Cony’s Reed Hopkins looks for a way around Biddeford’s Kurtis Edgerton during a game last season at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford. Portland Press Herald file photo by Ben McCanna

DOVER-FOXCROFT — When he goes over everything he played for the Cony High School football team last fall, Reed Hopkins chuckles. It’s funny because it’s so much.

“Punt returner, kick returner. I was on kickoff for a little bit. Mostly slot offensively and I played safety on defense,” Hopkins said.

That versatility helped Hopkins earn a spot on the East roster for the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl, which is set to kickoff Saturday at 4 p.m. at Thornton Academy in Saco. But with a team full of all-stars, all Hopkins has to do for the East is play wide receiver. Get open, and catch footballs.

“It makes it a lot easier, which is kind of nice. With only four receivers, we’re getting a lot of reps, for sure,” Hopkins said.

Brunswick’s Noah Goddard, left, and Cony’s Reed Hopkins watch an incomplete pass bounce past them during a game last season at Lewiston High School. Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan

Cony head coach BL Lippert is an assistant with the East squad, and joked about Hopkins’ sudden lack of on field time.

“I asked him if he wanted to return punts. He said ‘Not really.’ I said him if he wanted to hold on PATs. He said ‘Not really.’ You want to return kickoffs? ‘Not really.’ He’s never had that opportunity. He didn’t come off the field for us,” Lippert said. “You look around, and he might catch two balls in a practice, and for Reed it’s like, was he even here today? He’s usually picking off a pass, returning punts. He does everything for (Cony). I’m sure he’s enjoying being able to scale it back a bit and focus on one thing.”

As one of four wide receivers on the East roster, along with Hyatt Smith of Foxcroft Academy, Alex Brown of Mattanawcook, and Caleb Weeks of Dexter, Hopkins is a versatile target for East quarterbacks Marcus Christopher of Skowhegan, Leighton Girardin of Edward Little, and Garrett Trask of Hermon.

“It’s a lot fun catching it from them. They can huck it down the field, and it should be fun on Saturday,” Hopkins said.

Although he’s focusing on just one position in the Lobster Bowl, the annual all-star football game featuring the top recently graduated high school players to benefit Shriners hospitals for children, versatility will still be a big piece of Hopkins’ game.

“When he came up here, we (coaches) were saying, who should play in the slot and who should play outside. I was saying, he can play either one,” Lippert said. “He’s as talented a kid, with his ability to catch and his balance and anticipation, as we’ve had. He’s all of 165, 170 (pounds), and he’s the best receiver we’ve had blocking in space. He understands angles and he understands leverage.”

A win over Brewer last season highlighted Hopkins’ versatility. In that game he had touchdown catches of 62 and 28 yards, and ran for another score.

Hopkins was nervous when he arrived at training camp, wondering how he’d do against the talented defensive backs. After a few reps at practice, Hopkins realized he belonged. Having three Cony teammates, Nic Mills, Matt Wozniak, and Mike Wozniak, a late addition to the East, along with Lippert on the coaching staff, makes the Lobster Bowl experience even more special.

Cony’s Ashton Cunningham (34) tries to get past Brunswick’s Cole Engstrom as Cony’s Reed Hopkins (28) blocks during a game last season at Lewiston High School. Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan

“If there’s something I’m not getting, (Lippert will) explain it terms of the Cony offense. That’s a smoke screen we usually run at Cony, or that would be shake in our language. Same plays, same everything, just different wording. Different terminology. I’m getting used to it,” Hopkins said. “Coach Lip gave us a little bit of advice. Have fun and take it all in, because it only happens once. He knew how fun it was…. When we found out Mike was coming up, that was crazy.”

“From his sophomore year on, I knew people would underestimate him because he’s not particularly big. But he runs great routes and catches everything. He’s got exceptional balance and great instincts,” Lippert said. “There’s some really good receivers here, and he fits right in. He could play secondary in this game. He could probably play running back in this game.”

Hopkins will continue his football career in the fall at Maine Maritime Academy, where like the Lobster Bowl, he expects to focus on just wide receiver.

“He’ll go to Maine Maritime and play. This is a good preview for what it’s like in college,” Lippert said.


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