Sunday September 19, 2010 | 10:38 PM

Messalonskee has never been the team to beat in the Class A division of the Pine Tree Conference. The Eagles didn’t win their first Class A playoff game until last season.

By the same token, they’re a team no one likes to play. First, their double-wing offense is tough to prepare for. Second, they reflect their hard-nosed coach, Wes Littlefield, especially on defense.

After suffering a last-second loss to Mt. Blue in the season opener, the Eagles bounced back to throttle a decent Cony team. Friday’s 16-6 win over Brunswick may prove to be pivotal to making the playoffs. The
Eagles slugged it out on defense with the Dragons, eventually pulling away late in the game after two key defensive stops.

Sophomore linebacker Jake Stinson, who is listed at 5-foot-8 and 237 pounds, stopped Brunswick’s Dylan Walton cold on a conversion rush to preserve a 7-6 lead for the Eagles. Late in the game, Ryan Berthiaume
and Brock Garten teamed to tackle Walton in the end zone for a safety. This is a swarming defense with several good athltes who like to hit.

Even when the offense faltered, fumbling at its own 28-yard line in the third quarter, the Eagles held the Dragons without a yard on four straight downs. Next up for the lunch-pail squad is a trip to unbeaten
Bangor. The Rams know full well how tough the Eagles can be based on the recent past. They’re the team no one wants to play.

About the Author

Travis Lazarczyk has worked at the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal since 2000. He covers football, basketball and baseball. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/tlazarmaine

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