Sep. 15—Only one team will remain undefeated in 8-man Small School South after Mountain Valley and Maranacook are finished playing Friday night. The deciding factor in who wins the matchup of 2-0 teams could be, simply, fundamentals.
The Falcons have averaged 59 points per game in their two wins, while the Black Bears have a not-too-shabby two-game pace of 44 points. The teams' defenses have been similarly stingy, with Mountain Valley allowing 54 total points and Maranacook giving up 28 in each of its win.
While Mountain Valley has the edge in both those stats, Falcons coach Pat Mooney doesn't see that giving his team any advantage.
"Maranacook is a very disciplined and well-coached team. They are the defending champs of the conference, so they own a pedigree that nobody else can claim right now," Mooney said.
The Falcons have such aspirations this season, and their wins over Telstar and Sacopee Valley have set them on the right path.
"Our success has been in trusting the scheme and learning why we do what we do. Players understand that everyone has a role and they are striving to master those individual roles as much as possible," Mooney said. "We like to distribute the ball on offense and use all of our talent, instead of relying on a singular player to carry us."
Mountain Valley rode the back of Robert Leveillee's seven touchdowns against Telstar, then had Kaden Paaso, Jyrrmal Yates and Lucas Libby combine for six in Leveillee's absence at Sacopee Valley.
Leveillee is back this week, and Maranacook coach Jordan DeMillo said slowing down Leveillee and Paaso will be key for the Black Bears.
So, too, will be better blocking, which DeMillo said the offense needs to polish up despite scoring 54 points last week.
"I think we present a tough matchup when our offense is running smoothly, both through the air and on the ground, so if we can avoid mistakes we should be all set," he said.
DeMillo said quarterback Kody Goucher will need to have a good game, and running back Owen Dunn will need to show up on both sides of the ball, "like he tends to do."
Mooney highlighted Maranacook receiver Travis Lemelin as a threat in the pass game. He also praised Goucher's accuracy.
"Offensively, they show a lot of different formations and are multiple in their plan of attack," Mooney said. "... They present a multitude of matchup problems for any defense."
Mooney said the Falcons need to be more stout on the defensive side of the ball than they were against Sacopee Valley.
"Defensively, we must tackle much better than we did last week," Mooney said. "We were gashed by Sacopee Valley with big plays, and Maranacook is structured as a team that can sting you with big plays. We have to keep everything in front of us and be fundamental in our tackling."
The game could come down to time-of-possession and discipline, according to Mooney.
DeMillo is looking forward to Friday's showdown.
"I think we present a really balanced matchup. Hoping to see a really good game," he said. "I would have to say the X-factor may be nothing but a little luck Friday night."