Dexter coach Andrew Shorey watches the action during a three-team controlled scrimmage with Orono and Mount View at Thorndike on Monday. Credit: Ernie Clark / BDN

Andrew Shorey, who guided the Dexter Regional High School football team to its first state championship since 1987 last fall, has stepped down as the Tigers’ head coach after seven seasons.

Shorey cited personal reasons for his decision, as he and his wife Devyn are expecting their first child in early September and he also is taking classes toward pursuing a career in school administration.

“It’s sad to go, but I’m excited about the next chapter,” Shorey said.

Shorey, also a math teacher and assistant baseball coach at Dexter, began his football coaching career at Sebasticook Middle School in Newport, then became co-head coach at Dexter with Brian Salsbury before serving alone as the Tigers’ head coach in recent years.

“I think it’s in a pretty good spot right now,” Shorey said of Dexter’s football program. “Going forward the numbers in the youth program still need to [improve], but right now as an eight-man program it’s in pretty good shape.”

Dexter switched from 11-player football to the eight-player ranks last fall, and after a 3-2 regular season won four consecutive games during an undefeated postseason run it capped off with a last-second 34-30 victory over Maranacook of Readfield in Portland on to capture the eight-player small-school state championship.

That game will live on as having one of the most dramatic conclusions in state high school football history,  with Dexter scoring the winning touchdown on the game’s final play — after the horn signaling the expiration of time had sounded at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

Quarterback Bryce Connor took the center snap from the Maranacook 14-yard line with the clock running and seven seconds left. He first rolled out  to his left, but finding no receiver open he reversed course and scrambled back toward the middle of the field and eluded one would-be tackler before spotting teammate Avery Gagnon open near the 5-yard line on the right side of the field.

Connor completed the pass to Gagnon, who cut back toward the middle of the field to elude several oncoming defenders before reaching the end zone for the winning touchdown.

Dexter, which had last captured a state championship by winning the 1987 Class C title, also was awarded the Maine Principals’ Sportsmanship Award for its division this season.

“It’s been a blast and last year was just an unbelievable way to go out,” Shorey said. “There’s been a lot of success the last few years but to finish like that was awesome.”

The school has been advertising to hire Shorey’s successor.

“[Andrew] cares for student-athletes, staff, school, community and the football program,” Dexter athletic administrator Roy Pelotte said. “After a season where the team won the sportsmanship award and state championship, it was time to move to another phase in his life.”

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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...