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A Royal Returns: Ex-Assistant Back to Lead At Mascoma

  • Kyle Colburn, a former Lebanon High School quarterback, is the new head football coach at Mascoma Valley Regional High School. Colburn was photographed at Mascoma High School in West Canaan, N.H., Monday, June 11, 2018. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Kyle Colburn, a former Lebanon High School quarterback, is the new head football coach at Mascoma Valley Regional High School. Colburn was photographed at Mascoma High School in West Canaan, N.H., Monday, June 11, 2018. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Mascoma assistant football coach Kyle Colburn, left, listens as head coach Ray Kershaw talks to his team during halftime of a 2013 game against InterLakes-Moultonborough. Colburn has been hired to take over as Mascoma’s head coach, succeeding Les Lawrence.

  • Mascoma High assistant football coach Kyle Colburn, right, watches the Royals in a 2013 game against InterLakes-Moultonborough. Colburn has been hired as Mascoma’s new head football coach, replacing Les Lawrence.



Valley News Sports Editor
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

West Canaan — Kyle Colburn’s plans as Mascoma High’s new football coach will be developed based on past experiences.

An eight-year association with the Lebanon High boys basketball program will provide Colburn a framework for practices. So will stints working with Ray Kershaw both at Mascoma and, most recently, at Newfound Regional High in Bristol.

Kershaw produced grind-it-out football teams with the Royals, one of which produced the school’s only NHIAA finalist in 2012. But there’s one other factor about Colburn that will figure into his thinking.

“I’m 5-foot-6,” the 30-year-old said with a laugh in a phone interview last week. “I was a quarterback and a safety, and I made first-team all-state as a senior (at Lebanon). I’ve always loved the spread game. I was trying to get out on the edge.”

Like Colburn, Mascoma has had to do what it does by making the most of what it has.

The Royals had difficulty staying with some of its NHIAA Division III foes in recent seasons, going 2-6 last fall while being outscored, 284-64. The association has since realigned into a four-division set-up for 2018, meaning the Royals now won’t play a league game against a school larger than Fall Mountain (NHIAA student population: 525). Colburn likes the fact that Mascoma (NHIAA student population: 340) will line up against more schools its size.

Adding Colburn — who was hired by the Mascoma School Board late last month — to the school’s athletic program was an easy call for athletic director John Kelly.

“Kyle has had a couple of irons in the fire in terms of coaching options at other schools, but his first love is football,” Kelly said. “When we opened the position, I was fairly confident that I would be seeing his name.

“He’s extremely enthusiastic about football,” added Kelly, who once taught Colburn at Lebanon High. “He’s well-versed. I know he’s committed to improving himself and committed to make the program work. I think he’s a wholesome, well-rounded guy.”

Colburn has done much of his football coaching tutelage under the gaze of Kershaw, both at Mascoma and, for the past two years, at Newfound. It’s the long run working with the boys basketball program at his alma mater that is also helping Colburn determine his Mascoma coaching parameters.

“I’ve learned a lot with Kieth Matte and Dave Faucher,” said Colburn of his two Lebanon boys hoop coaching mentors. “The fundamentals will have to come early. They’ll have to come ready to work in practice and be ready for their roles.”

The biggest influence, however, has been Colburn’s father. Ken Colburn coached his son in multiple sports over the year, and the younger Colburn said it’s a big reason why he became interested in working sidelines as he got older.

“I’ve been very blessed,” the 30-year-old said. “I’ve worked hard with the coaches I’ve been surrounded with. My father laid the foundation when I was young. I’d watch my father do it, and it set a good impression on me.”

Colburn, who succeeds the four-year run of former head coach Les Lawrence, will be starting with something of a blank slate from a roster standpoint. His only two noteworthy offensive sources, Alex Howe and Tyler Warner, have graduated, as has a chunk of its line. The new coach still has to hire assistants and formulate a training plan, although he intends to lean on what Mascoma wrestling coach Rick Simula does with his kids, many of whom also play football in the fall.

“He’s a native of the area; he knows the program,” Kelly said. “I would say he knows a good percentage of the kids already. He’s aware of our history. It seemed like a pretty logical step to take to hire him.”

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.