Lewiston and Edward Little both have new head football coaches this fall, but make no mistake: Monday’s practices that kicked off the fall preseason were not the first times Jason Versey and Rick Kramer met with their respective players. 

That happened months ago. 

Versey was hired to coach the Blue Devils at the beginning of February, and soon after that, he and many of the players got to work preparing for the 2022 season. Versey, a Lewiston High School graduate who previously served as an assistant to Chris Kates at Lisbon High School, said he held weight room sessions three days a week during the school year and then in the summer spent time on the field with his new team.

Kramer was hired by Edward Little in May. Like their rivals, the Red Eddies, who went 0-9 last season, quickly started working with their new coach.

“It was really good,” senior lineman Tulebari Monday said. “We went to the weight room and did a lot of stuff to make us better, and hopefully it works out on the field.”



Senior running back and receiver Hunter Lachance said that the results of the Red Eddies’ efforts are already showing.

“I am feeling pretty pumped after a long offseason,” Lachance said. “We spent a lot of time in (the weight room) … we will see how it turns out. (Kramer) did amazing. The 7-on-7s were rocky last year and we didn’t do too well. We lost a lot of our seniors from last year, but we had a lot of kids step up this year and we went 9-1. We beat a lot of good teams, like Mt. Blue, Leavitt, Lawrence, so we have the skill to be there.”

Though the coaching staff gained some familiarity with the players during the summer, Kramer said that the first two days of practice will be important for deciding the best positions for each player.

Edward Little’s new head coach Rick Kramer leads the first day of practice Monday in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Kramer said he also is focused on trying to inspire more dedication from the players — to themselves and the team.

“I am really excited,” Kramer said. “It should be a good season. I am most looking forward to the investment from the kids, looking to make a bigger commitment — making that greater commitment and seeing some dividends from it. It’s all about the individual commitment to the goal that we have, and that’s to play good football and be competitive.

“I think the biggest problem right now is we have a history of not making commitments to ourselves and to get better every day, and so that’s what we’re trying to do. The kids have been trying hard and it’s been a great summer. They’ve been coming in and lifting two times a week.”



Across the Androscoggin River, Lewiston (2-7 in 2021) started its preseason at 5:30 a.m. for the first of two practices Monday. 

After the morning practice, which he said went by in a blink, Versey was all smiles.

“There are no words to describe how excited I am to be a part of this program and be the head coach of this football team,” said Versey, who was a defensive tackle on Lewiston’s last state championship team in 1987. “I am so excited, so passionate and so blown away by the opportunity. I know that what we can do here is, if we work hard and stay together — even when I was a player, we were a family; it’s one thing I know that if we feel we belong and feel like we’re a family, then we can do anything.”

Lewiston’s new coach Jason Versey encourages his team Monday during warmups on the first day of football practice at Lewiston High School. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Versey said he felt anxious on Sunday about the Blue Devils’ first fall practices, but he woke up at 4 a.m. Monday ready to go.

He and the coaching staff have been preaching a saying, “We are one,” to the team. It was evident Monday that the Blue Devils were embracing the teaching as they worked together and helped each other during the morning practice. During his speech afterwards, Versey encouraged the younger players to interact with older players and vise-versa.


“To me, everything is about the culture,” Versey said. “There needs to be an idea and a philosophy of team-first. We say it all the time, “It’s we, not me.” It’s team-first. We talk about being a brotherhood and a family. The whole concept is, ‘We are one.’ It’s having a oneness of mind, of spirit; a oneness of wanting to do something together.

“Family is an acronym to us — Forget About Me, I Love You. It’s all about putting other people before yourself. We won’t get anywhere with people who feel they are above the team or culture. They’ve really bought into that. They’ve put in a tremendous amount of work in the spring and the summer. They’ve really taken ownership of this football program.”

Farid Muhammed-Aceto, Eli Bigelow and Jayden Maynard have all become leaders on the team, leading weight-room sessions and practices over the summer. Versey said that Gage Parent and Adam Benson, two of the team’s 18 sophomores, also have taken on leadership roles.

The Blue Devils’ goal is a championship. Versey said he isn’t sure when they’ll get there, but the objective has been set. 

“We preach a championship mindset,” Versey said. “We want a championship. The program teaches us so much about ourselves, but if we don’t have a target, what are we doing this for? Every year, we should be marching towards a championship and feel like we are putting in the work. We have a championship mindset and we’re out here to win a championship. I don’t know how long that’ll take, but that’s the goal.”

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