BAR HARBOR — High school football returned to Maine in 2021 — and for two Hancock County high schools, that paved the way for a historic opportunity.
Ellsworth High School and Mount Desert Island High School have long had one of Maine’s fiercest sporting rivalries. Yet in the 53 years since the consolidation of MDI High School created that rivalry, the two schools had never met on the football field.
Ellsworth, which went five and a half decades without a football team, returned to the gridiron for varsity play in 2012 as part of a cooperative partnership with Sumner Memorial High School. With MDI in Class C and Ellsworth/Sumner playing in Class D and then moving to eight-man football, though, the two teams only met in preseason play between 2013 and 2018.
Yet with MDI joining Ellsworth/Sumner at the eight-man level this year, the stars finally aligned for the two teams to meet in competitive games on the gridiron. The Trojans and Eagles would meet twice, first in the Oct. 15 regular season finale and again the following week in eight-man’s Large-School North playoffs.
MDI dominated the first matchup as it led 46-0 after just the first quarter en route to a 52-14 win in the historic matchup. The Trojans got the best of a young Ellsworth/Sumner team once again the following week as they prevailed 56-0 to advance to the Large-School North semifinals.
Both Ellsworth/Sumner and MDI are likely to return to eight-man football next year. Barring further classification changes, the two would renew the rivalry with a showdown at Ellsworth High School.