With his finger firmly on the pulse of Maine high school football, Ernie Clark has prevailed.
The veteran sportswriter turned in a 16-4 record during the final week to claim his fifth staff title in this, the 47th edition of Bangor Daily News Football Forecast.
Clark outlasted the field in the tightest staff race in recent memory, edging outdoors editor John Holyoke (15-5) and sports editor Joe McLaughlin (16-4) by a game each. Larry Mahoney slipped to 13-7 and finished in a fourth-place tie with Ryan McLaughlin, two games behind.
Clark finished with a record of 160-40 (.800), winning for the second time in four years. He also took staff honors in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2009 after earning the guest title in 2003.
Among the staff members, Holyoke and Joe McLaughlin finished the season 159-41 (.795), Mahoney and Ryan McLaughlin wound up three games back at 157-43 (.785), followed by Pete Warner and Dave Barber (both at 153-47, .765) and Andrew Neff (151-49, .755).
Guest Charlie Merritt of Clifton, a University of Maine journalism and English major who is interning with the BDN sports department, had a solid 15-5 effort.
That leaves Brian Strout of Bangor and Linda Kamp of Bangor to share the guest crown. Each went 18-2 on a guest roster that finished tied with or ahead of five BDN staffers.
The other guest performances were: Nick Cullen (17-3), Alejandro Rave and Mark Chevalier (16-4), Bryan Stackpole, Aaron Civiello and Merritt (15-5), Wes Hart (14-6) and Melissa Kim 13-7).