The Mt. Blue High School football team will play for the Class B state championship Saturday, when it takes on Marshwood at 6 p.m. at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland. The Cougars’ five captains — Nick Hyde, Jordan Whitney, Bradley Jackson, Chad Luker and Zak Kendall — took some time after a recent practice to talk with staff writer Travis Lazarczyk
Q: When did you know this team had a chance to make it to a state championship game?
Hyde: Day 1. Last year, when we lost against Leavitt, we knew we were going to come this year and win (the regional title).
Whitney: Day 1. Last year, we lost by one point. We all wanted it, and we knew we could do it.
Jackson: This team, this community, we’ve had great preperation, and from the start, we’ve come ready to play.
Luker: This team’s been together a long time, and since we were little, we said we were going to win a state championship.
Kendall: We’ve been thinking about it since third or fourth grade, back in the day.
Q: What, if any, pregame rituals do you have?
Hyde: We all have a team dinner at someone’s house. We usually hang out the night before, get a good meal and get some good rest.
Whitney: Game day, we always pray before we play.
Jackson: A nice silent bus ride to the field. Everyone’s focused and ready to play.
Luker: Everybody’s quiet, just getting mentally prepared. I go to my mom’s work and take a big nap.
Kendall: When we get off the bus, we always tap the Cougar sticker that’s up on top of the entrance. We tap that and walk out for good luck.
Q: Who is your favorite athlete?
Hyde: Ray Lewis
Whitney: Drew Brees
Jackson: Clay Matthews
Luker: Muhammad Ali
Kendall: Rob Gronkowski
Q: What is your best memory of playing football?
Hyde: When we beat Leavitt (on Oct. 5 this season)
Whitney: Probably fourth grade when we all went undefeated and won the championship with Chad Luker running over everyone.
Jackson: Knocking the wood out of Jordan Whitney in the fourth grade.
Luker: Winning Eastern Maine this year.
Kendall: My first game in fourth grade, watching Chad Luker run for four or five touchdowns.
Q: Who has influenced your football career the most?
Hyde: My father, David Hyde.
Whitney: All my family.
Jackson: This team.
Luker: My two twin brothers, Shane and Derek Luker.
Kendall: My father, Austin Kendall.
Q: What song do you listen to, if any, before a game?
Hyde: “Gimme The Loot,” by Notorius B.I.G.
Whitney: “Thunderstruck,” by AC/DC.
Jackson: “No More Tears,” by Ozzy Osbourne
Luker: “The Animal,” by Disturbed
Kendall: “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” by Marvin Gaye.
Q: After losing in the conference final last season, how does it feel to play for a state title this fall?
Hyde: It feels great to actually be preparing to play in the state game. I’ve never felt this way before.
Whitney: It’s a great feeling, coming back and winning (the regional title), but we sure know we’ve got one more game.
Jackson: Last year’s team gave us a great taste of what it’s like to be in a big game. I feel like coming back into this year, we’ve done great preparation. I feel like we’re ready to win.
Luker: Preparing for the Eastern Maine (game) was the craziest practice week. Just knowing that this week is going to be crazier, going into a bigger game, is awesome.
Kendall: A lot of times it’s hard. We had a big win last week, but we want to make sure not to end the season on that big win. We can’t get too wrapped up in the Eastern Maine, and continue to the state championship.