Boston High School: Gorham
Class A East
Ask anyone outside of Lawrence Bulldog territory, and that person would probably tell you the two best teams in Maine high school football last year were Thornton and Cheverus. This year, under the new alignment, they have the chance to meet in the Class A state final.
Cheverus was undefeated last fall until losing to Thornton, 20-13, in the regional final. The Stags graduated Fitzpatrick Trophy-winning running back Donald Goodrich and quarterback Liam Fitzpatrick, but should keep rolling. The top returning runner is Cody O'Brien (76 carries, 400 yards, 5 TD), and he's backed by Joe Fitzpatrick and Will Hilton, and new quarterback Ethan Jordan. Kicker Patrick Mourmouras booted 48 extra points as a sophomore a year ago.
Offense will be a key for Portland, which scored a total of 13 points in four losses last fall. The Bulldogs may be able to solve that problem themselves, as they bring back Justin Zukowski (180 carries, 991 yards, 11 TD), Jayvon Pitts-Young (79 carries, 472 yards, 3 TD) and quarterback Ryan Ruhlin. Another one to watch is Ronald Hargrove, a transfer from Concord-Carlisle Regional in Massachusetts.
Bangor will be an interesting case this season. The Rams had the burden of high expectations every year – partly because of their history, and partly because of a school size that theoretically gave Bangor a much deeper pool of players than its opponents.
Those expectations were blasted away last year by a 30-point loss to Lawrence and a 34-point loss to Cony. Football is still a big deal in Bangor – the Bangor Daily News wrote a preview story on the Lawrence-Bangor preseason meeting, then covered the game (a 13-6 Lawrence win) as well – but how will the Rams fare against the bigger southern Maine schools?
In an interesting subplot, Xavier Lewis is back at Bangor. Lewis played for Bangor before helping Lawrence to the state final in football and the regional final in basketball during the past academic year.
Windham and Deering look to bounce back from graduation losses, while Edward Little, Lewiston, and Oxford Hills look to improve.
Class A West
Thornton went with a 1-2 punch last fall of Andrew Libby (151 carries, 1,008 yards) and Nick Kenney (164 carries, 940 yards). With Kenney graduated, Libby could easily get in the neighborhood of 25-30 carries per game, and none of Thornton's opponents are excited about that. On the down side, quarterback Eric Christense (973 yards passing, 402 rushing) has graduated, and the Golden Trojans didn't have shutdown defense even last year, when all but two of their opponents scored at least two touchdowns. Still, Libby and Cody Lynn are stalwarts on defense, and if Thornton averages 38.7 points per game again, a couple touchdowns the other way won't matter.
Scarborough didn't play Cheverus last year, but looked pretty good against every other team on its schedule save Thornton. The Red Storm lost 35-7 to Thornton in the regular season and 49-14 in the playoffs. Scarborough brings back Dan LeClair (69 carries, 353 yards, 5 TD) and running/receiving threat Charlie Raybine.
Bonny Eagle could make a leap from last year's 2-6 record. The Scots opponents had a combined record of 43-21, but they still never lost a game by more than 17 points. Now they've added running back Jon Woods as a transfer from Gorham, along with some experienced talent like Zach Dubiel and Joe Bissonette. You can make an argument that Bonny Eagle's season might have turned out much differently if the Scots hadn't been plagued by bad snaps and turnovers in an early-season loss to Thornton last year. This season might show what Bonny Eagle is capable of.
Sanford had one of the best backs in the state last season in Alex Shain (201 carries, 1,426 yards, 27 TD), but the Redskins still scored a total of 32 points in their four losses, including a 42-16 first-round playoff setback to Scarborough. If Josh Schroder (86 carries, 457 yards, 6 TD) and new quarterback Chase Eldredge can't find a way to score against the top teams, a defense led by linebacker Colby Perigo may spend too much time on the field.
But the Bangor Auditorium, which hosted its last high school basketball tournament game on March 1, has history on its side.
The basketball part of the arena, of course, is old-fashioned. There are Maine high school tournaments at the Augusta Civic Center and the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland. In Augusta, the concession stands are behind one of the baskets, creating a depth perception problem that knocks some teams right out of the tournament. In Portland, the seats are so far away that watching a game from the front row is like trying to watch your neighbor across the street.
At the Bangor Auditorium, everything is enclosed. There is little space behind the baskets or out of bounds, so the sound bounces off the walls loud enough that it can be impossible to hear the person talking next you.
“To this day, I wonder how anyone can play in that atmosphere,” Lawrence coach Mike McGee told the Bangor Daily News. “It’s amazing to look straight up and see the crowd. Your mouth is dry, all you want to do is drink water, and it makes you wonder how all those great athletes were able to perform in that setting.
“Since we’ve gone to the [Augusta] Civic Center coaching hasn’t been the same for me,” McGee added. “The fans are so on top of you in Bangor. You hear a giant roar when you score and now it’s just silence by comparison. They can hear me all over the Civic Center, and back when we played in Bangor we had to use play cards because the players could never hear me.”
Several newspapers and television stations have done tributes to the Auditorium over the past couple weeks. As the BDN wrote, “The Bangor Auditorium is filled with the echos of the basketball heroes it created, from Mike Thurston making a halfcourt shot as time expired to win the 1969 Class LL state championship for Caribou to Joe Campbell’s buzzer-beating basket that rallied Bangor past Deering of Portland for the 2001 Class A crown.”
Campbell's shot is one of the most famous in state history. He came from the other side of the basket to get a rebound and reverse layup just before the buzzer (Many still insist Bangor got a few extra seconds on the play because the clock operator was slow to re-start the clock.). Within a couple seconds, the floor was covered with Bangor fans. During this year's Eastern A boys tournament, Hampden freshman Nick Gilpin hit a 30-footer to beat Lawrence at the buzzer – a shot that made SportsCenter's list of Top 10 plays for the night. A group of adults formed a wall to make sure the Hampden fans didn't rush the court. No one thought to do anything like that in Bangor.
Maine has long had a problem keeping its high school graduates in the state or even in the area. That's especially true when you get north of the Portland area. Many big schools have seen their enrollment drop over the last 20 or 30 years. Presque Isle used to be in Class A and is now a normal-sized Class B school. Waterville has around 1,500 students in the late 1970s, and now has well under half that.
