadium in Bangor.

The Greyhounds will host Bucksport (2-3) on Saturday.

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