RUMFORD — In 2006, Devin Roberts was a vital part of one of great teams in Mountain Valley’s storied football history.

Devin Roberts holds the plaque he earned as the Campbell Conference Assistant Coach of the Year in 2017. Roberts has been hired at Mountain Valley’s new head football coach. Submitted photo

One of 22 seniors on the unbeaten Class B state championship team, Roberts teamed up with fellow running back Justin Stairs and quarterback Andy Shorey to lead an offense that generated over 40 points per game under the direction of head coach  Jim Aylward.

Thirteen years later, Roberts is the latest alumnus given the opportunity to return Mountain Valley football to those glory days, when the Falcons won a gold ball every even-numbered year between 2004 and 2010.

Roberts was named varsity head coach late last month, taking over for another alum, Pat Mooney, who resigned last fall, shortly after his third season at the helm.

“The Mountain Valley program has been very good to me, as a player and as a coach, for a long time,” Roberts said. “Being able to have the opportunity to take over as the head coach was almost like a dream come true for me.”

Roberts, 30, served as offensive play-caller for Mooney and his predecessor, Steve Lapointe, for five years. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach at nearby Dirigo.

Roberts said he met with players Wednesday, handing out the schedule and weight program for the offseason and opening the dialogue on expectations for the fall.

“I had a meeting during their first and second lunches and talked about what things are going to look like next year, my philosophy, my expectations. I asked what they expected of me,” he said.

Asked what the players’ response was, Roberts said “They want me to be harder on them. They want the coaches to really separate themselves and really be coaches and not friends to the players. A couple of kids had said that. Not that we’re friends with them, but they really want to have structure and organizations in their program, because I think they saw that we haven’t had that the last few years.”

Mountain Valley moved to Class D two years ago and has posted an 8-8 record during the regular season and 1-2 in the playoffs, reaching the semifinals in 2017.

Roberts expects the Falcons will still be in Class D when the Maine Principals’ Association implements its reclassification plan this spring. He also expects a more disciplined, committed and cohesive Mountain Valley team.

“We’ve got a good senior class coming back,” Roberts said. “We’ll have a lot more than one or two leaders in this group.”

“If I get the structure and organization down, and the discipline that we need, I really think from where Coach Mooney left off, he started a snowball and it stopped somewhere in the middle of the hill. I think I can continue that in my own way,” Roberts said.

Mountain Valley athletic director Tom Danylik said Roberts’ roots with the school and knowledge of its recent struggles made him an appealing candidate.

“Devin presented to us as somebody that understands the importance of the pride and tradition and what it’s going to take to get us back to that spot,” Danylik said. “His fire and his passion for coaching is incredible. He’s a young guy, and being on the staff for the last few years and seeing some things that he wanted to change, he’s got some great ideas to move us forward.”

Roberts plans to meet with potential candidates for his coaching staff in the near future. He expects it to include some of his colleagues on Mooney’s staff.

In addition to participating in Leavitt’s summer 7-on-7 camp, as the Falcons traditionally do, Roberts has added a pair of mini-camps to the offseason program and hopes parents will agree to a four-day retreat for team-building and bonding purposes during the summer.

Philosophically, Roberts said the Falcons will continue to throw the ball more, as they did last year after a couple of seasons of using a run-heavy single-wing offense. But Mountain Valley’s offense will be capable of doing either, or both, he vowed.

“I’m going to run what it takes to win, put it that way,” he said. “If I have to throw the ball 40 times a game to win, I’m going to do it. If I have to run the ball 30 times a game to win, I’m going to do it.”

“We’re kind of thin on the line, but we’re going to make that work,” Roberts said. “We have a lot of athletes that we can really utilize everywhere on the field.”

Roberts, who is married and has a nearly 2-year-old daughter, currently works for Coca-Cola and is attending University of Maine at Augusta, looking to become an ed tech and eventually obtain a bachelor’s degree to become an English teacher.