DOVER-FOXCROFT — For Alex LaFountain and Ricky Tillotson, football always has been shared with their fathers.

So it just made sense for their dads to be with them as they prepared to play in the 27th Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl on Saturday.

“I thought it would be cool to go out together,” said LaFountain, a strong safety from Mt. Ararat High. His father, Mark LaFountain, is an assistant coach for the West team.

Tillotson, a linebacker from Yarmouth, echoed the sentiment. His dad, Rick Tillotson, is another West assistant.

“My dad has been my coach since I started playing in second grade,” Tillotson said. “We’ve been pretty much together all the way through and it’s just kind of cool that I get to go out having him as a coach.”

“It’s kind of the end of a chapter and the start of a new one after this game is over,” said Alex LaFountain, who will play at Plymouth State. “I’m enjoying it a lot. It’s different, but it’s good.”


Neither father is directly coaching his son. Mark LaFountain, who retired after a second stint as Mt. Ararat’s head coach (2007-10, 2015), is directing the wide receivers and tight ends.

“That’s good. He’s hearing a different voice. He’s heard my voice enough,” Mark LaFountain said.

Rick Tillotson, an assistant at Yarmouth, is coaching the defensive ends.

“I’ve been hanging out with the coaches and he’s hanging out with the kids so we haven’t really interacted a bunch,” Rick Tillotson said. “I think when it’s all over it will just be one more thing we can reflect on together.”

The Lobster Bowl is an all-star game that raises money for Shrine hospitals. Over $500,000 has been raised in the previous 26 years.

Several father-son tandems have participated.


Most recently, Brad Bishop, a longtime head coach at several schools, and his son, Kyle (Waterville), were part of the 2011 game. So was the Greely combo of Dave Higgins and his son, Jonathan.

Two years later, Edward Little Coach David Sterling was the East head coach and his son, Alex, played.

Mark LaFountain said he long hoped he and Alex could join that list.

“I would have loved to have played in this game. It didn’t exist when I came through,” said Mark LaFountain, a Winslow High graduate. “Selfishly, it was great to come up here and see what this was like. I probably could have volunteered to do that other years, but when Alex made the team, what a great way to go out. I could see what it was like and I could be here with my own son.”

Rick Tillotson didn’t expect to be on the field with his son. He received an unexpected call from West Coach Stacen Doucette while watching one of Ricky’s playoff lacrosse games. Taking time off in the summer – he owns a landscape company – wasn’t ideal, “but I just had to do it and I’m thrilled I did.”

Football won’t be completely finished for either family.


Rick Tillotson will return to the Yarmouth staff for his fifth season as an assistant. Ricky Tillotson will attend Eastern Nazarene, a 1,200-student private college in Quincy, Massachusetts, that doen’t have a football team.

While Alex LaFountain will play Division III football at Plymouth State, Mark LaFountain said his coaching days are done. He took the Mt. Ararat job in May 2015 when the school was still searching for a replacement for Frank True, who had taken the football coaching job at Hyde School. LaFountain first resigned following the 2010 season because, “I just wanted to go with (Alex) through the ranks as an assistant and let him have the focus.”

During the Lobster Bowl, the focus will be on the players. But when the game is over, the fathers and sons will come together as they have done so many times before.

“It’s kind of a nice way to wrap things up,” Ricky Tillotson said.

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