Medomak Valley senior tailback Aaron Reed rushed for 225 yards and four touchdowns in the season opener against Hampden Academy, and ran for 176 yards and three more TDs versus Brewer last week. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Through the first half of the season, the Midcoast has seen a football renaissance. In Class C North, both Medomak Valley and Oceanside are off to 3-0 starts. In the eight-man Large School North division, Camden Hills is also 3-0. Coming off its first regional championship, Medomak Valley is getting used to being the team opponents circle on the schedule.

“We talked to the guys about it in the preseason. Nobody’s going to be taking it lightly on us,” said Ryan Snell, the Medomak Valley coach. “The reality is people are gunning for us now.”

Despite graduating 16 players, the Panthers haven’t missed a step. Snell cited the play of senior middle linebacker Marshall Addy, who last season was an all-conference defensive end, and two-way lineman Nathan Gess as keys to the team’s success. Senior tailback Aaron Reed also has had big games, rushing for 225 yards and four touchdowns in the opener against Hampden Academy, and 176 yards and three more TDs versus Brewer last week.

At Oceanside, second-year head coach Sam Weiss returned a deep, athletic senior class, led by running back/linebacker Aidan Sergent, the 2022 Class C North Player of the Year. A few of the Mariners’ top players got a taste of high-level competition last winter as members of the basketball team that reached the Class B state final. Cohen Galley is Oceanside’s quarterback, with his twin brother, Carter, his favorite receiver. Zeb Foster was one of Oceanside’s top receivers last season, but through three games has just one catch. That’s a testament to the team’s depth, Weiss said.

“We have so many weapons we haven’t gotten him the ball,” Weiss said.

Oceanside plays at Nokomis (2-1) on Saturday afternoon while Medomak Valley plays at Hermon (1-2) on Friday night, and has a tough home game against Class D powerhouse Foxcroft Academy (3-0) on Sept. 29. If Oceanside and Medomak Valley continue on their current tracks, their season finale Oct. 20 at Rockland will be for the top seed in the Class C North playoffs. That would add spice to what is already a strong Midcoast rivalry.

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“It would be a big game if we were both 7-0 or 0-7,” Weiss said.

Snell said it’s good for the Midcoast for both teams to be having strong seasons, along with Camden Hills in the eight-man division.

“This has always had the potential to become one of those classic football rivalries. The kids grow up playing against each other in youth football,” Snell said. “Hopefully it can be a rivalry for a long time to come.”

With three wins, Camden Hills has already exceeded last season’s total.

THERE’S NO DOUBT about this weekend’s most-anticipated game. It’s 3-0 Class A champion Oxford Hills at 3-0 Class C champion Leavitt.

The Vikings and Hornets have been 1-2 in the Varsity Maine football poll all season, with each receiving first-place votes.

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Typically in the past, the only way a pair of defending state champions would meet is if one moved up or down a class in the offseason. Now, with more scheduling flexibility, teams can play more competitive crossover games. For Leavitt, this will be the first of four consecutive games against an opponent from a higher class. The Hornets play at Class B Lawrence next week, followed by a home game against Class A Lewiston and a trip to Class A Thornton Academy.

“A lot of people would have liked to have seen us and (Oxford Hills) play last year, and now with the schedule a little more open it can happen,” Leavitt Coach Mike Hathaway said in the preseason.

Leavitt has steamrolled through its schedule, outscoring opponents 153-28. Oxford Hills has shutout wins over Lewiston and Scarborough, and a tight 21-14 win over Thornton Academy.

“Leavitt has good size, some excellent athletes, play hard, and are well coached,” said Oxford Hills Coach Mark Soehren. “They are a team that consistently has Class A roster numbers in the program. They would be a challenge for any team in the state.”

A BIG GAME in Class B South on Friday features the region’s two remaining undefeated teams, Deering at Kennebunk.

Deering quarterback Tavian Lauture has been cleared to play after leaving last week’s 6-0 win over Biddeford with an injury, Coach Brendan Scully said. With three wins, the Rams have already matched their win total over the last three seasons combined. Kennebunk will be Deering’s toughest opponent so far. Deering’s first three opponents — Marshwood, Mt. Blue and Biddeford — are a combined 2-7. After a close 14-6 win over Gorham in Week 1, Kennebunk rolled to 38-6 and 35-0 wins over Massabesic and Westbrook.

MPA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Mike Burnham said the game between Scarborough and Bishop Guertin of Nashua, New Hampshire, that started on Sept. 8 will be considered suspended with the possibility of finishing at a later date. Bishop Guertin led 13-10 at halftime when the game was halted by lightning. The understanding is the game will probably not be completed and at the end of the season, Scarborough’s Crabtree Point divisor will drop from nine to eight games.

The game between Sanford and Dover, New Hampshire, that same night was tied 7-7 when it was halted, and the schools agreed to call it a tie rather than try to reschedule and continue. For the purpose of the Crabtree standings, the game is a no-contest.

AROUND THE STATE: Defending eight-man Small School state champion Old Orchard Beach has been dominant on offense, averaging 62 points per game, but the Seagulls are even better defensively. They have yet to allow a point. The 3-0 Seagulls play at Telstar (1-2) on Saturday. … There are two big games on the eight-man Large School North schedule this week, with 3-0 Camden Hills traveling to Rumford to face 2-1 Mountain Valley, and 2-1 Mt. Desert Island hosting 2-1 Waterville. … First place in the eight-man Small School North division is at stake Friday night, with 3-0 Bucksport at 3-0 Orono.

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