Oxford Hills quarterback Brady Truman, right, celebrates with teammates after throwing a fourth-quarter touchdown pass at Thornton Academy last September. Truman, who entered the game after an injury to Eli Soehren, is the Vikings’ starting quarterback this season. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Oxford Hills is looking to build off last season’s Class A state championship. Thornton Academy is looking to avoid its first 0-2 start in 20 years. Friday night’s rematch of last year’s Class A final is the highlight of the Week 2 high school football schedule.

The Vikings (1-0) defeated Thornton (0-1) twice last season, including a 21-7 win in the state championship game to earn the school’s first football title. Oxford Hills hosts Friday’s game at Gouin Field.

“They look good, as always,” Oxford Hills Coach Mark Soehren said of Thornton. “They expect to win, and you can see that in the way they play.”

Coming off a 35-28 loss to Portland, the Trojans need to finish drives better and play with more urgency, said Coach Kevin Kezal. He pointed to a drive in the second quarter on which his team couldn’t convert a first down after facing second-and-1. Another drive in the fourth quarter ended with a missed field goal after the Trojans had first-and-goal from the 5.

“We had some opportunities there,” said Kezal, whose team has won five state titles since 2012.

Surrendering big plays was a factor in the loss to Portland, and the Trojans face another explosive offense this week. Oxford Hills quarterback Brady Truman threw for 258 yards and four touchdowns in a season-opening 43-0 win over Lewiston. Brady Delamater and Brayden Murch each caught a pair of touchdown passes. The Trojans are familiar with Truman, who passed for 254 yards in a 25-20 regular-season win at Thornton last season after eventual Fitzpatrick Trophy winner Eli Soehren went down with an ankle injury.

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“They’re formidable,” Kezal said. “That quarterback beat us last year.”

The varsity experience Truman gained last season has carried over in the form of confidence this season, Coach Soehren said.

“Brady’s done a great job. He had to grow up fast last season,” Soehren said. “I know Eli left pretty big shoes, but Brady’s been fantastic.”

As good as the Vikings’ offense played last week, the defense might have been better, holding Lewiston to 104 yards. Oxford Hills kept the Blue Devils out of the end zone late in the second quarter when they had first-and-goal from the 3.

“We thought our front seven would be pretty good, and they played well,” Soehren said.

THE MAINE-NEW HAMPSHIRE series begins this week, with Sanford at Dover and Scarborough hosting Bishop Guertin. This season, seven Class A teams will face a New Hampshire opponent, up from five last season. Scarborough (0-1) will be taking on a Granite State opponent for the first time.

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“It’s an intriguing thing to me. I always wanted to see how we stacked up against teams from other states,” Scarborough Coach Packy Malia said. “We don’t really have a ton of film on them. What they did in their Week 1 game versus Bedford (a 40-3 loss) was vastly different than what they did last year.”

Malia said Bishop Guertin ran empty backfield spread formations with quick screen passes and shots downfield, rarely running the ball. Last season, the Cardinals primarily ran the ball out of the spread, Malia said.

Unlike the Red Storm, Sanford (1-0) is familiar with its opponent. The Spartans played Dover last season, losing 37-23.

“We had a competitive football game with them last year,” Sanford Coach Mike Fallon said. “We had a couple of lapses where we, quite frankly, lost our minds a little bit and made errors. They’re a big, physical team.”

Fallon said at first, he questioned playing the interstate games. After seeing how it worked last year, with mostly competitive games (New Hampshire won three of the five played in 2022), he’s eager to see how it goes this season.

“I certainly don’t hate it. Now that we have 12 teams in Class A again, maybe we won’t need it down the line,” Fallon said.

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THE PIVOTAL MOMENT in Deering’s 17-7 win at Marshwood last week came early in the second half, after Marshwood drove the field and tied the game, said Deering Coach Brendan Scully. The former head coach at Noble and athletic director at Massabesic, Scully is in his first season at Deering, a program that had one win over the last two seasons.

Scully’s concern at that point was his team would run out of gas and revert to the form of the last two seasons, when opponents would seize on those moments and pull away. Instead, the Rams scored late in the third quarter to retake the lead and intercepted the Hawks twice in the second half to secure the win.

“We showed some resilience at that point,” Scully said. “We didn’t just hang our heads and say it was a nice try.”

This week, the Rams make the long trip from Portland to Farmington to take on Mt. Blue. Scully said the team plans to leave at 3 p.m. and arrive at Mt. Blue in plenty of time to walk around and check out the facility before getting dressed for the game.

“It’s a beautiful place to play a football game on a Friday night,” Scully said. “The plan is to go as early as we can so we can move around a little bit.”

GREELY REACHED AN important milestone with last week’s 64-26 win over Lake Region. The win was the Rangers first since reinstating their football program in the spring of 2022.

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Greely joined Falmouth as a cooperative football program for the 2019 season. With interest in football back up, the school chose to go it alone again beginning with the 2022 season, playing in the eight-man Large School division. Under new Coach Caleb King, the Rangers went 0-7 last season.

“It would’ve been easy for a lot of them to quit or walk away (after a winless season),” King said, “but they stayed committed. … We don’t want to be satisfied with just one.”

Greely plays Friday night at Camden Hills (1-0).

AROUND THE STATE: Defending eight-man Small School state champ Old Orchard Beach showed a quick-strike capability in last week’s 64-0 win over Traip Academy. The Seagulls scored on five consecutive offensive plays in the first half. Each play went for at least 53 yards, and the only thing that kept OOB from scoring on six straight plays was an illegal procedure penalty on the first play of its second drive. …. Was Week 1 a harbinger of a high-scoring season in the eight-man Small School division? Each of the eight teams that won scored at least 30 points, with five scoring at least 54.

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