But even with the economy faltering and the small towns getting smaller, they still had the Bangor Auditorium.
"So many people, when they say 'That's the worst place to play,' they're not from northern Maine or eastern Maine,” Lindsey Welch, who played at Nokomis and now coaches at Winslow, told the Morning Sentinel. “They don't know. I would get so defensive about the place. It's like family."
MR., MISS MAINE BASKETBALL SEMIFINALISTS NAMED
The 10 semifinalists for the Mr. and Miss Basketball Awards were announced recently, with the winners to be announced on Friday, March 8.
On the boys' side, the semifinalists are Garet Beal of Jonesport-Beals, Spencer Carey of Lawrence, Anthony DiMauro of Boothbay, Charlie Fay of Falmouth, Quin Leary of Edward Little, Garrett Libby of Old Town, John Murray of Medomak Valley, Aaron Todd of York, Mitch Worcester of Washburn, and Evan Worster of Forest Hills.
Beal is one of the favorites, even though his Jonesport-Beals team was stunned by Easton in the Eastern D tournament.
On the girls' side, the semifinalists are Leavitt's Kristen Anderson, York's Emily Campbell, Dexter's Lauren Crane, Presque Isle's Chandler Guerrette, Lake Region's Sydney Hancock, Camden Hills' Jordan Knowlton, Cony's Josie Lee, Gorham's Kristin Ross, Waynflete's Martha Veroneau, and Orono's Jillian Woodward.
Only three of those players are taking part in state championship games this weekend. Guerrette and Hancock will face off as Presque Isle takes on Lake Region in a rematch of last year's Class B state final, won by Presque Isle in a squeaker. In the Class C final, Veroneau and Waynflete will play Calais for the Gold Ball.
The biggest omission on the girls' side was probably Richmond's Jamie Plummer, who led the Bobcats to the regional title for the third consecutive year.
TWO PLUS TWO ON THE SIDELINES FOR EASTERN A GIRLS FINAL
The Eastern A girls' basketball final between No. 2 Bangor and No. 9 Cony was notable not just for Cony's run from the last seed, but also because both coaches – Bangor's Katie Herbine and Cony's Karen Magnusson – are pregnant.
Herbine – who is so animated on the sidelines she makes Jonathan Papelbon look subdued – is nearly six months along, while Magnusson is a little over four months into her pregnancy. Both were standout players at their current schools as high school athletes.
The game was anticlimactic. Bangor had a height advantage and outrebounded Cony, 54-29, in a 57-43 victory.
Class A Boys: The West looks like a three-team race between Portland, Deering, and Bonny Eagle, with South Portland ready should there be an opening. Junior Justin Zukowski is Portland’s top all-around player, and he has help in Nick Volger and Jayvon Pitts-Young. Deering tries to beat you inside, with six-six Labson Abwoch, and six-four Thiwat Thiwat, both of whom are from the Sudan and moved to the United States at an early age.
Hampden was upset by Deering in the state final, and even though the Broncos return only two starters, they were still the pick for first place in Eastern A’s preseason coaches poll. Edward Little, Lawrence, and Bangor, all programs with strong traditions, could each challenge Hampden. Lawrence relies on forward Spencer Carey and guard Xavier Lewis, a transfer from Bangor.
Class A Girls: Western A has at least four strong teams in McAuley, Scarborough, Cheverus, and Deering. Oddly enough, none of them play each other until January. Point guard Allie Clement leads two-time defending state champion McAuley. Add in three six-footers and a talented guard in sophomore Olivia Dalphonse (a transfer from Bonny Eagle), and this team should go far in the tournament again.
In the East, Edward Little, Mt. Ararat, and Mt. Blue should fight it out for the top spot. Edward Little’s top scorer is guard Ashlee Arnold, and the Red Eddies have some motivation after blowing an 11-point halftime lead and losing to Cony in last winter’s regional final. Mt. Blue has balanced scoring, and guard Gabby Foy is a player who can run up a lot of points in a short time. Brewer was the big surprise in the early going, beating Mt. Blue on a three-pointer at the buzzer, then knocking off Lewiston the same way three nights later. Bangor has the height and athleticism to play with anyone, while Oxford Hills, Skowhegan, and Lawrence could be sleepers in a deep league.
Class B boys: Falmouth and York are two of the tallest and best teams in the West. York has five players six-four or taller; Falmouth has three at least six-five. Falmouth didn’t return any starters this season, but began the year with three lopsided wins. To go with York’s height, the Wildcats have senior guard Adam Bailey, who hit 11 three-pointers in York’s first four games this season.
Expectations are very high at Oceanside, which finished 12-8 last season but returns four starters and is loaded with height. The Portland Press Herald even said that, “Anything short of winning Eastern Class B would be a disappointment.” Winslow is expected to be a playoff team, but Oceanside beat the Black Raiders, 80-53, on opening night. Medomak Valley, Camden Hills, and possibly Caribou and Presque Isle will also look to get hot at the right time.
Class B girls: Defending regional champ Lake Region is probably the favorite again. Tiana-Jo Carter averaged 15 points and 17 rebounds per game last winter, and the Portland Press Herald reports she has already received full scholarship offers to Division I schools. The Lakers are so deep at guard that freshman CeCe Hancock stepped in and had 11 points and nine assists in an early-season win over Waynflete. York, Gorham, Spruce Mountain, and Wells could all make a run at Lake Region. Leavitt might not have all the pieces to go all the way, but the Hornets have one of the most entertaining players in the state in senior Kristen Anderson, who will play at the University of New Hampshire next season. Anderson can shoot from 30-35 feet out, and often does.
In Eastern B, Presque Isle is the decided favorite. The Wildcats finally got past Nokomis last winter and squeaked past Lake Region to win the state title. Presque Isle’s first three games this season were wins by scores of 39, 63, and 38 points, and that’s a good indication of how their regular season will go. The Wildcats are never very tall, but they throw lots of quick guards at you and can shoot from long range. Nokomis, which won’t face Presque Isle during the regular season, may have the best chance to defeat the Wildcats in the playoffs. The Warriors have three fine guards in Lindsay Whitney and twins Kylie and Kelsie Richards, and a good low-post option in Anna MacKenzie.
