2018-11-09 / Community

Rams ready for regional final showdown

By Pat McDonald Sports Editor


The Kennebunk defense swarms Greely quarterback Nick Male during last Saturday’s regional semifinal game at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford. In on the play were, from left, Alden Shields, Jacek Kudas, Chase Lamontagne, Derek Smith, Brede Gibson and Dante DeLorenzo. The Rams advanced with a 42-8 victory. (Jason Gendron photo) The Kennebunk defense swarms Greely quarterback Nick Male during last Saturday’s regional semifinal game at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford. In on the play were, from left, Alden Shields, Jacek Kudas, Chase Lamontagne, Derek Smith, Brede Gibson and Dante DeLorenzo. The Rams advanced with a 42-8 victory. (Jason Gendron photo) KENNEBUNK — When the 2018 Maine high school football season started, pretty much everyone thought the Kennebunk Rams and Marshwood Hawks would meet in the Class B South regional final — the only question was who would have homefield advantage?

The Rams earned the top seed and the right to play host in the regional championship when they picked up a last-second 17-14 win over the Hawks in the regular-season finale.

“It’s exciting. Here we are, we’re both playing for the conference title and the right to go on and represent the league in the state game,” said Kennebunk coach Joe Rafferty. “We’re very, very excited and thrilled to be here. We’ve got to get out and just work as hard as we can and get our job done. Hopefully we’ll be 1-0 this weekend.”


Kennebunk quarterback Tripp Bush hands off to teammate Alden Shields during last Saturday’s Class B South semifinal victory against Greely. (Jason Gendron photo) Kennebunk quarterback Tripp Bush hands off to teammate Alden Shields during last Saturday’s Class B South semifinal victory against Greely. (Jason Gendron photo) The regional title game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9. Lawrence and Brunswick are the finalists in Class B North.

While the No. 1 Rams got the job done a few weeks ago against Marshwood, Rafferty knows that game doesn’t mean anything this week.

“I think we’re even going in. We were the last time and it proved pretty darn close. I would say there’s no favorite here, in my mind,” Rafferty said.

The longtime Kennebunk coach knows his team will be in for a tough battle on Friday night.

“I don’t know that I learned anything new. I wasn’t surprised. I knew going in they were well coached. I knew they were very good. (I knew) they had a lot of talent,” said Rafferty on if he learned anything from the Rams’ first meeting with Marshwood. “I think coming out (of the first game) I said they’re well coached. They are very good and they have a lot of talent. I don’t know that I learned anything new. I don’t know anything more today than I did then. It’s more a case of just continuing to prepare and being ready.”

Kennebunk senior quarterback Tripp Bush is excited for the opportunity to host the regional title game.

“It’s exciting. It’s kind of stressful, but it’s a great time. You know not many people get to experience it,” said Bush.

The big question is whether the Rams will get to actually host the Class B South championship game. Last week’s regional semifinal was moved from Kennebunk High to Biddeford’s Waterhouse Field because of the heavy rains that swept across southern Maine.

Bush and fellow senior Brede Gibson are hoping the Rams will be able to play one more game on their home field.

“It would be big, at least for me. I want to play here. I really, really want to play here. I don’t want to play it at Biddeford. No offense to Biddeford because that is an absolutely amazing field, I just like the Kennebunk field,” said Gibson.

Rafferty would also like to see the regional final be played on his team’s home field, but if it’s necessary he would be willing to once again move the game.

“The weather has been crazy. I like our atmosphere here, but from my perspective, I don’t want the field conditions to be a factor, so if we can remove that then we will,” Rafferty said. “My first choice is to play right here in Kennebunk. I’d like to be at Fletcher Street … for our hometown and the community, I think that’s huge. You know it’s a great day for boosters and all that kind of stuff. In the end, my goal as the coach is we’ve got to prepare to win and if it means we’ve got to play in Biddeford because of the turf, then we will, but my first choice is 89 Fletcher Street.”

No matter where they end up playing, the Rams know they will have to play one of their best games in order to get past Marshwood and reach the Class B state championship game.

“We’ve just got to give it our all. I know that they’re going to bring it,” said Bush, who will be facing a tough Marshwood defense. “They are all really aggressive. They are all really strong. We’ve just got to be ready for them.”

“They’re a good team. We’re both good teams and we’re just hoping to play a good game,” added Gibson.

The Kennebunk seniors are hoping to get the W on Friday night and get a chance to play one more game — this time on the state’s biggest stage and with a Gold Ball on the line.

“It would mean a lot, but we’ve just got to take it one day at a time until we get to the game and then we’re going to try our best and just play football,” Gibson said.

“That would be amazing. That’s the goal, so hopefully it will happen. We’ve just got to be prepared,” Bush added.

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