Atticus Soehren of Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School drops back to pass Saturday for Team Gold during the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl at Lewiston High School. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Atticus Soehren got to play quarterback for his father, Mark, for the final time at Saturday’s Lobster Bowl at Lewiston High School, after playing for his dad for the last four years. The Oxford Hills grad was looking forward to it, to the game he’s wanted to play in since he was a kid, and to play for his dad one last time, but it wasn’t always smooth sailing. 

“Before I got to high school and before I understood the clashes that were going to come from being coached by him, I always looked forward to it,” Atticus Soehren said. “Obviously, it’s special having the relationship with the head coach being your father but as I sort of got into high school I wasn’t really mature enough emotionally to be able to separate the coach aspect and the dad aspect.”

Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School football coach Mark Soehren coaches Team Gold Saturday during the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl at Lewiston High School. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Being the quarterback of the Vikings, Atticus caught flack for being the coach’s son and heard falsities about getting special treatment from his dad. 

“I had a conversation before COVID where both my boys expressed to me that they don’t get a lot of credit for the positions they’ve been in because they’re the coach’s kid,” Mark Soehren, who coached Team Gold at the Lobster Bowl, said. “Even this spring I heard a track kid say, ‘Hey, you know coach Soehren’s kid is the quarterback? You know he’s the football coach?’ Well, yeah, but I never put him at quarterback, that was the youth coaches. No one knows that, though, they just assume I put my kids there.”

Atticus learned as he went through high school — learned the game, learned from his dad and learned how to keep the father-son relationship solid through the game. 

The two don’t watch game film together but they do watch college football together on Saturdays and professional football on Sundays. 

“As I got older in that relationship I started to understand they’re separate but he’s still my dad,” Atticus Soehren said before the 7-on-7 tournament games started. “Being able to combine those made it special and something not every football player gets to say, so I am definitely very thankful for it. This one last time will be fun. Maturity helps a parent-son relationship quite a bit.”

The Soehrens were not the only father-son, coach-quarterback duo at the Lobster Bowl as Mike and Wyatt Hathaway got to work together one more time on Saturday, though for Team Gold instead of Leavitt Area High School. 

Like Atticus, Wyatt grew up around the game, following his dad to Leavitt and Lobster Bowl practices and games. Both have picked up a lot along the way. 

Wyatt Hathaway of Leavitt Area High School gets a fist bump from his father and coach, Mike Hathaway, after Wyatt Hathaway threw a touchdown pass for Team Green during Saturday’s Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl at Lewiston High School. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

“Growing up it was always my dream to play for my dad on the field and on the (basketball) court,” Wyatt Hathaway said. “I started going to practices when I was eight months old. Playing for my dad was special because we have such a good relationship off the field and it shows on the field and court. We think the same way and are always looking to have some fun while we compete, so it was an amazing four years.”

On the field Saturday, Mike said before the games started that his son would have nowhere to hide if a turnover was made. But both the Soehrens and the Hathaways had already talked game plans and were ready to play when the games kicked off in the afternoon. 

“Wyatt, I think, is the only quarterback and we will let kids get in and out, we will let the kids get some timing on our routes and they’re all football players and so that’ll take over,” Mike Hathaway said in the morning, the only time teams had to work together. “We want to put them in a position to be real instinctive and get out and do their thing. There’s nobody to put in if (Wyatt) throws a pick so I can get on him pretty good, so he has nowhere to hide.”

Hathaway, the 2020-21 Maine Gatorade Football Player of the Year, was ready to prove himself one more time on the football field in front of his peers. He’s won awards, won the Class C state championship in 2019 with Leavitt, but the chip on his shoulder hasn’t fled.

“I’m looking forward to playing with the best players around the state,” Wyatt Hathaway said. “The smaller school kids always have a chip on their shoulder so I’m excited to go out and show one more time that it doesn’t matter who I’m playing against or what class they’re in, that I’ll be one of the best players on the field. Knowing how much me, my dad, coach B.L. Lippert from Cony and coach Kevin Cooper from Bonny Eagle love to win, I know that we’ll be gunning for the trophy.”

Having a year of 7-on-7 football brought out different reactions from around the state last fall. Many wished the standard 11-on-11 football was played last fall, but overall the Soehrens and Hathaways were excited to be out on the football field one last time. For Mark Soehren, it will be about the memories.

“It’s just the memories. It’s hard to explain, and listen, I love basketball, baseball, track, but the football memories are different and football practices are different,” Mark Soehren said. “The bonding in the weight room, practice and on the field are different. Those parts we can reminisce about and how much I enjoyed them. Winning is good and we’ve been fairly successful, but we don’t just talk about wins, we talk about those moments. I think there’s as many in the weight room as there are in games.”

“That was the hard part about last fall if you look forward to that,” Soehren continued. “I try to liken it to a season of football as a year’s-worth of memories. When we lost that season it felt like I lost year’s-worth of memories with my kids (Atticus and underclassman Elias), the same thing as the Hathways and his two boys (Wyatt and underclassman Sawyer).”

The Soehrens and Hathaways both talked about how they were excited to see players, coaches and fans at the fields on Saturday and the last chance they’d have to play football as families. 

Mike Hathaway echoed Mark Soehren’s sentiments about being a family on the field, the trials and tribulations that come with it, the memories and everything in between.

“It’s going to be great to see Mark and Atticus there, if anyone can relate to what we’ve been going through it’s them,” Mike Hathaway said.

Hathaway’s Team Green matched up with Soehren’s Team Gold twice Saturday, with Team Green winning both the pool-play meeting and the playoff contest.

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