There are times, Wes Littlefield admits, when it hits him.

“Not having him around, it’s tough,” the Winslow football co-head coach said. “We miss the guy.”

For the first time in more than three decades, Winslow opened a tackle football season without longtime coach Mike Siviski calling the shots.

Winslow High School football co-coach Wes Littlefield instructs a a player during practice Wednesday at Winslow High School. Assistant coach Erik Davidson looks on at right. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Siviski, who won seven state titles and 11 regional crowns in 35 seasons with the Black Raiders, retired last August.

Former longtime assistants Littlefield and Pete Bolduc were named co-coaches, and both acknowledged it’s been different not having Siviski around this week. Littlefield and Bolduc coached the Black Raiders during 7-on-7 play last fall, but with the return of tackle football to Maine, Siviski’s absence is palpable.

“It’s a new world not just to us, but to the kids as well,” Bolduc said. “I find myself a lot of times saying to the team, ‘just like coach Siviski would say.’ I think I’ve said that 20 or 30 times in the last few days.”

Added Littlefield: “You get used to doing things a certain way. It’s funny, Mike always did the offense and he let me run the defense. Now, when I holler ‘offense’ in practice, I’m looking around for Mike, and he’s not there. It’s different.”

 

• • •

 

Every team has a signature workout.

At Winthrop, it’s … The Hill.

“If you conquer The Hill you can conquer anything,” Winthrop/Monmouth football coach Dave St. Hilaire said.

The Hill stares down at the Ramblers’ home Maxwell Field. It’s where spectators sit to watch the team play. And it’s where players push themselves physically and mentally.

“It’s painful, but it’s good pain,” said senior nose tackle/guard Jacob Umberhind.

Winslow football co-coach Pete Bolduc gives instruction to linebackers during practice Wednesday at Winslow High School. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

During a practice this week, St Hilaire and coaches presented the team with a choice: Do two sets of five hill runs or run across the football field and up the hill four times.

The players picked the second option.

“That was a terrible choice,” Umberhind said. “As soon as the coach said, ‘go,’ I said, ‘oh, no, this is going to be wrong. Way too much running there.”

Added St. Hilaire: “Yeah, they thought that was a good option, but it’s not. It ends up being a lot more.”

File under: Live and learn.

 

• • •

 

Roxanne Malley almost walked away — almost.

However, the 62-year-old Erskine girls cross country coach decided to come back for another season.

Her reasoning?

“I just love being involved,” she said. “I love the kids and I get my battery charged every day. That’s a good thing.”

Now comes the hard part for Malley: Filling out a roster.

“Right now I have just one girl, but I expect to have more,” she said. “We have a freshmen orientation soon and hopefully we can recruit some kids there. I like to encourage both girls and boys basketball team players to come out. We don’t just do running; we do a lot of core work. For example, (on Wednesday) we were flipping tires.”

 

• • •

 

Maranacook boys soccer coach Don Beckwith had one message for his players this week.

“Nothing is a given anymore,” he said. “Things can go away quickly. You have to make the most of the moment. Everything is just … different now.”

Beckwith, who had 27 players come out this week, added the pandemic has given him a fresh perspective on coaching.

“You don’t know how much you miss it until it’s gone,” he said. “You think you might, but you don’t until it’s taken away.”


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