BRUNSWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A newborn rivalry in Class B clashed in Week 1 of the high school football season: Messalonskee visiting Brunswick.
The Dragons, the Class B state champions, had shots at undefeated seasons in 2014 and 2015, but lost to only the Messalonskee Eagles during those regular seasons.
”As the week goes on you get more and more excited as Friday comes," said junior quarterback Nate Girardin. ”It’s just the smash-mouth football. Just two running teams – we’re going to run at each other and it’s going to be a great game.”
The Dragons stayed amped up in practice on Thursday -- competing in "board drills:" a one-on-one between two players who may be getting chippy on the field. When coach Dan Cooper makes the call, the boys circle up and start to chant as two players square off head-to-head.
At Messalonskee, coach Brad Bishop is all business.
”There’s only two good days of the week: Thursday night supper and the game. The rest of the week is hard," said Bishop.
”I think it’s kind of our turn now because they had a heck of a team last year," said senior running back Austin Pelletier.
”Definitely something I noticed when I looked at the schedule, and something we’ve been preparing for all summer," said Alden Balboni, a senior guard.
Despite their differing coaching styles, Bishop and Cooper share some history: working together for six years. Cooper, fresh out of college, coached under Bishop.
”What a great way to start against a great team. I’ve always looked up to him a great deal. When they’re not playing for us, I’m rooting for them, and I’m sure he’s doing the same," said Cooper.
Both teams feast on a massive spread the night before the big game.
”This is our own little pep squad if you will," said Misty Coombs, mother of Brunswick senior Dalton Dickey.
While the student pep squads -- the cheerleaders -- prepare for their roles on Friday night, the boys on the field can feel the energy leading up to the game.
”Football is in the air – high school is starting. College is starting. Everyone’s excited," said Balboni.