Tim Wilson is 70 years young.
And he is as passionate about coaching and teaching as he was when he began his coaching career in the 1960s.
Wilson, beginning his sixth season in his second stint as the head football coach at Dexter Regional High School, has experienced all the highs and lows associated with the profession.
So he has carefully evaluated last year’s 0-8 season, in which he had to break in a lot of new players, and is ready to make strides this season.
“We’re still young,” said Wilson. “We only have a couple of seniors. But we’ve got some pretty good athletes. We’ve got some guys who have played a couple of years for us.”
When senior quarterback Tim Gustin broke his thumb, that forced freshman Trevor Fogarty into service and he received valuable experience to take into this fall.
“He’s fun to watch and he’s a joy to coach,” said Wilson.
Fogarty has proven he can throw the football and that will diversify Dexter’s attack, which will include the wishbone.
“When we had (Dustin) Richardson two years ago, we probably threw only four or five times,” said Wilson. “Now we’re probably going to be 50-50 (pass and run).”
Fogarty will have some quality backs to hand off to in junior running back Andrew Levenselor and sophomore fullback Ethan Gould.
Levenselor could also line up at wide receiver and be a primary target for Fogarty.
Senior Zac Waterhouse could get some carries, and sophomore wide receiver Mike Poulin will be among his Fogarty’s primary targets.
Waterhouse, according to Wilson, may also be moved to the offensive line, and Poulin will serve as Fogarty’s backup.
Opening the holes and protecting Fogarty will be the likes of center Chris King, who lettered as a freshman last fall, and tackles Nick Bell, Kyle Lockhart and Anthony Domenec. Domenec, a junior, weighs more than 300 pounds and Lockhart, a sophomore, is in the 260-pound range, according to Wilson.
Bell is a seasoned senior with plenty of reps to his name.
“If I can get my line to play the way I want them to, it’s going to be an interesting season. They will give teams fits,” said Wilson.
Domenec, Bell and Lockhart will also play important roles on a defensive unit Wilson expects to be improved. Domenec will be the nose tackle in the 50 defense with Lockhart and Bell flanking him.
Waterhouse and King will be the mainstays at the linebacker slots and the secondary includes Fogarty and Levenselor at the safety spots and Poulin manning one of the corners. Levenselor has been moved from corner to safety.
Wilson is excited about the direction of Dexter football.
“We have 38 players,” said Wilson, who pointed out there are 15 freshmen.
“When you start getting double-digits in your freshman class, you know your program is getting there,” said Wilson, who credits middle school coach Kevin Armstrong and Daryl King, who coaches at all levels, with playing vital roles in bolstering interest in football and the development of the players. Armstrong is also one of Wilson’s assistants.
Old Town coach Steve Calande and his Coyotes scrimmaged Dexter and said he expects the Tigers to be improved.
“They have some good players and they play hard. You can tell they obviously work hard on football. They’ve spent time in the weight room. They don’t quit on plays and they don’t get pushed around. They’re physical,” said Calande.
He also praised Wilson’s offensive philosophy: The wishbone and a power running attack.
“Trying to move the chains and shorten the game is the right idea,” said Calande.
Dexter opens at home against Hermon on Saturday at 1 p.m.
DEXTER HIGH SCHOOL TIGERS
2009 results: 0-8 in Eastern Maine Class C
Head coach: Tim Wilson, sixth year
Key players: Andrew Levenselor, RB-WR-S, Jr., Nick Bell, OT-DT, Sr., Trevor Fogarty, QB-S, So., Chris King, C-LB, So., Kyle Lockhart, OT-DT, So., Anthony Domenec, NG-OT, Jr., Zac Waterhouse, LB-RB-OL, Sr., Mike Poulin, WR-CB-QB, So., Ethan Gould, FB, So.
Outlook: The Tigers will be young but improved. A lot of freshmen and sophomores received some quality playing time a year ago and they should reap the benefits. Fogarty became the starting quarterback as a freshman due to a late-season injury to Tim Gustin and proved he can make plays. If Fogarty can keep defenses honest with his passing, that will open up the ground game for Levenselor and Gould. They’ve got size in both lines. The defense should play at a higher level thanks to last year’s reps. If they can stay healthy, the Tigers are capable of making dramatic strides over the course of the year.