WATERVILLE — For three of the Waterville Senior High School football team’s four captains, being a captain is a family affair.

Two way tackle Corey Huerfano’s older brother Jake was a Waterville captain in 2010. Center-defensive tackle Ben Cox is the younger brother of Tom Cox, a team captain in 2012. Guard-linebacker Alex Danner’s brother Nick also was a captain on the 2012 Purple Panthers.

“(Nick) just told me I have to step up and fill some shoes and try and lead the team to the best of my ability,” Danner said.

On Saturday, Huerfano, Cox and Danner, along with fourth captain Dan Pooler, will lead Waterville (8-1) into the Eastern Class C championship game against rival Winslow (9-0).

The three captains form the core of Waterville’s strong offensive line. With 297 yards rushing in Saturday’s 13-7 regional semifinal win over Foxcroft Academy, the Purple Panthers went over 3,000 yards rushing for the season, and average just under 350 yards per game on the ground.

“We’ve been running up the middle and off tackle all season. A lot of that is due to our size and strength, but our back run hard and fast. We can’t take all the credit for that. We try our hardest every play, and that’s a lot of where our success comes from,” Cox said.

All three were named first team all-conference defense. Cox and Huerfano also were named to all-conference first team on the offensive line, while Danner was a second team all-conference selection on the line.

“All three of them have similar leadership styles. They really lead by example. We’ve got a lot of those voal guys, but they are not the vocal leaders that are hooting and hollering,” Waterville coach Matt Gilley said. “When they say something to the team, the team pays attention, because they don’t say all the fluff. Whatever comes out of their mouth is what you should be doing, and everybody recognizes that.”

Like Danner, Cox and Huerfano were given advice on being a captain by their brothers.

“As a captain, you’re the one who has to show up every game and play as hard as you can. Everyone else will follow,” Huerfano said.

Added Cox: “(Tom) just taught me how to lead a team. When he was captain, we went to Eastern Maine (championship) against Mt. Blue, so we’re in a similar situation here. We have a tough opponent. He’s been giving me advice on how to handle a tough team and how to come out on top.”

Another trait the three captains have in common is their intensity, Gilley said. In the aftermath of Saturday’s win over Foxcroft Academy, Panthers celebrated on the field. Gilley caught a glimpse of Danner, who was as stone-faced as he was before kickoff.

“He said ‘It was a good game. I can’t wait until Saturday,'” Gilley said. “All three of those guys play to the whistle. All three of those guys, if your heads not on a swivel, they’re going to take you out. Their presence really sets the tone for our entire team. They don’t need to say anything. Just them being there as focused and intense as they are, rubs off on everybody on the team.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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