Class C boys: Dirigo has won four consecutive Western C titles, and until someone gets past the Cougars, they have to be considered the favorites again. Even after graduating seven seniors from last winter’s state champions, Dirigo was still picked first in the Mountain Valley Conference coaches poll. Boothbay is probably Dirigo’s toughest competition in the MVC, and Waynflete, which competes in the Western Maine Conference, could be a dark horse.
Houlton went 8-10 last winter, but may just be the No. 1 team in Eastern C. Kyle Bouchard, who can play pretty much any position, leads the Shiretowners. Among Houlton’s early wins this season was a seven-point victory on the road against a good Class B Presque Isle team. Penquis Valley and Lee Academy — which is currently on probation from the Maine Principals’ Association for recruiting violations — are also threats for the regional crown.
Class C girls: The Mountain Valley Conference is deeper, but the Western Maine Conference has the best player (Margaret Veroneau) and maybe the best team (Waynflete). The Flyers have a top-notch coach in Brandon Salway, and bring back all five starters. They’re good enough that they almost beat Class B Lake Region, losing by five on the road. Madison, Lisbon, and Monmouth are also contenders. Mt. Abram should have been in that mix, but the Roadrunners had some players decide not to return, and apparently don’t have everything they need to play with the top teams.
Calais, led by guard Madison McVicar and center Paige Gillespie, is the favorite in the East. Orono, Dexter, and Narraguagas are also in the hunt.
Class D boys: Forest Hills is known for a lot of things, like being closer to the Canadian border than any other high school in Maine, and having kindergarten through 12 all in one building. The Tigers also have a great basketball team. Senior Evan Worster already has over 1,000 points, and everyone returns from a team that went to the Class D state championship game this winter. The Tigers will get tested this season, as Valley, Greenville, and possibly Hyde all have the potential to cut down the nets after the Western D final in late February.
When Jonesport-Beals won the state title last season, it did so with a total high school enrollment of 58 students. It helped immeasurably that one of those was six-foot-five Garet Beal, the state’s Gatorade Player of the year. Beal will play at the University of Maine next season, and already has back-to-back 40-point games this season. The second of those was in overtime against Deer Isle-Stonington, a team that could challenge the Royals again this winter. Woodland could also give Jonesport-Beals a scare.
Class D girls: It looks like Rangeley and Richmond will battle once again for the Western D title. Rangeley, a school with about 80 students, has three six-footers in sophomore Taylor Esty, freshman Blayke Morin, and transfer student Emma Gunic. Richmond has its own six-footer in Jamie Plummer, the daughter of Colby College baseball coach Dale Plummer. Rangeley won the first meeting this season, 56-54 in overtime.
In the East, Washburn won the state title last winter with no seniors and three juniors. The Beavers did lose their coach when Mike Carlos was not rehired after winning two consecutive state titles. There were widespread rumors of parents being unhappy with Carlos, who is now coaching at East Grand. When Carlos was not rehired, superintendent Ed Buckley released a statement to the Bangor Daily News which included the line, “we do not measure the success of our athletic teams by the number of contests they win but whether it is a positive experience for all our students.” Diana Belskis Trams is now coaching the Washburn girls. Van Buren could give Washburn a run in the East. The Crusaders’ star is junior guard Parise Rossignol, who verbally committed to the University of Maine as a sophomore.
“Whenever I talk to them,” Richardson said, “there’s always a point where we encounter, ‘You can’t play because you’re a boy.’ ”
You see, Richardson’s favorite sport is field hockey, and for many people, that doesn’t fit with the image they have of a young boy and man-to-be in the United States. While field hockey is popular for males in many other countries, that’s not the case in the U.S., and especially not the case in Maine, where Richardson is not allowed to play for Kents Hill, his high school team.
Ironically, Richardson’s path to becoming a field hockey player is the typical American sports story. His father, Randy, coached Kents Hill for 10 years and now coaches Lewiston, where he took the Blue Devils from 2-9-3 to 9-6 in his first season. His sister plays field hockey at Smith College, and when Nick was a toddler, the players on his dad’s team put a small field hockey stick in his hands.
“I can honestly say I’ve been playing since I could walk,” said Nick, a senior. “I love being able to move the ball around the field without touching the ball with your physical body. I would like to stay involved with the game as long as I can still walk.”
Richardson was able to play in middle school, when, as he tells it, no one minded that there was a boy playing because he was small and slow and not that good anyway. He’s improved to the point where he’ll play as part of the USA U-17 men’s team in a series Nov. 27-Dec. 2 in California against Canada.
But no matter how good he is, he can’t play in a high school game. Richardson originally attended Maranacook, a school that falls under the Maine Principals' Association (MPA). Kents Hill is an MPA in some sports and plays in the Maine Association of Independent Schools' Athletic Directors conference -- neither of which allow boys to participate in field hockey.
“The minute that I started to get physically bigger,” Richardson said, “I started to get, ‘Oh, we don’t want the boy to play.’ It forced me to look higher, which in hindsight, I’m grateful for. If I had kept playing with high school girls, I never would have thought about playing on a national team.”
A quick Google check will find other boys facing the same resistance. Keeling Pilaro, a 13-year-old boy in New York, was kicked off his field hockey team because people thought he was too good. This past weekend in Massachusetts, Walpole beat Dennis-Yarmouth in a high school playoff game. Dennis-Yarmouth’s goalie is a boy, and Walpole coach Marianne Murphy told The Boston Globe that he shouldn’t be allowed to play.
“They have a sophomore girl goalie on the bench that’s been displaced because they’re playing a boy,” Murphy told the Globe. “It’s something I feel strongly about and it’s disappointing to know other teams have come against them and lost because of it.”
If you follow field hockey long enough, you realize that the men who are involved in the sport are really into it, because they have to have the passion to overcome other people’s perceptions and stereotypes. Richardson is the same way. To stay sharp, he plays in Boston on weekends, driving seven or eight hours round-trip through the traffic to play pick-up for two hours with the Minutemen club team. He’s excited that he’ll also play with the Cape Ann Coalition U-19 boys’ indoor team this winter.
“I’ll be able to play indoors with the Minutemen nine-to-11 and train with Cape Ann one-to-three,” he said.
