Most high school football coaches prefer that their quarterback not play defense. The reasoning is the quarterback, an integral part of the offense, is too valuable to risk injury on defense.

There are exceptions. If a quarterback has good size and is a physical player, there’s probably no harm in playing him on defense. If the defense absolutely needs him on defense, that’s another reason to play him. But for the most part, teams like to protect their quarterback as much as possible.

Then there’s Sam Meklin of Oceanside High (the merger of Rockland and Georges Valley). Meklin, the Mariners’ talented quarterback, not only plays on defense, he plays defensive end, one of the most physical and demanding positions.

“It’s pretty unique for sure,” said Oceanside Coach Woody Moore. “You don’t see that combination too often.”

At 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, Meklin has the size to handle the rigors of the position. He’s been a two-year starter at both positions.

Moore tried to convince Meklin to not play defense. It didn’t go very far.

“Sam wanted nothing to do with that,” said Moore. “At defensive end you know he’s going to take a pounding. He also plays left defensive end, which means he leads with his right shoulder. He doesn’t shy away from contact. He never comes out of the game.”

As for his other position, Meklin has, according to his coach, improved his arm strength dramatically.

In a 21-13 loss to Waterville last week, Meklin threw one touchdown pass and finished with 12 completions in 22 attempts for 203 yards. The Mariners trailed 21-0 early before rallying.

“We made some key errors early. We had a first-and-goal on the 1 and couldn’t punch it in,” said Moore.

“We gave Sam more time in terms of pass protection in the second half. If we could have mixed in a running game, it might have been a different story. It was a good game.”

In the opening week, Oceanside, in its first game ever, beat Nokomis, 23-14.

Meklin completed 14 of 26 for 180 yards. He threw two interceptions.

Moore said the school merger will take time to realize a benefit in football. Nearly all of the players are from Rockland, which had a football program.

“We had six upperclassmen from Georges Valley sign up for football but they decided not to come out,” said Moore. “We have some underclassmen from Georges Valley who are on the team. They could help down the road.”

While it’s still early, Moore feels the Mariners have a good chance of making the Eastern Class B playoffs.

“I think we’re in the mix with three or four other teams for the last few playoff spots,” said Moore.

“The next two weeks we’re playing teams similar to us in terms of depth. After that our next three games are against Mt. Blue, Gardiner and Leavitt. We hope to come out of those three healthy and maybe grab a win out of one of them.”

NOLAN ALLEN, a senior wide receiver/place-kicker for Windham, was lost for the season when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in last Friday night’s home game against Deering. With action at the other end of the field, Allen’s cleat caught on the grass turf.

“No one hit him,” said Windham assistant coach Kevin Millington. “Nolan said he felt a pop. You could tell it was pretty bad.”

The recovery time for such an injury is a year, which means that Allen, the leading scorer and SMAA basketball player of the year last season, also will miss the basketball season.

Allen led the SMAA with 24.9 points per game last winter and was named to the Maine Sunday Telegram All-State team.

“I feel so bad for Nolan,” said Millington. “I think there was a collective sigh throughout the stands when it happened. He was really coming into his own as a receiver.”

ANOTHER PLAYER sidelined last Friday night was Jordan Muller of South Portland.

Muller, a quarterback, broke his collarbone in the second quarter against Thornton Academy and is expected to be out from 4 to 6 weeks.

He was replaced by Michael Salvatore.

Like Muller, Salvatore is a senior.

Salvatore has experience — he started a few games for the Red Riots last season.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

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Twitter: TomChardPPH