WINSLOW, Maine — Alec Clark has varied interests off the football field.

The Winslow High School senior is a record-setting powerlifter, a pumpkin farmer and a member of the school’s competitive cheering squad.

But it’s his strength and skill on the gridiron that has brought Clark back to the same point at the end of each of his high school football seasons — on Saturday, he’ll have the rare chance to start in a state championship game for the fourth consecutive year.

Winslow rallied to defeat Old Town 40-27 in last Friday’s Class C North final to become the first football team statewide to win four consecutive regional titles since Stearns of Millinocket won five Eastern C crowns in a row from 1991 through 1995.

The victory at Old Town earned coach Mike Siviski’s club the opportunity to win its second straight state title when Winslow plays Class C South champion Yarmouth in a 2:30 p.m. start from Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

“It means a lot,” said Clark of his pending personal four-peat, “because all your life you come across those who doubt you, they say you’re too small or not fast enough, and then you go out there and work hard and get to start in a state game at linebacker at about 175 [pounds] freshman year. Now I’m a senior, I’m 218 [pounds] and still doing it. It feels good.”

Clark, a 14-year-old freshman starting at linebacker when Winslow fell to Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft 22-20 in the 2012 Class C state final, is now a bearded veteran of 17 returning to Fitzpatrick Stadium for the third time — Winslow’s 2014 state championship-game victory over Leavitt of Turner Center was played at the University of Maine in Orono.

“Definitely the mental part is a little bit easier now,” said Clark, the son of Donald and Terri Clark. “There’s a big difference when you’re 14 years old going out onto the field with 18- and 19-year-olds. Now you’re 17 years old and you have a little bit more to work with.”

Alec Clark earned all-conference first-team honors at both linebacker and offensive guard for the second straight season after helping Winslow average 47.8 points in its 10 victories to date this fall and extend its overall winning streak to 21 games.

Clark’s work defensively has helped the Black Raiders post seven shutouts this year while yielding just 54 points — including only 27 in eight regular-season contests.

He also was a second-team all-conference choice on both offense and defense for the Black Raiders as a sophomore.

“Alec has great toughness and great physical skills, he’s a big hitter and a big blocker,” said Siviski. “He has an unbelieveable motor.”

That motor also propels Clark in several directions off the field with equal zeal.

Several years ago, he secured a $5,000 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to start a pumpkin-growing business that this fall produced some 3,000 pumpkins on a 2-acre parcel for sale to both wholesale and retail buyers in the area.

“I had been raised on a farm, so when we moved to a different place in Winslow, I knew I wanted to still do something through 4-H,” said Clark. “I found out about the loan program and applied, and I got the first youth loan from the USDA in New England.”

Clark’s powerlifting career began during his sophomore year at Winslow when he started working out at Littlefield’s Gym in Oakland, owned by someone he describes as one of his biggest inspirations, Winslow assistant football coach Wes Littlefield.

“He’s always there to talk to,” said Clark.

Six months after taking up the sport, Clark traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, for a USA powerlifting-sanctioned meet where he established national age 14-15 records in the 198½-pound weight class for the raw (unassisted) bench press (290 pounds) and dead lift (505 pounds).

“I like the drive you get when you get going on it because you know powerlifting helps you in everything, in football, my cheerleading, all those things,” said Clark, who went on to set state age-group records in the bench press, squat and dead lift at the Maine Games.

Clark also joined Winslow’s cheering squad as a sophomore after deciding that indoor track wasn’t for him during the winter.

As the only boy on Winslow’s competitive cheering squad, Clark provides much of the muscle for his teammates, whether it’s lifting and holding them in the air or as the base of a pyramid.

“I talked to some of the cheerleaders from the fall season and decided to try it,” he said. “They didn’t really talk me into it. I just thought, ‘Why not?’”

But while preseason cheering practices began Monday, those will have to wait until next week for Clark.

One more Saturday afternoon of blocking and tackling remains in his high school football career, along with perhaps sharing a pregame thought or two with less experienced teammates about what it’s like to compete on the big stage.

“You have to go for it,” he said. “If you don’t go out there and set the tone early, then you’re going to get driven back. You don’t get to the state game for no reason, so go out there and give it everything you’ve got.”

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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...