PITTSFIELD — Maine Central Institute quarterback Greg Vigue began starting for the Huskies when he was a freshman. That much is agreed on. When Vigue stepped into the role that season, however, depends on who is telling the story.

“I think it was (against) Nokomis in the exhibition game,” Vigue, now a senior, said. “I was really nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I had never played a down of varsity football. To go out there and the first play of the game (I) get sacked. It wasn’t a great start.”

MCI head coach Tom Bertrand said Vigue is remembering it a little wrong. He may have been sacked on his first play, but it came against Dexter later in the season.

“We took our quarterback, who was Patrick Noonan that year, and we put him at tailback to start getting Greg ready,” Bertrand said. “We saw something early from him, but we also didn’t want to throw him to the wolves. We wanted to prep him a little bit before we threw him out there.”

The Huskies went 0-8 that season, but since then MCI has been one of the top teams in the Little Ten Conference. With Vigue at quarterback, the Huskies recently completed their second consecutive undefeated regular season, and with a win over Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln on Friday night they will play in the Class D state championship game for the second straight year.

When asked what he’s learned most about playing quarterback since he took over in 2012, Vigue answered immediately and simply. It’s about leadership.

“Coming in as a freshman, I was really looking more to the seniors for leadership. Now I realize that I’m a senior and it’s my turn to step up and fill those shoes,” Vigue said.

Added Bertrand: “He’s a quiet leader. The kids have a lot of respect for Greg. It’s about attention to detail and making sure he’s doing things the right way that makes him a good leader.”

In the regular season, Vigue ran an offense that averaged almost 52 points per game — not including an exhibition win over Hyde that replaced Camden Hills on the schedule when the Windjammers forfeited the second half of the season. Often playing just a half of football each week, Vigue threw for 953 yards and 15 touchdowns with three interceptions. Vigue also ran for a pair of touchdowns. Since becoming the starting quarterback as a freshman, Vigue estimates he’s added about 40 pounds of muscle to his 6-foot-1 frame.

“I’ve gotten experience. I’ve learned the game. I’ve really improved on making reads, making throws. I’ll throw the ball further, faster and with more accuracy,” Vigue said.

Prior to Vigue’s sophomore season the Huskies changed their offense, going to the up-tempo, no-huddle system that’s become tough for Little Ten Conference opponents to defend.

“For me, it was a completely weird idea. I knew nothing about running no-huddle. As I learned more about it and how it worked, I started to like it. The guys around me started to like it and we got pretty good at it. It worked for us,” Vigue said. “I think it was a good move. Not just for me, but the entire team. It really keeps us in an up-tempo. With that, it catches other teams off guard. It gives us momentum. It keeps everything rolling.

“Getting a lot of plays off in less time that helps score points. To run the no huddle offense we have to be in really good shape. We condition every single practice and it pays off. We get into games and we last longer than the other team. They start to get tired, that’s when we really start to put up big points.”

Bertrand said Vigue’s brains and physical abilities are what make him the perfect quarterback for MCI’s offense.

“He is one of the smartest kids in the school, but football-wise he’s extremely intelligent too. He understands the game. He understands what we’re trying to do. He thinks like a coach on the field, in terms of X’s and O’s,” Bertrand said. “Everything that Greg does he wants to do to perfection. He is constantly trying to improve and do things the right way. Those are attributes you want in a quarterback.”

Vigue is at his best when the Huskies need a pick-me-up play or a spark, Bertrand said.

“It’s the way that he responds when we have a lull. He comes back out and he can make a big play for us. By design, we tend to put the ball in his hands when we’re in those situations,” Bertrand said. “We’ll throw the football on any down, and I told him we’re always going to stretch the field with him. I don’t care if he throws an interception, the next play might be him throwing the football. We have that much confidence in him.”

Football is likely not in Vigue’s college plans. His first choice is Notre Dame, and Vigue also applied to Georgetown, Bentley and Boston College.

“I’d definitely play club or intramural football,” Vigue said.

Right now, Vigue is focused on helping the Huskies win on Friday and get another chance at the title that eluded them with a loss to Oak Hill in the Class D state game a year ago.

“It’s a huge motivation (losing last season). We want a shot at the Gold Ball and we’ve got to win every game to get there,” Vigue said. “Right now, we’re focused on MA (Mattanawcook Academy) and we have to beat them. We’re going to do everything we can to beat them so we can move on to the state game because we want that Gold Ball.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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