Drew Belcher, Max Staver and Chris Ferguson each had their moments Saturday in the University of Maine’s 13th annual Jeff Cole spring scrimmage at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Staver, the graduate transfer with the big-time arm, threw two touchdown passes, and Belcher and Ferguson, each returning from last year, each threw one.

But the quarterback competition wasn’t settled during the final scrimmage – won by the defense 50-49 with a unique scoring system – of Maine’s spring football season.

“I think we’ve still got to go through the summer and August,” said Coach Joe Harasymiak. “And we’ll do that. It will be similar to last year where we named our starter (the graduated Dan Collins) after the second scrimmage. I think we need time to evaluate it further.”

It didn’t help that Maine was missing its three top wide receivers – Micah Wright (ankle), Jaleel Reed (thumb) and Earnest Edwards (thumb) – with injuries, preventing the quarterbacks from working with them.”

“All three of those guys have improved, there’s no doubt,” said offensive cordinator Liam Coen said of the quarterbacks. “It’s just there’s not going to be any decision right now. It’s going to go into training camp.

“Really, it’s not fair to evaluate the position right now, with the depth issues we have, especially at wide receiver. Continuity, chemistry, timing, none of that was able to be seen this spring.”

While each quarterback contender made some impressive throws, Coen said he didn’t think any of them stood out.

“There’s glimpses of high level of play,” said Coen, mentioning key plays by each. “It just needs to happen on a more consistent level for us to make a decision.”

The contenders realize that. Ferguson talked about going back and watching film, and seeing where he needs to improve and where he did well. Belcher spoke about “becoming more consistent and moving the chains better.” Staver, listed at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, spoke about going to Atlanta to try to improve his “mobility, flexibility and foot speed.”

They all know this position battle is going to be closely watched and they have to perform at their best.

“There’s always some sort of pressure to perform,” said Belcher, who has started nine games at Maine. “You can never take a day off to perform.”

Of the three contenders, Ferguson, finishing his freshman year, believes he faces the least pressure. But he still feels the pressure to perform. “You go out there and you want to be great, you want to make all the throws. Sometimes I get a little ahead of myself. I’ve got to learn to just relax, smile and have fun.”

Staver, who transferred from Houston Baptist and has one year of eligibility remaining, said he doesn’t feel any pressure. But he also knows he has to make the most of his chance.

“I do have to get on my horse and do everything I can to win the job because this is my last year,” said Staver, who is pursuing a graduate degree in human development. “I didn’t come 38 hours from Houston to not do that.”

NOTES: Cornerback Najee Goode, the team’s best cover corner, suffered an injury to his right leg late in the scrimmage and limped to the locker room. Harasymiak said he didn’t know the extent of the injury but hoped it wasn’t as serious as it looked. “That would not be a good one,” he said. … Defensive tackle Charles Mitchell, finishing up his redshirt freshman season, had a good day even though a hamstring injury prevented him from participating. When the team handed out its spring awards, Mitchell not only received the most improved defensive player but also a full scholarship from Harasymiak. “I’m speechless right now,” said Mitchell, who was trying to contact his parents. “I can’t even believe it. I’ve just been keeping my head down and just focused all the way through. I’ve got to thank my teammates and coaches and academic advisors.” …Other awards given out were sophomore offensive lineman Cody Levy as most improved offensive player and freshman linebacker Jaron Grayer as most improved special teams player. Defensive tackle Skylar Bowman and running back Joe Fitzpatrick received strength and conditioning awards. … Running back Josh Mack, who led Maine with 744 rushing yards and six touchdowns last year, was suspended for a violation of team rules. He can return in the fall. Darian Davis-Ray was out with an injury and Fitzpatrick, who played at Cheverus High and is from North Yarmouth, had to sit out the second half of the scrimmage after taking a blow to the head. That left just Nigel Beckford at running back and he performed well, breaking through the interior line several times for big gains. … Three former Black Bears are participating in NFL tryout camps. Linebacker Christophe Mulumba Tshimanga is with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, quarterback Dan Collins with the Buffalo Bills and long snapper Jeremy Salmon with the New Orleans Saints. Mulumba Tshimanga, who is from Montreal, is also expected to be selected in the Canadian Football League draft Sunday. He’s ranked second among eligible linebackers.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH