DOVER-FOXCROFT — When he was younger, a family friend took David Young to him flying. Right then and there, Young’s passion for aviation was born.

“He let me fly the airplane for a little while, and I was instantly hooked,” Young said.

Young graduated from Maine Central Institute last spring, and will enroll at the University of Maine at Augusta this fall to study aviation, with the goal of becoming a commercial pilot. As a football player at MCI, Young helped lead the Huskies to new heights with back-to-back state championships. This week, Young has one more football game to play, as a defensive back on the East in the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl.

“I go back and I watch the highlight films of different guys, and I see some big plays from (Young),” MCI head coach Tom Bertrand, an assistant coach with the East at the Lobster Bowl, said during a break between practices Tuesday at Foxcroft Academy. “He’s a phenomenal football player, for sure… We just knew we were going to need him to be a key guy for us this year.”

The Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl is an annual football game featuring the top recently graduated senior players, and benefits Shriner’s hospitals for children. Kickoff for this year’s game is set for Thornton Academy’s Hill Stadium on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Being selected to play in the game is a bonus to Young’s successful high school football career, he said.

“It was (a goal to be selected) when I was younger, but as I got older it wasn’t a top priority. It’s definitely an honor to be here and play,” Young said.

A first team all-conference wide receiver last fall, Young will play in the secondary for the East. As a defensive back at MCI last season, Young made 39 tackles. Early in Lobster Bowl training camp, Young saw reps at corner back and safety. At 6-foot-1, Young is one of the East’s tallest defensive backs.

“I can cover the taller receivers and go up and get the jump balls,” Young said. “The first few days have been pretty busy. It’s been pretty exhausting, but that’s all right. Everything’s going pretty easily.”

“David’s always been a good teammate of mine, a good buddy of mine. I’m excited to have him here as a teammate and playing one more time with him,” Adam Bertrand, who was an MCI co-captain with Young and will play linebacker in the Lobster Bowl, said. “I think he’s going to be pretty good.”

Last season, Young led MCI’s receivers with 30 catches for 395 yards and five receiving touchdowns, all team highs. In three Class C North playoff games, Young caught 11 more passes for 144 more yards. Eight of Young’s catches in the regional playoffs went for first downs. One of the few that didn’t went for 19 yards when the Huskies faced first down and 22 at Nokomis in the first round. Later on that same drive, Young made an eight yard catch on third down and 6. Quarterback Ryan Friend dove in for the touchdown on the next play, giving MCI a 21-12 halftime lead in an eventual 33-24 win.

All four of Young’s receptions in the Huskies 43-42 regional semifinal win at Winslow resulted in a first down, but his biggest play that game was a 60 yard touchdown pass to Pedro Matos on a trick play. It came with MCI facing third down and 24 at its own 40. Trailing 8-0, the Huskies called on Young to make the throw on a play the coaches installed just a few days earlier.

“Big plays, and consistent when we needed him. Kind of that quiet leader type. You can count on him. He’s as athletic as they come, and a really nice kid,” coach Bertrand said.

Young learned he’d been selected to play in the Lobster Bowl when coach Bertrand surprised him at work. Young was stocking shelves at Rite Aid when he felt his coach tap him on the shoulder.

“Coach B (Bertrand) came in and asked me what my plans were in mid-July. I told him I didn’t have any plans and he said that I was playing in the Lobster Bowl. It was a definitely a good surprise,” Young said.

Focusing solely on defense is new for Young, a two-way starter at MCI in each of the last two state title winning seasons.

“It definitely makes it a lot easier. You have less things to memorize,” he said. “(Receivers are) a lot quicker and stronger than what we’re used to, but it’s been an easy transition so far, competition-wise.”

With two state championships and four regional titles on his football resume, Young is at peace walking away from the game after the Lobster Bowl. He looks forward to studying aviation. For his senior project at MCI, Young job shadowed at the Augusta State Airport, where he got the chance to fly a few small planes.

“To me, it’s a little bit easier than driving a car. Definitely a lot safer,” Young said. “If I was to play college football, I feel like I’d have to study something I don’t want to, that I wasn’t fully interested in. I definitely have a love of flying, and that’s something I’d like to do as a career.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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