When most people think of Olympic athletes, the image is of children making everything else in their lives secondary to train for their sport. With United States men’s field hockey, that’s really not the case. There are so few players that, unlike with other countries like Germany and the Netherlands, there is no chance of a core group playing together for years. Coolidge, for example, didn’t play the sport until he was 12, and ended up on the U.S. Olympic team.
That’s where Richardson wants to end up as well. The training center for the U.S. team is in Chula Vista, Calif., and you don’t even have to look at a map to know that’s a heckuva long way from Maine. Richardson has thought through that process. He’d be a junior in college in 2016, and he’s probably have to take a year off.
“In the perfect world, I would love to walk on to the Astroturf in Rio De Janeiro in the 2016 Olympics with the U.S. men’s team,” he said. “I’d love to be able to do it again in 2020. It’s definitely realistic, definitely possible, but very, very challenging.”
IT’S STATE CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL TIME
The state football championships are set for Nov. 17 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland. Here’s a quick look back at the regional finals:
Class A: Cheverus had won 34 games in a row and the last two state championships, but Thornton upset the Stags, 20-13, as Andrew Libby rushed 28 times for 130 yards and three touchdowns. Cheverus fumbled the ball on a fourth-and-goal play at the Thornton 1 and later missed a 32-yard field goal. The Stags reached the Thornton 23 on their last drive, but ended up at midfield after three straight sacks by the Golden Trojans defense.
Thornton will take on Lawrence, which had its troubles with underdog Cony. The Bulldogs had overpowered Cony, 27-6, earlier in the season, but this time Cony took a quick 10-0 lead and still led 10-3 at halftime thanks to four Lawrence turnovers. In the second half, it was Cony’s turnovers that made the difference, as Spencer Carey picked off two passes by Cony quarterback Ben Lucas to set up two touchdowns. The second was a 47-yard run by Josh Doolan that salted away a 20-10 Lawrence victory.
Lawrence was the last Eastern A team to win a state title, defeating Gorham, 14-13, in 2006. That was also the last Class A state championship game decided by less than two touchdowns. The West has won nine of the last 10 state titles.
Class B: After squeaking by Wells, 15-13, in the semifinals, Marshwood held off York, 21-20, to win the Western B title and reach the state championship game for the first time since 1989. Marshwood quarterback Cameron Roll rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns and also threw a touchdown pass. Brett Gerry also rushed for 108 yards for the Hawks. Still, it took some luck for Marshwood to win. Trailing 21-14, York scored on a 2-yard run by quarterback Ross Hogan with 2:25 left in the game. The Wildcats made the extra point, but were penalized five yards for having only six men on the line of scrimmage. The re-kick hit the upright, the Hawks recovered the onside kick, and Marshwood had the win.
Marshwood is coached by Alex Rotsko, a legend in Massachusetts football after winning 11 Super Bowls at Longmeadow. Rotsko is in his first season after the Hawks went 2-6 last fall.
There was no such drama in Eastern B, as Mt. Blue cruised to a 42-14 victory over Waterville. Calan Lucas and Chad Luker led a Mt. Blue attack that rolled up 367 yards on the ground. Lucas rushed 17 times for 148 yards, while Luker had 74 yards and four touchdowns. Waterville made it a game for a little bit, cutting a 21-0 lead to 21-14 with two touchdowns in a span of 14 seconds late in the first half. Mt. Blue added a touchdown in the third quarter and then two more in the game’s final seven minutes.
Class C: Winslow held off Dirigo, 17-6, in a game that was 3-0 into the fourth quarter. Then Justin Martin, Winslow’s 6-foot-5 defensive back, intercepted a pass and returned it 23 yards to the Dirigo 6. Winslow scored on the next play, and Martin later returned another interception 73 yards for a touchdown.
In the Eastern C game, Donnie Boyer ran for 266 yards and three touchdowns as Foxcroft defeated John Bapst, 33-7. It was actually one of the closest games of the year for the Ponies. Aside from a loss to Bucksport (and Foxcroft won the rematch in the playoffs, 45-0) the Ponies have won every other game by at least 35 points. Foxcroft is averaging 46.7 points per game this season, and that includes that 13-0 loss to Bucksport in the regular season.
FINANCIAL CRISIS AT NOKOMIS
Nokomis Regional High School in Newport recently took the step of cutting all its junior varsity programs for winter and spring high school sports. The school will also not provide transportation for the varsity teams to away games, forcing students to find their own transportation.
Nokomis is the high school in Regional School Unit 19, which includes eight towns. RSU 19 superintendent Greg Potter, who took over in July, said the school unit is in a financial crisis because of mismanagement and accounting mistakes by the prior administration.
Voters in RSU 19’s eight towns were asked to approve a $3.6 million loan on Election Day. The referendum failed by a total of 353 votes, and RSU 19 began implementing the cuts the next day. According to information on the RSU 19 website, cutting the JV programs and eliminating transportation is estimated to save a combined $58,000. RSU 19 will also cut several full and part-time positions.
“Disappointed is, I don’t think enough of a description for how I feel,” Nokomis athletic director Earl Anderson told the Morning Sentinel. “I’m beyond disappointed.”
The Nokomis girls' basketball team has a record of 56-9 over the past three seasons, and went to the regional final in February. Nokomis also reached the 2012 regional final in softball.
DOUBLY SWEET WINS FOR SCARBOROUGH
It was almost like the Maine Principals’ Association was thumbing its nose as Scarborough. Here were the Red Storm, with teams in both the Class A girls and Class A boys’ state finals. Those games would be played at the Weatherbee Complex in Hampden, and Google Maps pegs that as a 133-mile drive, one-way. The Class B and C state finals, meanwhile, were played in … Scarborough.
If “bus legs” were a factor, it didn’t show. In the boys’ final, Scarborough defeated Mt. Ararat, 4-0. In the girls’ final, Scarborough outlasted Bangor, 2-1, in double overtime on a goal by Sarah Martens. It was the third straight year Scarborough and Bangor had met in the girls Class A state final.
With the double wins, Scarborough became only the second team to win both Class A titles outright in the same year. Waterville captured both Gold Balls in 1983.
Doughty was named National Field Hockey High School Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2008 and more than 80 of her players have gone on to play in college. One of her players has been a first-team national All-American while two have made second team All-American and 22 have been regional All Americans.
Q: How did you get into coaching?
