HEBRON — When the quarterbacks get together in the Hebron Academy dorms at Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl training camp, they share stories. They talk of long passes completed and of memorable touchdown throws.

Skowhegan Area High School’s Ethan Johnson tells of his favorite blocks.

“All the quarterbacks here say, yeah we threw 180 times last season,” Johnson said. “I’ll say, maybe I threw 30, 35 times and I had to block every time. They’re always shocked.”

As quarterback in Skowhegan’s run-heavy double wing offense, Johnson threw the lead block more than he threw a pass. What earned Johnson a spot on the East squad for this year’s Lobster Bowl was his effort on defense. Johnson was among the Pine Tree Conference Class A leaders with four interceptions in 2011. He’ll play defensive back in Saturday’s game, which benefits Shriner’s Hospitals. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford.

“He’s a good leader, a great kid,” former Skowhegan coach Mike Marston, an assistant coach with the East, said. “We’ve got a whole team full of kids like that.”

As a quarterback, Johnson ran for 25 yards and threw for just 86, a half of football for some teams. But as a key blocker in Skowhegan’s tightly spaced run attack, Johnson helped the Indians average 282 yards per game on the ground.

As a safety, Johnson was a first team all-conference selection, and was fourth in the PTC in interceptions, with four. The biggest came in the third game of the season, when Johnson’s 102-yard interception return in the fourth quarter sealed a 34-14 win over Messalonskee.

That game was a spark for Skowhegan. Coming off a 1-7 season in 2010, the Indians went 5-4 and were in the hunt for a spot in the PTC A playoffs until the final week of the season.

Johnson, who also had 44 tackles, said he doesn’t favor one side of the ball over the other.

“I don’t really have a preference. I like both of them,” Johnson said.

Playing just defense is something Johnson can get used to, though.

“We actually get rewarded for a three-and-out,” Johnson said. “We don’t have to stay on the field.”

A highlight of the Lobster Bowl training camp is getting to know all your new teammates, Johnson said. You get a preconceived notion of an opponent just from seeing him on the field, but when you talk to him, you learn he’s nothing like you thought or expected.

“It’s cool to figure out some of the personalities of the people we played against. I’ve played against some of these guys since third or fourth grade, and we never really knew each other off of the field. Now that we have an opportunity to meet them, it’s cool,” Johnson said.

Johnson will attend Colby College, where he plans to play football. Where the Colby coaching staff will use him is up in the air.

“Whatever gets me on the field, I guess,” Johnson said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242
[email protected]

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