FARMINGTON — Nick Hyde’s right thumb is tightly taped and perpetually sprained.

“It’s been like that for a couple of years now. At the beginning of the season, I always jam it, and it sprains. It never really heals,” Hyde said.

During Mt. Blue’s 47-15 win over Mt. Desert Island last Friday, Hyde tweaked his left ankle. When the Cougars’ training staff wanted to take a look, Hyde hurried them through the process, eager to get back on the field.

“I rolled my ankle on a hitch pattern, but I was fine,” Hyde said.

“I’ve never seen anyone try to hurry a trainer so much.,” Mt. Blue head coach Gary Parlin said. “If the trainer wouldn’t have seen it, Nick wouldn’t have gone up and said anything to him.”

And there are the shin splints that hobbled Hyde during the preseason.

“We tried to get him out of drills, he wouldn’t. ‘No, I’m all set. I’m all right.’ There was a couple of days he ran like how I would look running out here. The old man, stiff-legged run,” Parlin said. “He never misses a second out here.”

Hyde waited patiently for his turn to finally contribute to the Mt. Blue football team. Since he waited so long to get on the field, Hyde never wants to come off.”

“I’ve played the same position for four years now, and I’ve always been a backup. We’ve always had really good players in front of me. I feel like it’s my year to be a good part of this team,” Hyde said. “I always knew I was eventually going to get my chance. I always want the best player to be out there. We’ve had some really good receivers.”

As a wide receiver, Hyde has eight catches for 184 yards and four touchdowns for the 3-0 Cougars, and Hyde is averaging 23 yards per catch. At cornerback, Hyde has eight tackles, one interception, and has broken up six passes.

Hyde was a backup at both positions last season. Most of the minutes he saw in varsity games came when the outcome was no longer in doubt, and he played junior varsity, too. His hard work was noticed, because Hyde was elected a co-captain by his teammates.

“I’m always impressed when a kid who is not a returning starter is elected a captain. Most times, your captains are guys who have been out there, been starters, played a lot of varsity as juniors,” Parlin said. “He didn’t get a lot of playing time as a junior, yet he was unanimously voted captain. That’s what the kids feel about him.”

Hyde said he was surprised to be elected a captain, and is grateful his effort was noticed. The 4-foot-8, 165 pound Hyde established himself as a leader during Mt. Blue off season, when he never missed a session in the weight room, and kept his younger teammates motivated.

“Pound for pound, we all agree, he’s the toughest kid we have,” Parlin said.

Many of Hyde’s receiving yards have come after the catch, when he’s able to make a move on a defender and gain more yards. The deep ball is part of his game, there was a touchdown pass from quarterback Jordan Whitney on a fade pattern in the season opener at Brewer, but Hyde said he feels more comfortable running a quick screen or a hitch.

“I like running after the catch,” Hyde said. “I try to make moves and break tackles as best I can.”

Added Parlin: “Nick is just a good weapon over there. He’s dependable, and he’s sneaky fast. He’s made all the catches. He’s a good blocker.”

As important as Hyde has become to Mt. Blue’s offense, he considers himself a defensive player first.

“Defense has always been my favorite side to play. When I started football, I didn’t play offense. I just played cornerback. That’s my favorite part about football, the hitting,” Hyde said.

Hyde is often the host for team dinners on Thursday nights. He’ll jump at any chance to be with his teammates, Parlin said.

“As a coach, you love seeing someone, he’s paid his dues, waited for his time, and never ever once complained,” Parlin said. “He’s the ultimate high school football player. He loves every second.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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