The best advice Winslow High School head coach Mike Siviski ever gave Alec Clark was simple, yet it told Clark everything he needed to know about playing football for the Black Raiders. The moment came when Clark was a freshman, ready to start a four-year career as a defensive starter.

“(Siviski) said, ‘This is the varsity, not the junior high,'” Clark said.

Meaning, when you’re on this team, be ready to work hard.

The 2015 season was Siviski’s 31st as Winslow’s head coach, and it was one of the Black Raiders’ best. Winslow went 11-0 for the second straight year, beating Yarmouth, 24-10 to win a second consecutive Class C state title.

For leading Winslow to a second straight undefeated season and state championship, Siviski is the Morning Sentinel Football Coach of the Year. Also considered were Tom Bertrand, who coached Maine Central Institute to a second straight Little Ten Conference title; Haggie Pratt, who led Mount View to its first ever playoff win; and Matt Friedman, who coached Skowhegan to a 7-1 record in the regular season.

This season’s championship was the seventh of Siviski’s career at Winslow. Among active coaches, only John Wolfgram — who won Gold Balls at Madison, Gardiner, South Portland, and his current school, Cheverus — has won more state titles.

“He definitely has a lot of experience and a lot of pride in the program,” Clark said.

Siviski is quick to extend credit for the program’s success to his assistant coaches and players.

“It’s total teamwork by our staff. We’ve been together for a few years,” Siviski said. “It’s not the Mike Siviski Show. A lot goes into it. It’s an honor that should be spread out between the staff and the varsity football players who buy into what we’re trying to do.”

The Black Raiders romped through the Big Ten Conference in the regular season, leading the league in scoring and fewest points allowed. As always, Siviski and his coaching staff focused on the basics.

“Teach fundamentals and basic technique. I’ve always been a big proponent of that,” Siviski said.

Although Winslow graduated a number of key players from the 2014 championship team, Siviski looked at the players coming back, and thought they had a chance to contend for another title.

“Last year, when I saw we had eight of 11 starters back on defense, I thought we’d be able to do special things,” Siviski said.

The Black Raiders’ defense was a black hole, posting six shutouts in eight regular season games, and another in a 21-0 win over Mt. Desert Island in the regional semifinals. When Winslow was tested by a strong Old Town offense in the regional final, it bent, allowing 21 points in the game’s first 14 minutes. After that, the Black Raiders got tough, allowing just a late touchdown in a 40-27 win.

In the state championship game, Winslow forced five turnovers, including four in second half, to hold off the Clippers.

Siviski’s leadership was integral to the team’s success, Clark said.

“At the beginning of the season, you don’t know what you have or how it’s going to go, but we knew we has a team with a lot of skill and a lot of heart,” Clark said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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