A: "I was in college from ‘70-74 and I officiated. I graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington and student taught in Skowhegan. In August they called me and said there was a job opening and they also needed a field hockey coach. I played in high school and I officiated so I had quite a lot of experience and I knew the game."
Q: What attracts you to the sport?
A: "It’s evolved into a really fast, fabulous sport. It’s just become better and better. First we lost the offsides, advancing became incidental and the obstruction rule is lenient today. In field hockey it takes years to develop the stickwork to be able to play. I also like it, and this sounds sexist, because it’s a women’s sport in the United States."
Q: When did Skowhegan turn the corner?
A: "Probably in the late ‘80’s. We were really good in the ‘70s, then soccer came in. I was really hurting for athletes. All the athletes went to soccer but then it balanced out."
Q: How has the program stayed so strong?
A: "I work very hard. I have three of our four coaches who have worked with me forever. I would say a shared coaching philosophy and consistency. We do the same thing K through 12 and I work with everybody K to 12."
Q: How big is the youth program?
A: "It’s growing, but it’s growing statewide, it’s not just us. Today we had a tournament for fourth, fifth and sixth graders and there were 12 teams here and every town brought 30 kids. One thing about field hockey in Maine, there’s a lot of opportunities and we can compete. It’s hard for Maine kids to compete in a lot of things but in field hockey we’re doing really well. A lot of kids feel entitled but Maine kids aren’t like that. They work really hard."
Q: How many of your players have played in college?
A: "We’ve had about 80 kids play in college. My first player was Kim Jewell Bodwell in ‘78 and she played at the University of Maine. Our first Division I player was Wendy Obert in 1989 and she played at Northeastern. Right now, we have nine (playing in college) and we have three seniors who are going D-1 next year."
Q: How has the game changed?
A: "It’s changed in every way. It’s faster, it’s more skilled. The amount of penalties are nothing what they used to be. You’ve got to be very, very skilled. It’s fun to watch. Today the game is a turf game. We play on turf as much as we can. It’s no longer a grass game. We practice in the gym a lot. Our field is as close to turf as you can get, but it’s still grass."
Q: How is this year’s team?
A: "It’s a great team. The last 14 years have been great teams. The kids I have now are much more versatile. Even five or 10 years ago, they were one-dimensional ... Most of my kids I can put in any position. Messalonskee is very good. They’re going to be our biggest competition in the state. It’s too bad we’re both in Eastern Maine. But in sports you can’t take anybody for granted."
Q: How long do you want to coach?
A: "I’ll coach as long as I think I can. I’ll retire from teaching in a while but I’ll keep coaching. I’m smart enough to know if I’m not as good as I was."
Dozens of his former players have gone on to succeed in college soccer, including Roger Levesque, who was named Pac-10 Player of the Year at Stanford and currently plays for the Major League Soccer Seattle Sounders.
Halligan recently answered questions about his soccer program for a Q-and-A:
Q: What makes Falmouth soccer so successful?
A: "We have a good program and we have a lot of good people running it, right from Saturday morning soccer to travel teams to guys that work in premier programs."
Q: How involved are you outside the high school team?
A: "When my kids went through I was involved in everything. I started youth, travel, premier and instructional programs. The first year we had 38 kids in the program. Now we have over 600. I think the key is numbers playing. (At the high school) we have 62 boys and 42-plus girls playing."
Q: How did you get into coaching?
A: "I played soccer in college but I went to school to be a basketball coach. I coached JV soccer at Greely for a couple of years then I went
to Cape Elizabeth and worked with Leroy Rand. After that I came to Falmouth. Back then there were no state championships, just a few teams
playing in (the) Triple C (Conference).
Q: How does Maine high school soccer stack up against other states?
A: "We have some excellent programs and players. The state is so spread out, but we have some kids playing pretty well. We have a lot of kids playing at the NESCAC schools. That’s pretty good soccer. Just because you’re from Maine it doesn’t mean you can’t aspire to the highest levels. If they want to play hard and work hard they can accomplish a lot."
Q: What do you do in the offseason?
A: "What’s an offseason? The offseason is the two weekends I spend with my wife."
Q: What’s the biggest difference between coaching soccer and basketball?
A: "Basketball is more like chess where you can adjust every time down the floor. Soccer is more like checkers. Once the game starts there’s not a lot you can do."
Q: How have premier teams changed the game?
A: "I think it’s broken down some of the (high school) rivalries. They’re friendly rivalries now but I think they play harder. They don’t want to
lose to their buddies."
Q: Why do players need high school soccer?
A: "Because of some of the other values we try to teach. The goals in high school are a lot different than in premier. In high school, 90 percent of the players aren’t going to go on. Last year when we didn’t win (the state title) the kids said what they liked most was going to practice."
Q: How is this season playing out?
A: "We lost 2-1 to Yarmouth and beat Cape, 2-1. Cape beat Yarmouth 2-1 so it’s pretty even. We lost a lot of kids from last year’s team. We’re
basically a young team but we have high expectations. We’re probably doing better than we hoped for. .I’ve been real pleased with my kids."
Q: Do you employ a specific style at Falmouth?
A: "Obviously we like to control the ball. We like to play with speed and skill. We don’t want to slug it out with you. We want to be more skilled
if we can. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t."
Q: How long do you anticipate coaching?
A: "As long as I’m having fun, as long as I enjoy practice and enjoy the kids. I still do."
Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights in each of the three classes:
Cheverus keeps rolling along despite the loss of several players from last year’s state championship team. Senior Cam Olson stepped in at quarterback after playing behind Fitzpatrick Trophy winner Peter Gwilym for two years and last week threw three touchdown passes. Spencer Cooke, who scored four TDs in the state game last fall, has emerged as one of the state’s top running backs. The Stags are 2-0 and have outscored opponents 94-21.
Lawrence keeps rolling along in Class A’s Pine Tree Conference. The Bulldogs traveled to Bangor and knocked off the Rams 32-25 last Saturday night to go to 2-0. Shaun Carroll led the way with 224 rushing yards and four touchdowns, Lawrence has won its last 11 regular season games, dating back to a 2009 loss to Bangor. Prior to that, the Bulldogs had won 36 regular season games in a row. They are 8-1 against Bangor since 2005.
