LINCOLN, Maine — Bill McCarthy played linebacker and running back for the Mattanawcook Academy football team back in the ground-and-pound days of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

As the new head coach at his alma mater, he’d like to refocus the program on a similar physical style in tune with the community’s milltown tradition.

“I’m a fundamentals guy,” said McCarthy, a veteran assistant coach with the Lynx who recently was approved for the head post by the local school board. He replaces Dave Hainer, who was not rehired after six years on the job.

McCarthy is well entrenched within the area, having served as Lincoln’s parks and recreation director as well as coaching multiple sports and once serving as Mattanawcook’s athletic administrator in addition to his job as a special education teacher at the school.

“Bill’s talking about trying to rebuild the team back to what it was in its glory days,” said current MA athletic administrator Rick Meyers. “He’s excited.”

McCarthy hopes his community connections will help address one of the football’s programs major challenges of recent years — maintaining healthy participation numbers at the high school level.

Those numbers have been reduced by several factors, among them a lack of recent varsity success — the Lynx finished 2-7 last fall after losing to eventual Class C state champion Foxcroft Academy in the LTC quarterfinals — as well as the introduction of a varsity soccer program at the school in 2009 and a gradually shrinking student enrollment.

As of April 1, 2012, the enrollment date used for reclassification in all interscholastic sports statewide for the two-year cycle that begins this fall, Mattanawcook Academy has 339 students, making it the third-smallest LTC-member school ahead of only Dexter (290) and Stearns of Millinocket (185).

“Numbers-wise we’ve been down the last couple of years, which creates some problems with depth,” said McCarthy, who coached football under Hainer the last two years after previous stints as an assistant under former Lynx head coaches Ken Libbey and Mike Carney.

“We’re trying to energize as many kids who play want to football as we can, to get those numbers up to create competition within practice as well as increase the depth.”

McCarthy said there is reason for optimism on that front, noting that the local youth football program is in good standing and some 50 players have signed up to play high school football this fall, including 22 from the incoming freshman class.

That compares with fewer than 30 players who have finished each of the last two seasons on the high school teams due to injuries and attrition, he said.

McCarthy said the team’s offseason training program will begin next week and include strength, agility and conditioning work in addition to a minicamp during the middle of the summer.

The Lynx will play in the new 10-team Eastern Maine Class D this fall as part of the four-class format approved by the Maine Principals’ Association in late March. MA will be joined in Eastern D by Ellsworth-Sumner, John Bapst of Bangor, Mount View of Thorndike, Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield, Washington Academy of East Machias, Bucksport, Orono, Dexter and Stearns.

Tennis sportsmanship banners awarded

The Maine Principals’ Association is continuing to expand its sportsmanship program with the ultimate goal of awarding banners to selected schools in all 27 of the activities it sponsors throughout the academic year.

That awards program was extended to team tennis for the first time this spring, with winners announced during last Saturday’s state championship matches at the Armstrong Tennis Center in Hampden.

The following teams received MPA sportsmanship banners:

Eastern Maine Class A: Hampden Academy boys and Erskine Academy of South China girls.

Western Maine Class A: Windham boys and Portland girls.

Eastern Maine Class B: Camden Hills of Rockport boys and Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft girls.

Western Maine Class B: Yarmouth boys and Cape Elizabeth girls.

Eastern Maine Class C: Penobscot Valley of Howland boys and Stearns of Millinocket girls.

Western Maine Class C: Waynflete of Portland boys and Old Orchard Beach girls.

Applicants sought for high school Heisman

From now through Oct. 2, high school class of 2014 seniors can apply for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award, a program honoring outstanding high school scholar-athletes for their commitment to academic achievement, community service involvement, and athletic prowess.

To apply, students can go to for a chance to win the award. The first 25,000 students with completed applications will receive a Wendy’s gift card valued at $10.

Created by Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas in 1994, the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award has received more than 400,000 applications and honored more than 228 national finalists and 38 national winners.

A partner award with college football’s Heisman Memorial Trophy, the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award recognizes successful candidates at the school and state levels, with six female and six male national finalists receiving an all-expenses paid trip to New York City to attend the Wendy’s High School Heisman Awards Ceremony and college Heisman Memorial Trophy Award weekend festivities in December.

The one male and one female Wendy’s High School Heisman Award winners also will earn $10,000 for their high school and a $500 Wendy’s gift card.

For more information, students can visit, call 800-205-6367 or contact their high school principal, guidance counselor or athletic administrator. Participants also can “Like” Wendy’s Heisman on Facebook at for additional program details.

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...