One is wearing blue this week, the other white as players on opposing teams for the 21st annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl.
But within a few weeks Jackson Taylor of Windham and Rashon Edgerton of Brunswick will be fledgling football teammates at the University of Maine.
Taylor and Edgerton were the two Pine Tree State natives to land scholarships last winter to join coach Jack Cosgrove’s Black Bears after successful high school careers.
Taylor, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound quarterback, passed for 1,824 yards and 17 touchdowns while leading Windham to its first Class A state championship last fall. He threw only two interceptions in 169 pass attempts and also rushed for 351 yards while leading the Eagles to an 11-1 record.
Edgerton, a 6-2, 190-pound running back, wide receiver and safety at Brunswick, rushed for 570 yards, caught 532 yards worth of pass receptions, scored 14 touchdowns and grabbed six interceptions while helping the Dragons compile a 9-2 record and reach the Eastern A championship game.
But with those resumes as backgrounds, both Taylor and Edgerton know they now are starting over in their efforts to carve out successful college careers at their state university.
Both likely are redshirt candidates, particularly Taylor as Maine enters the preseason well-armed at quarterback with returning veterans Warren Smith and Chris Treister.
“That’s a challenge that I have to face but it’s one that I’m up to and expect to excel at and pass,” said Taylor, who will call signals for the West in Saturday’s Lobster Bowl, set for a 4 p.m. opening kickoff from Waterhouse Field in Biddeford.
“I want to play, that’s my goal,” Taylor added. “If I have to claw and fight for it I will, but that’s on me and I’m confident enough in myself that I can work at it and can become good enough to do it. I want to be that guy, that’s how I’ve been my whole life and that’s just who I am now.”
Edgerton, who expects to focus on wide receiver at Maine, also anticipates waiting his turn for time in the Black Bears’ lineup
“I’m pretty sure I’m going to redshirt next year and that’s going to help me a lot in terms of getting ready to play Division I football,” said Edgerton, a member of the Lobster Bowl’s East squad. “As far as me getting on the field, I’m just going to have to work hard every day and to do everything I can to catch the coaches’ attention.”
Both considered other collegiate options before selecting Maine. Edgerton mulled walking on with other Division I programs, and Taylor considered schools out West as well as other Colonial Athletic Association programs such as New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
“I was pretty much looking for the best spot for me, but after visiting a few schools and checking everything out I really liked Orono, and I’ve been one my whole life who’s wanted to get out of here,” said Taylor. “But Maine felt like home.”
Taylor has spent most of the summer in Orono, acclimating himself to the Maine campus and working out with other players who have remained in the area.
“The big thing for me is to know the playbook,” he said. “I think for any system in high school or college or the pros you’ve got to know what you’re doing, so the big thing for me is to know that playbook by heart and be able to make all the calls.
“If you’re in the game and you’re the most talented player in the world but you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re not as useful as the guy who knows what he’s doing but might not be able to make the same plays. I think that’s my biggest thing, to know what I’m doing and my body can do the rest.”
Edgerton is working out at home this summer, and sees the week of three-a-day practices at Hebron Academy leading up to the Lobster Bowl as a great way to prepare for preseason workouts at Orono.
“This is kind of knocking the rust off a little bit,” said Edgerton. “There’s nothing like getting out and playing football. I still try and lift all the time and run but there’s nothing like game situations and I think this going to help me a lot when I go up there.”
Taylor is relishing the same opportunity to work out with his Lobster Bowl teammates, but for a somewhat different reason.
“It’s actually been kind of like a week off for me,” he said. “I’ve been up in Orono all summer four days a week working out and running with the team so it’s kind of nice to get away and be with some friends for a while and have some fun. Not that being up there isn’t fun, but it’s good to be with guys you’ve known and have a little break — although I wouldn’t call three practices a day a super break.”
All proceeds from the Lobster Bowl benefit the Shriners Hospitals for Children, a fact that makes this week even more meaningful to the future University of Maine teammates.
“It’s a special feeling to know that you’re supporting such a great cause,” said Taylor, “and that you’re doing it by doing something you love, which for us is playing football.”