Many high school handicappers picked Bonny Eagle and Windham among the teams to beat in North Division of the Southern Maine Activities Association (SMAA), but both teams are winless after two weeks. Windham fell 28-20 to a strong Deering team last week while Bonny Eagle fell, 31-28, to upstart Massabesic. Lewiston, one of the PTC favorites, dropped to 1-1, losing 48-27 to Messalonskee, another team that has emerged as a contender. Along with Massabesic, Sanford is the surprise of the SMAA South. Last week, the Redskins knocked off a good Scarborough team 23-12 for one of its biggest wins in years.
This class is the most competitive in the state at least at the top where four teams in each of the two divisions are unbeaten. Included in those ranks are the two teams who met in the state final last fall, Mountain Valley and Leavitt. Mountain Valley has outscored opponents 81-23 so far while Leavitt, led by quarterback and linebacker Jordan Hersom, holds an 83-12 advantage over opponents.
Mt. Blue may be the most dangerous contender in the class. The Cougars dropped down from several years in Class A this season and in two games have outscored the opposition 87-6. Falmouth, Wells and Fryeburg are also 2-0 as are Waterville and Gardiner. The latter two teams meet Friday night in Gardiner. Waterville must find a way to stop running back Alonzo Connor who is looking to eclipse his total of 31 touchdowns form last year. In two games so far, Connor has scored 10 touchdowns.
Falmouth, which has outscored opponents 98-7 plays this week against Marshwood.
Foxcroft Academy and Yarmouth are the talk of Class C so far. They play in different divisions and don’t meet in the regular season, but could well square off for a state championship in November. Yarmouth is the defending state champ and so far the Clippers have scored 92 points and allowed seven. Foxcroft has been equally impressive outscoring opponents 108-8. There are contenders in each division. Bucksport, Orono and John Bapst are all 2-0 in the Little Ten Conference headed by Foxcroft while Freeport and Lisbon are unbeaten the Campbell Conference South along with Yarmouth.
Maranacook and Winslow are 2-0 in the Campbell’s North division and play this week in Winslow. The Black Raiders dropped down to Class C this season and are cruising so far, but they’ll face a big test in Maranacook and 6-foot-4, 210-pound running back Luke Emery.
The towns of Jonesport and Beals Island are located along the coast in Washington County in a region commonly known as Downeast Maine. They’re separated by a short bridge that spans a channel known as Moosabec Reach and many of the residents fish the blustery Atlantic year-round or drop lobster traps into Penobscot Bay.
There are still elementary schools in each community but the high schools combined over 40 years ago to form one of the state’s boys basketball powers in Class D.
Shortly after they combined ,the Royals reeled off five state titles in the early ‘70’s, under legendary coach Ordie Alley. Alley stepped down five years ago for health reasons but still attends games regularly to watch his grandson Matt play. In all, Jonesport-Beals has won nine state championships and played for 13. But it’s been since
1993 since the Royals last claimed a Gold Ball, the trophy symbolic of a state title.
‘They’re getting itchy,” athletic director Diane Clark said of the fans. “I think this year there’s added excitement.”
The added excitement stems from the team’s record — they were 14-1 heading into Wednesday’s game against Deer Isle-Stonington — as well as a special dedication for the season.
Q: What have you gained from your year with the Monarchs?
A: "This is my second year, and first PG year with the Monarchs, and I am very glad I did it. I've learned a lot not just about the sport but also outside the hockey rink. I have an apartment with three others on the team and learned life away from home. For next year, I feel like I will be able to jump right into Maine's lineup and be an impact player. The PG year gave me time to develop including strength, speed and my decision making on and off the ice."
Q: Did the Maine coaches think you needed another year of work? Did you?
A: "When I first committed, they told me I needed a year to develop and I understood as much as I wanted to go up to Orono and play instantly. I needed to be patient and Coach Sean Tremblay and Coach Matt Dennehy (of the Monarchs) worked on my areas of improvement to make me a more solid player."
Q: Are you taking any classes in the area, or is it strictly hockey?
A: "I will be taking a class this summer but during the season I did not. It is mostly hockey and it’s a great lifestyle. If you treat it like a job then that’s when you find you will improve the most. I also have a job near the rink at a pizza place called the Pizza Man. I am a delivery boy. So between delivering and hockey, that mostly fills up my week."
Q: What area do you think you needed to improve in the most?
A: "There's always something I can improve on because no one's game is perfect but if i had to choose one area it would probably be my decision making and this will take time. Studying other defensemen with the same attributes as me will help. The extra year with the Monarchs has helped tremendously."
Q: Why did you decide to attend Maine? Were there many other offers?
A: "I didn't hesitate when Maine offered me. Playing youth hockey in Maine, the Black Bears were always a topic of discussion around the local youth rinks and it was a dream of mine to play for my home state. At the time of my commitment, a lot of D1 schools were asking about me through Coach Tremblay, including a handful in Hockey East, but I had my mind set on Maine."
Q: How has officiating changed since you began?
A: "To a great extent it hasn’t changed. Statewide. The big change is an increase in ongoing communication throughout the state, on the administrative and training side. Results statewide are a more consistent application of the rules. Years ago, the biggest difference is the offense was favored, which is not the case today. Today every situation matters the same to both teams."
Q: Assess the state of high school officiating today.
A: "We believe high school officiating in Maine is in very good order. Schoolboy and schoolgirl basketball remains a major focal point from November to early March way beyond many other states. With the scrutiny there is out there, it speaks well of the time and effort that is put into basketball officiating in Maine."
Q: Are there enough officials?
A: "Yes, not an overabundance but an ample supply. Annually each of the five boards of officials sponsor an extensive course each fall for prospective officials. It’s followed up by a written exam and a floor test."
Q: How is the training?
A: "Maine has a near 70 year relationship with IAABO, the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials. Videotapes and DVDs are used in addition to observations. Maine has always paid attention to training."
Q: Three man vs. two man — how much better with three?
A: "There’s no question it’s better with three. I observe about 150 or 160 games a year. And I do observe beyond Maine in another role I’m in. Eighty percent of the games I see need the service of a crew of three. The game changed from an officiating point of view drastically with the three-point arc. It requires a substantially different responsibility for the trail official. The other thing is there was a day when most of the defensive pressure didn’t come about until two or three minutes left in the game. Today, typically with boys and girls there’s pressure all game long. We’ve had crews of three completely in our tournaments for at least a dozen years. About 30 percent of the regular season games are crews of three. It isn’t a great difference in cost."
