HEBRON —When Mt. Blue played Cony last season, the Cougar coaching staff gave star linebacker Colten Miranda one task — follow Luke Duncklee.

Miranda and Duncklee are teammates this week, playing for the East in the 22nd Annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic (4 p.m., Waterhouse Field in Biddeford). So is Miranda still stalking the Cony quarterback around the Hebron Academy campus during training camp?

“Absolutely not. I’m watching him run around in practice and going, ‘Yup, I’m glad he’s on my team,'” Miranda said.

Miranda is enjoying the opportunity to call players from Cony and Mt. Blue’s other former Pine Tree Conference rivals his teammates (Mt. Blue is moving down to Class B for the upcoming season).

“It’s kind of weird because you grow up and you don’t like any of these guys,” he said. “But then you get down here and they’re all just regular guys. You hang out and you have fun. You’re out there playing defense and somebody makes a big play, it doesn’t matter if they’re a Lawrence guy or a Bangor guy, you get excited.”

Miranda is also getting to know nearly a dozen potential future teammates at Husson, where he will enroll and plans to play football this fall.

An all-conference and Sun Journal all-region linebacker, Miranda was a tackling and play-making machine for the Cougars in 2010. He anchored a defense that ranked among the best in the PTC and led Mt. Blue to the conference semifinals.

“He was obviously the heart and soul of our defense. As a run-stopper, he allowed us to do so many things,” Mt. Blue coach Gary Parlin said. “He is just a great kid to coach. He never misses a practice. He never takes a play off.”

Mt. Blue altered its defensive philosophy a bit last year to take advantage of Miranda’s toughness and intelligence inside, and he thrived.

“The system was built for me to run around and make plays. It was awesome,” he said.

Miranda prepared for his role as the defensive centerpiece by hitting the weight room hard and the film room even harder.

“I probably watched six or seven films on each team every week,” Miranda said. “And my coaches were always good. We always got a sheet of tendencies and percentages.”

Parlin said the selection to the Lobster Bowl means more to Miranda than most Mt. Blue players who have been so honored.

“He was a kid that wanted so badly to go to the Lobster Bowl,” Parlin said. “A lot of kids say it, but when it gets close to time… He could not wait for this week to happen. So I’m hoping he has a good game and I’m sure he will.”

Playing behind the East’s big and athletic defensive line, Miranda expects to have a big game.

But Parlin warns not to expect any big plays that involve interceptions. Miranda couldn’t catch a pass “if they sewed the football to his hand,” he said.

“It was always a little joke between us,” Parlin said. “He had four or five opportunities to pick one off last year and he’d come to the sideline and find a place as far away from me as he could because he knew I’d have something wise to say.”

Miranda said he would love to crack wise back at his coach if he gets the opportunity on Saturday.

“If they threw a little screen, I could pick it off, maybe,” he said. “Well, maybe a little lob.”


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