As a youngster, Wes Drinkwater watched his father, Gene, guide the Rockland District High School varsity football team five years.

Now, it is the 27-year-old Drinkwater's turn at the helm of the local high school gridiron squad.

Pending approval at the next meeting of the Regional School Unit 13 School Board on Thursday, May 2, Drinkwater will be named the Oceanside High School Mariners next varsity head football coach.

Oceanside is the combination of the former Rockland District High School and Georges Valley High School of Thomaston.

Click for more photos of Wes Drinkwater.

Drinkwater, 27, will replace Woody Moore, who stepped down after having coached Oceanside the past two years and Rockland the prior four years before the school's consolidation with neighboring Georges Valley.

This will be Drinkwater's first varsity coaching position. He has been a substitute teacher in the district five years.

"It feels great," Drinkwater said of his potential appointment to the job. "I'm looking forward to coaching all the kids. It's going to be a challenge. I've got a lot of work to do and it's going to be exciting. I just want to bring new life to the program."

"We're excited to have him on board," said RSU 13 athletic director Jim Leonard. "He knows the kids, he knows what's needed for the program, he's clearly qualified, he's been an excellent coach at a number of sports and he's been a varsity assistant here and he did very well with that. He's had a very successful run at the middle school level and we're excited to have him on board and look forward to working with him."

Drinkwater was an assistant on Moore's staff for three years prior to last fall, when he took the reigns of the Mariner middle school football program. He also coached basketball and baseball at the middle school level, along with coaching jayvee baseball two years at Rockland and one year at Central High School of East Corinth.

A South Thomaston resident and native, Drinkwater graduated from RDHS in 2004 and was an all-conference lineman for the Tigers during both his junior and senior seasons for the Campbell Conference and the Pine Tree Conference, respectively.

He then went on to play left tackle on the Husson College (now Husson University) in Bangor football team for three years and is two classes shy of graduating with a bachelor's degree in sports management.

Drinkwater left Husson in 2008 when his father, Gene, who is a lobster fisherman, had surgery and needed his son's help on Gene's fishing boat.

"He had surgery [on his foot] and it got infected and we kind of made the decision that I'd stay home and help him out," Drinkwter said of his dad. "And it just kind of worked out that was the year the recession hit and I never went back."

Drinkwater, who is also a lobster fisherman, added he plans to finish his college education sometime in the next year.

One of Drinkwater's first phone calls on hearing he could be named the new coach was to his father, who led the Rockland varsity football program 1997-2001.

"My dad was ecstatic," Drinkwater said. "He's so happy. He's been a big football guy for a long time and he's looking forward to watching me coach now. Right now he's at a point in his life where it's all about what his kids are doing and he's excited to be able to be around it again."

Drinkwater said his father "did a great job coaching the football team when he was [at Rockland]" and "he kind of saved [the program] when a lot of people didn't really care about it."

The rest of Drinkwater's staff is undetermined, but he plans to "reach out to Archie Stalcup," who coached the Mariners on an interim basis for a month last summer after Moore briefly stepped down as coach, but Moore came back prior to the start of the regular season.

Previously, Stalcup was the head coach of the Division I LaSalle University football team. He also has been assistant coach at Camden Hills, Rockland and Oceanside high schools.

"I'd be crazy not to keep him on as long as he'd like to be on [the staff]," said Drinkwater.

Drinkwater's style differs from that of Moore's, a style the new coach hopes will inject new life into the program.

"I tend to be a little faster and a little more uptempo style of football," Drinkwater said. "Less people in the box, trying to create my own running lanes whereas Woody was more of a 'ground-and-pound' kind of coach.

"I guess its kind of old school football versus new school football," Drinkwater said.

Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at mhaskell@courierpublicationsllc.com.