Q: Are there any points of emphasis this year?
A: "There are five points of emphasis this year, arrived at by the national federation for state high schools. The points of emphasis for this year, both for the NCAA level and high school, include rules enforcement. Really it means don’t bring your personal version of the rules to the game. The second point of emphasis is on sportsmanlike behavior of players and coaches. The third point is pretty much contact, especially on the perimeter. Officials have been encouraged to give that a lot of attention. The fourth point is closely guarded situations. The rule is six feet between the offensive and defensive player. The fifth one is referred to as the principle of verticality. Just because the defender is airborne, it doesn’t make him wrong or the offensive player wrong. But they must be vertical. It also applies in rebound play, too."
Q: What’s most difficult call or rule to enforce?
A: "The most difficult rule to enforce is traveling, no question. You have to watch the defender and a third person coming to set a screen while also watching the person with the ball. That’s what makes traveling difficult. A block-charge is probably the easiest rule for a well trained official."
Q: Have fans or coaches changed in their approach to officials?
A: "Overall I don’t think it’s changed. I think schools have changed their approach to how they regulate them."
Q: How are officials chosen for the tournament?
A: "There’s a long-time system in place. They have to have officiated a minimum of 50 regular-season Heal point games overall and 15 in that season to be eligible to be considered. They must also be fit and injury free. The commissioner has to have seen them officiate. Forms are sent to schools and coaches say who they would recommend. We usually have just about 100 for the three tournament sites. Coach recommendations and regional board recommendations are given consideration. I finalize it.
Q: What makes a good official?
A: "The quality official is someone who probably has a basketball background. From that point on, you truly have to have a passion for officiating. It’s obvious you have to have a mastery for the rules and the mechanics. You also have to be high on the composure side. It’s a rare official who gets to the varsity level in Maine prior to
five years. Without the commitment and passion you’re not going to make it. Basketball is played in a big living room compared to other sports and the emotions are high. The people around the court, it’s kind of like Sunday school, you have to forgive them when they complain. The good official gets every bit as much of an adrenaline flow as a ballplayer when he’s doing things well."
BOYS BASKETBALL TOP 10
1. Cheverus (7-0) The defending Class A state champions continued to roll through Western Maine with a 51-35 win against a good Thornton club in Saco.
2. Camden Hills (9-0) Keegan Pieri, a 6-foot-6 guard, returned after a month-long suspension to help the Wndjammers win 74-48 at previously unbeaten Winslow.
3. Bangor (8-1) After an opening loss, the Rams have reeled off eight straight, including Tuesday’s 49-35 win at Mt. Blue.
4. Hamden (7-2) The Broncos lost a 57-55 squeaker at Mt. Blue then bounced back with a 66-45 win against Messalonskee.
5. Edward Little (8-1) The two-time defending Eastern Maine champs downed Mt. Ararat 63-42 then nipped Brunswick 64-63.
6. Mt. Blue (7-2) The Cougars knocked off Hampden at home 57-55 but faltered a couple of nights later in losing to Bangor, 49-35.
7. Mountain Valley (9-0) The Falcons are going for their second straight unbeaten regular season. They recently faced their toughest test to date in a 52-45 win over Dirigo.
8. Thornton (5-2) After a 5-0 start the Trojans lost 50-48 to Deering then were beaten at home by Cheverus, 51-35.
9. Cape Elizabeth (6-1) After a loss to Yarmouth, the Capers bounced back with wins against Greely and Gray-New Gloucester.
10. Ellsworth (8-0) The Eagles remained unbeaten but face their toughest test of the season this week against unbeaten Mount Desert Island.
Junior point guard D.J. Johnson of Islesboro scored his 1,000th point recently against Calvary Chapel.
Senior forward Maggie Sabine of Oak Hill topped the 1,000-career point mark with a 21-point performance against Rockland.
GIRLS' BASKETBALL TOP 10
1. McAuley (7-0) The Lions, who routed Scarborough and topped Bonny Eagle, 48-33, await a couple of late-season tests against in-town rival Deering.
2. Cheverus (7-1) The Stags’ only blemish is a three-point loss to McAuley. They’re coming off a 34-point win against Thornton.
3. Deering (7-0) The Rams had surprisingly close wins against Biddeford (48-37) and Thornton (53-46).
4. Morse (10-0) The Shipbuilders remained unbeaten with a big 59-47 victory against previously unbeaten Edward Little.
5. York (10-0) The defending Class B champions downed Greely 48-22 and have yet to be challenged.
6. Leavitt (10-0) The Hornets kept pace with York in Class B West with a 66-61 statement win against Nokomis.
7. Gorham (6-1) The Rams, whose only loss is to unbeaten Deering, cruised to a big victory against Kennebunk this week.
8. Windham (7-2) The Eagles’ only losses tis seaosn are to McAuley and Cheverus. Next up is a key test against Gorham.
9. Edward Little (8-1) After losing to Morse in a battle of unbeatens, the Red Eddies bounced back with wins against Brunswick and Mt. Ararat.
10. Hampden (8-1) After losing a showdown against Edward Little, the Broncos rebounded with wins over Mt. Blue and Messalonskee.
BOYS' HOCKEY TOP 10
2. St. Dominic
9. Edward Little
WRESTLING TOP 10
2. Camden Hills
5. Mountain Valley
8. Mt. Blue
- Cheverus (4-0): The top-ranked Stags continued to roll with a 49-28 win against Portland. In a previous game, Kennebunk tried to slow things down against Cheverus and nearly pulled an upset before losing 31-25. The Stags are averaging 57 points a game while giving up a paltry 29.
- Edward Little (4-0): The Red Eddies rolled to a pair of victories against Oxford Hills (67-45) and Brewer (65-47), getting 28 points from Bo Leary in the latter game. Next up for EL is Messalonskee with a Jan. 4 date looming at Hampden.
- Camden Hills (6-0): The Windjammers cruised past Oak Hill 92-41 to run their record to 6-0, but they’ve shown some vulnerability this season, one in which point guard Keegan Pieri has yet to play due to suspension. They squeaked past Medomak Valley 84-82 and held off Gardiner 62-54.
