Mt. Blue High School head football coach Jim Aylward was still in Rumford Hospital on Monday afternoon, but was feeling better and hoped to coach the Cougars on Friday night at Lawrence, defensive coordinator Craig Collins said.

Collins declined to go into any specifics regarding Aylward’s illness, which forced the coach to miss last Friday’s home game against Brewer. Collins is serving as Mt. Blue’s interim head coach while Aylward is unable to be with the team.

Collins said he found out about Aylward’s hospitalization early Friday morning. After informing Mt. Blue administration, Collins met with the coaching staff before speaking with the team in the afternoon.

“The kids were great. I met with them. We talked about some things. I said ‘Nothing’s changed. I’m going to be running the team tonight. Coach (Kevin) Averill is still going to call offensive plays. I’m going to call the defensive plays. The only difference is Coach Aylward’s not here. You guys know we’re in good hands and you just have to play hard.'” Collins said.

One of the preseason favorites in the Pine Tree Conference Class B division, Brewer won the game, 20-13.

“Brewer’s an excellent team. The kids played hard. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We had our opportunities. We couldn’t cash in on them,” Collins said.

Aylward came to Mt. Blue in 2014, following the retirement of longtime head coach Gary Parlin. As head coach at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, Aylward won eight regional titles and five state championships.

• • •

The Madison Area Memorial High School football team honored senior Dakota Cornforth this past week. Conforth, who has muscular dystrophy, was presented with a jersey, No. 44, and made an honory captain of the team.

“He’s a good friend to our seniors,” coach Scott Franzose said of Cornforth. “We added him to the team roster and made him a captain. He’s always wanted to play football but couldn’t. Now he actually gets to be a part of the team.”

Cornforth joined the other Bulldogs captains for the coin toss prior to Friday’s win over Foxcroft Academy.

“He’s an inspiration. Dakota is welcome with the team any time,” Franzose said.

• • •

After a loss at Old Town in Week 1, Waterville bounced back with a solid 40-8 win over Hermon on Saturday. The Purple Panthers are starting to get some players back from injury, and practice started to pay off with success in a game, coach Matt Gilley said.

“After the preseason game, the exhibition against MCI, we had some guys banged up. We were trying a little bit of the spread stuff, and we had some of those skill guys on the edge get hurt,” Gilley said. “We went back to what we had started working on last year, which was split backs and a little bit more of the option stuff. Really, what got better was an extra week of repping what we’re supposed to do. We really pulled the plug and went in a different direction than originally planned.”

On the offensive line, Waterville moved freshman John Evans from guard to center, and senior Justin Kornsey to tackle.

“That helped things out up front quite a bit,” Gilley said.

Defensively, Trever Gray moved from the interior of the line to defensive end and Zach Smith from linebacker to defensive end. Devon Begin and Demetrius Ramirez, who had been playing defensive end, moved back to safety.

“On defense, we were trying to cover up for a few of the injuries and some guys were out of position,” Gilley said. “Shuffling people around made a big difference (in Saturday’s win).”

Gilley said lineman Henry Parent should return this week from injury, and lineman Max Rogers could return soon. Waterville plays at Foxcroft Academy on Friday.

• • •

After his team’s 63-0 win over John Bapst on Saturday, Winslow coach Mike Siviski said the new running time rule is probably a good thing.

“Some of our younger kids didn’t get the playing time that they usually do. On the other hand, if you’re really defeating an opponent badly, it’s a good thing,” Siviski said. “I thought it was OK, but we’d like to have a game where our starters play more than a half.”

Each of Winslow’s first two games saw the running time rule used. This season, if the score differential in a Maine high school football game is more than 35 points in the second half, the clock will stop only for timeouts, scores and change of possession. In Week 1, Winslow beat Belfast, 43-0.

Maine Central Institute also has seen the running time rule in each of its games. The Huskies took a 64-0 win over Washington Academy in Week 1, and a 67-0 win at Orono this past Friday.

• • •

Around the state: Ellsworth picked up the first varsity win in program history on Saturday, beating Washington Academy, 22-8… First-year varsity program Medomak Valley is 2-0. The Panthers beat Stearns, 13-12, on Friday. Medomak Valley will try for 3-0 when it takes on Washington Academy this week… Medomak Valley might not be the most surprising undefeated team in the state. After consecutive winless seasons, Gray-New Gloucester is 2-0. The Patriots earned a 22-20 win over Fryeburg Academy in Campbell Conference Class C play this week… Like Winslow and MCI, defending Class A champion Thornton Academy hasn’t allowed a point yet.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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