Brothers Aidan and Riley Parmenter play side-by-side on Leavitt’s formidable offensive line.
TURNER — Like most siblings, Aidan and Riley Parmenter aren’t above blaming each other if mom and dad want to know who’s at fault.
In terms of demeanor, Aidan, a senior at Leavitt, and Riley, a sophomore, are virtual opposites, and while they may point their fingers at each other if someone, say, leaves the toilet seat up, they agree their personalities don’t mesh.
“It’s both of our faults. I’m laid-back to a fault and he’s aggressive to a fault,” Aidan said.
“He’s too laid-back for my taste and I’m too aggressive for his,” Riley said. “We make it work, though.”
It works very well for the unbeaten Hornets. They line up side-by-side on the offensive line, Aidan at left tackle, Riley at left guard, and are both standouts on the defense, Aiden at tackle, Riley at linebacker.
Both are in the tradition of great Leavitt linemen in recent history such as Jon Pirrucello and Matt Pellerin who helped power the Hornets to state championships in classes B and C. Those players and teams served as inspiration for the brothers.
“I saw the 2009 team play and saw the 2013 team play,” Aidan said. “Those were always our heroes. We’d always pretend to be (Matt) Powell or (Matt) Child or (Levi) Morin or Pellerin.”
Being two classes apart, the Parmenters didn’t play much football together before last year, when they lined up together on the right side of the offensive line. The pairing was curtailed when Aidan broke two transverse processes (protrusions from the vertebra) during a game against Marshwood and ended up missing the final three games of the season.
“He was a captain last year and was a big leader for us,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said. “We were a lot younger then than we are now, and to lose that midseason, plus he was our best two-way lineman, that hurt.”
Riley’s presence helped soften the blow on both sides of the line, which is saying something for a freshman, Leavitt line coach Dave Bochtler said.
“I’ve never started a freshman since 1988 at Lewiston,” Bochtler said. “You can start a freshman at split end, kick returner, tailback once in awhile, because they’re skill positions. You can’t start freshmen on the offensive line. There’s too much to learn. They’re too fast, too big, too physical, and last year, we had no choice. He was the best lineman we had after his brother went down.”
Riley was part of a group of freshmen, along with Camden Jordan, Alan Peabody and Cole Morin, who started and/or saw significant playing time on a team that finished an uncharacteristic 2-7 yet nearly pulled off a quarterfinal upset over eventual B South champion Kennebunk.
“We needed guys last year and had some freshmen step up, and Riley was one of them,” Aidan said. “They did a great job. It wasn’t our best season, but they were there when we needed them.”
Aidan was a freshman on the Leavitt team that reached the 2014 state championship game, and even got to step on the Fitzpatrick Stadium turf to play center once the game turned into a blowout in Winslow’s favor. That experience inspired him, and by the middle of the following season, he’d worked his way into the starting lineup.
“When you’re that big and that strong, it’s a good combination,” Bochtler said. “His technique is good. On the defensive front, he’s a force.”
As a captain, Aidan can also be a force in terms of leadership, although he usually lets his actions do the talking.
“He doesn’t speak real often, but when he does, everybody listens,” Hathaway said. “Sometimes you have guys who are loud or whatever and they think that’s being a good voice. But I think it’s more about picking your spots and saying the right thing when you’re supposed to say it. He’s just good at that.”
“I believe that everyone can take care of themselves, so I only step in when I think we’re off-track, and I’m just as guilty of being off-track as well,” Aidan said. “If we’re off-track and we start to slack off like last year, the season’s going to end up like last year, which is not the goal.”
At 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, Aidan moves well for a player his size. Bochtler said he has outstanding technique and footwork and a great command of the Hornets’ scheme, which is a must in their two-gap system which requires its tackles to read what three-fifths of the offensive line is doing before committing themselves.
“He’s smart and he’s big,” Riley said. “He uses his size to his advantage. He knows the system. He gets it. He knows how football works.”
At 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, Riley isn’t as big as his brother but has the speed, strength, footwork and edge to be a force on both sides of the ball, as well.
After joining his brother on the defensive line last year, Riley moved to linebacker this season. Even though he’s never played the position before, coaches knew he had the confidence, fierceness and tenacity to handle the position.
“We just felt like, after last season, we needed to get a little more size into our linebacking corps, and he’s got the feet to do it,” Hathaway said. “I think you’ve seen him improve steadily every week. He had a great week last week against Gardiner, really was a force against their run game.”
“It was a big adjustment. But I knew it was coming in the offseason,” Riley said. “It’s not stepping up, it’s doing what you have to do and what you’re supposed to do. I was able to pick it up. The coaches have a pretty good idea of what people can do. You’ve just got to give it your all.”
The coaches said another key to the brothers’ dominance is their coachability. Both trust their coaches and the Hornets’ scheme.
But that’s about where the similarities end.
“Riley, he’s angrier than Aidan,” Hathaway said. “Aidan’s a little more relaxed and a little more mellow. Riley’s a little more amped and a little angrier. They kind of balance each other out a little bit. Sometimes when Riley gets a little over-excited, Aidan calms him down and sometimes when Aidan needs to get a little bit excited, Riley needles him a little bit and pumps him up.”
“I can rein him in,” Aidan joked, “and he can piss me off when we need it.”