PORTLAND – Deering High football coach Scott Parsons resigned Wednesday as a result of an inappropriate comment he made to the referee at the end of a game against Massabesic in Waterboro last Friday night.

Assistant coach Matt Riddell, who was designated by school officials to serve as head coach for Friday night’s home game against Lewiston, was appointed interim head coach for the rest of the season.

Asked why Parsons resigned, Athletic Director Melanie Craig said: “You’ll have to ask Scott. We accepted his resignation at 11 a.m. Wednesday.”

Parsons, who was in his first year as head coach, didn’t return messages seeking comment.

Deering lost to Massabesic 13-12 to fall to 0-4.

Riddell was in his first season as an assistant coach with Deering, coaching the offensive line and linebackers.

“I feel fantastic about becoming the interim head coach,” said Riddell, 44. “I also feel sad for Scott. He put a lot into this program and it just didn’t work out. It’s been a difficult week for everyone involved. We’re getting focused for Friday night.”

Riddell has head coaching experience at the semipro level with the Southern Maine Raging Bulls from 1998 to 2001. He won the league title in his last season.

Riddell also has been an assistant coach with the Maine Sabers, another semipro team, for the past three seasons. Last season, Riddell was an assistant freshman coach at Bonny Eagle High and has coached at the middle-school level there.

He said the Rams are young and inexperienced but talented.

“We have 18 talented freshmen and 15 talented sophomores. We have a young core of skill players and linemen,” said Riddell. “We’ve been in every game into the third quarter. I think this program has a bright future.”

Asked if he would like to be appointed the permanent head coach, Riddell said: “I would feel honored. I have a lot invested in the program and have built up some good relationships with the players.”

Riddell said there’s irony in the fact his first game as a high school head coach will involve the same schools on the field where he played his first varsity game.

“My first game as a varsity football player was in 1985 playing for Lewiston against Deering at Memorial Field,” he said.

John Curtis, a senior co-captain, said the players are trying to put the past few days behind them and focus on Friday night’s game.

“I’m sorry to see Coach Parsons go,” said Curtis. “We have to move forward and start playing good football.”

Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter:TomChardPPH