Jim Aylward of Mountain Valley, Dick Mynahan of Lisbon and Mike Hathaway of Leavitt are three of eight Maine football coaches vying to be named the USA Today’s Best High School Football Coach in the country contest.

Aylward, Mynahan and Hathaway are joined on the ballot by Kevin Cooper of Bonny Eagle, John Hersom of Lawrence, Dan O’Connell of John Bapst, Bob Sinclair of Orono, and John Wolfgram of Cheverus. 

Voters have until noon on Oct. 8 to choose one from that group of coaches to represent Maine in the regional round, along with a winner from each state and Washingon, D.C. Regional voting begins noon Oct 9 and ends noon Oct. 18.

The eight regional winners face off in the finals, with the champion crowned based on the most votes in the final round, which begins at noon Oct. 21 and concludes noon Oct. 29.

As of late Thursday afternoon, O’Connell was dominating the voting with 52.5 percent of the vote, followed by Sinclair with 16.2 percent, then Hathaway with 15.9 percent. The nominees were selected by USA Today staffers to represent the Pine Tree State after more than a month of conversations with local media and other state and school officials with high school football expertise.

The contest includes 408 coaches nationwide. The champion receives $2,000 for his athletic department, while second place will be awarded $1,000. Third place will receive $500, fourth will get $250 and fifth will be awarded $100. All eight finalists will receive banners for their schools.

To vote, log on to http://contest.usatodayhss.com/vote/bestcoach2013/me.

Top performer: Quincy Thompson, Lisbon

Thompson racked up 322 total yards running, receiving and passing and scored three touchdowns to lead Lisbon to a 42-6 win over Old Orchard Beach.

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