As evidenced by his tireless work out of the wildcat formation during a run to the Cougars’ second consecutive Class D West championship game last fall, Tyler Frost enjoys the spotlight and isn’t afraid to take a pounding.

It looks like a match made in heaven.

“That’s the plan,” Frost said. “I’m hoping I can get the ball quite a lot of the game. We’ve had some good success and have some good guys in front of me blocking.”

A barrel-chested fullback who rarely goes down from initial contact, Frost is the ideal workhorse for Hersom’s relentless, old-school Wing-T attack, if he stays healthy.

Frost’s precautionary departure from a scrimmage against Mountain Valley following a hard hit probably left a few Cougars’ fans groaning, but as you might expect, Hersom has a contingency plan for that, too.

Senior Kaine Hutchins, formerly a receiver, has shifted to tailback. Brothers Joe and Mike Casey may see plenty of carries, too, and you can’t count out the athleticism of junior quarterback and basketball star Riley Robinson.


“Some years you’ve only got one. Some years you’ve got a half-dozen. This year I think you’re going to see a lot of kids share the limelight,” Hersom said. “I think that’s one of our strengths is getting the ball spread around.”

“We’ve got a good mixture or speed and power,” Frost added. “We can move around. Everyone knows the spots. They can play fullback, wingback.”

Dirigo had similar depth and balance a year ago, when then-head coach Dave Crutchfield gambled and junked the conventional offense the Cougars had run the entire season prior to a regional semifinal contest at Monmouth/Winthrop.

The Cougars stunned the Ramblers, 22-20, to reach their third final in five years before dropping a 16-14 verdict to eventual state champion Oak Hill.

Of course, they had another element in place that made things run so smoothly.

“We lost our whole offensive line from last year,” Frost said. “It’s good, though, because it’s competition for the younger kids stepping up now. It causes less goofing off and more focus.”


Matt Irish, Barrett Doiron, Vince Hebert and Bryce Whittemore are among the newcomers whose grasp of technique will be necessary to make the grind-it-out offense sing.

There are few distractions when learning a new position from Hersom, whose father, Doc, and brother, John, guided Edward Little and Lawrence, respectively, to state titles.

Jim, who has Class A and C regional titles to his credit and also was an assistant on Leavitt’s 2009 Class B championship club, runs a tight ship.

“He really knows his stuff to say the least. He’s been doing it a while. He’s had some great success. We’re happy to have him,” Frost said. “He’s cracking down on discipline a lot harder, and he’s making sure everyone on the field knows what they’re doing, or they’re out.”

Hersom spent the past two seasons at Gray-New Gloucester, a program that has struggled mightily with numbers and continuity since moving to the varsity level in 2005.

As transitions go, coming to Dirigo, which has made a habit of appearing in football, baseball and boys’ basketball championship games, is a pretty smooth one.

“I was telling these guys that this is my 31st year, and if it’s not the best, this was one of the best, most enjoyable first weeks I’ve had,” Hersom said. “We got a lot done.”

That’s gratifying, but around here, the third week of August is considered a building block to the third week of November.

“We want to close the door now,” Frost said. “It’s not like we like coming in second place down there. It’s always good getting gold.”

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