September 25, 2012

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: LaBelle named interim coach at Messalonskee

By Travis Lazarczyk
Staff Writer

OAKLAND -- Chapin LaBelle, a longtime assistant football coach at Messalonskee and Skowhegan high schools, will act as Messalonskee's head coach for the remainder of the season.

LaBelle replaces Wes Littlefield, who resigned on Thursday following an incident at Wednesday's practice. On Tuesday, Littlefield was charged with misdemeanor assault, according to the Oakland Police Department.

LaBelle, 31, said he and the coaching staff will not make any big changes in the way the Eagles practice and play.

"We'll try and keep everything going every single way it's been going," LaBelle said.

Messalonskee athletic director Tom Hill met with the football coaching staff to discuss coaching options for the rest of the season.

"Everybody at the table felt (LaBelle) had experience, and he was comfortable handling that role," Hill said.

A 1999 graduate of Messalonskee High School, LaBelle returned to the Eagles this season after spending the previous eight years as an assistant coach at Skowhegan. Prior to that, LaBelle began his coaching career with two years as an assistant at Messalonskee.

During last Friday's game in South Paris against Oxford Hills, LaBelle ran Messalonskee's defense, while coach Rob Rodrigue called the offensive plays. LaBelle said that will continue.

"We'll keep running double wing and power football and playing strong defense," LaBelle said.

Hill said Messalonskee will conduct a search for a coach when the season is over.

"Everybody understands this is for the rest of the season," Hill said. "When the season's over, we'll reopen the position."

The team is putting the distractions of the last week in the past, LaBelle said, and is focusing on football. The Eagles are 4-0 and play in Auburn against Edward Little on Friday.

"Once we get one week behind us, I think we'll be OK," LaBelle said. "We move on a little more every day."

Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242


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