- Thornton (4-0): The Golden Trojans remained unbeaten with wins against Gorham and Bonny Eagle. Next up are road games at Sanford and Deering before a home showdown Jan 11 against Cheverus.
- Hampden (4-1): The Broncos were upset 50-49 at Lawrence when Spencer Carey hit a 3-point shot with three seconds left to play. They remain one of the state’s top teams, however, and will try to confirm that against Edward Little at home on Jan. 4.
- Mountain Valley
Alexa Coulombe is a 6-foot-2 junior center playing for Catherine McAuley High School in Portland who has already verbally committed to play basketball for Boston College. As a sophomore she averaged 10 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots a game with a high of 16 in one contest. She took time for an interview at a recent holiday tournament:
Q: Why do you attend McAuley?
A: "My parents wanted me to get out of the public school system and go private."
Q: Why did you choose Boston College?
A: "I’ve wanted to go there since I can remember. It’s close enough to my home, it’s not really far away. A girl on my AAU team went there before I did and I really like the coaches. Everything clicked really well."
Q: Why such and early decision?
A: "I did a lot of work this summer and I thought about it a lot and what school would work for me. I figured out, why wait? It was kind of a no-brainer for me."
Q: Did you consider the University of Maine?
A: "I was basically looking more south. I knew I wanted to get out."
Q: When did you start playing basketball?
A: "In third grade. Because I was always tall (my parents) said why don’t you go try it. I did, and I liked it."
Q: Do you feel more comfortable on the perimeter or in the post?
A: "Originally I was a post player, but I had to work a lot (on my perimeter game) on my AAU team. I was in the 3 spot. I had to transition completely out of post play. I had to have a guard mentality. (My AAU coach Kara Leary) really helped me with that."
Q: Where do you need to improve?
A: "I need to become stronger. I need to be a better guard, a better shooter. I work out all the time but I’m not a really big person."
Q: What are your other interests?
A: "I don’t play any other sports. I’m into basketball all the time. I’m in a lot of clubs and I’m an ambassador for the kids coming into (McAuley)."
Q: What are you long-term plans?
A: "I don’t really know. I think I’m just going to take it as it comes."
GIRLS' TOP 10
- McAuley (4-0): Catherine McAuley High of Portland remained the state’s top girls basketball team following a 45-42 win over Cheverus. Despite having two Division I bound players in Becca Knight (Maine) and Alexa Coulombe (Boston College), the Lions have yet to completely jell. They lost by four to Deering at the Capital City Hoop Classic in Augusta, but don’t play the Rams in regular-season games until the end of the season.
- Deering (5-0): The Rams stayed unbeaten with a 51-45 win against south Portland in which University of Vermont bound senior Kayla Burchill scored 32 points, including seven 3-pointers. The Rams don’t play against McAuley until Feb. 3 but did knock them off in a Christmas tournament 53-48 this week.
- Morse (6-0): The Shipbuilders are cruising with recent wins against Cony and Lawrence. Nikoline Ostergaard, the team’s point guard and an exchange student from Denmark, is drawing interest from U.S. colleges.
- York (5-0): The defending class B state champions look like the team to beat again this season. The Wildcats knocked off previously unbeaten Greely 54-28 last week and there don’t appear to be many challenges on the horizon.
- Cheverus (4-1): The Stags led McAuley last week for most of the game before falling by three points and remain one of the teams to beat in Western Maine Class A. They host a solid Windham team next week.
No. 1 Lewiston remained unbeaten with a 5-2 overtime win last week against rival St. Dominic. Between the neighboring schools have more than 40 New England high school hockey championships. The Blue Devils showed a little early season vulnerability, though, when they were tied, 2-2, by Biddeford.
- St. Dom’s
- Edward Little
Cheverus intercepted two passes and blocked two punts in beating Bonny Eagle, 23-20, to take sole possession of first place in the competitive North division of the Southern Maine Activities Association. Lawrence, meanwhile, rallied in the second half to stop Bangor, 21-14, and take over first place in the Pine Tree Conference’s Northern division.
The win for Cheverus was one of the biggest in years for the Stags who have rebuilt over the past four season under legendary coach John Wolfgram. Zach Dulac blocked two punts, the second recovered in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Stags also downed a punt on the 1-yard line in the second half that led to a safety. The visiting Scots, who have won four Class A state titles since 2004, took a 20-14 lead in the second half on a 46-yard run by Ethan Thorne. Quarterback Matt Rollins also threw touchdown passes of 60 and 45 yards to Cam Cooper.
The Stags also got a 65-yard scoring run from Evan Jendrasko who finished with 132 yards on 18 carries. Cheverus scored its first touchdown after recovering a fumble on the opening kickoff.
Lawrence trailed Bangor 14-7 at the half but its defense took over in the second, holding the Rams to 32 total yards. The Bulldogs took the lead on two plays in the third quarter just 1 minute, 53 seconds apart.
Blair Blaisdell with a 3-yard run, then after holding the Rams on down, Shawn Carroll swept 80 yards for a score.
Bangor pulled off a 79-yard flea flicker from Joe Seccareccia to Nick Sherwood on the first play of the game but it was called back. Undeterred, the same pair hooked up later in the opening drive for a 59-yard scoring play. After Blaisdell tied the score with a 21-yard run, Bangor’s Joe Stanivicz returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to make it 14-7.
Lawrence, at 7-0, is the only unbeaten team in the PTC and will have home field advantage in the playoffs. The Bulldogs also have allowed a conference low 39 points this season.
- Jamie Ross, Deering, 3 rushing TDs, 1 passing in 42-7 victory against Westbrook.
- Cody LeBerge, Windham, 245 rushing yards, 1 TD; 129 passing yards, 2 TDs in 20-14 win over Portland.
- Sam Meklin, Rockland, 203 passing yards, 4 TDs in 24-20 win against Calais.
- Keenan Knox, Messalonskee, 246 rushing yards, 2 TDs in 45-12 win over Skowhegan.
- Justin Tinsman, 2 TD passes, 1 rushing TD, field goal and six extra points in 45-12 win against Skowhegan.
- Jason Dutton, Old Orchard, 214 passing yards, 3 TDs, one rushing TD in 33-0 win over Sacopee.
3. Bonny Eagle
6. Mountain Valley
Key games this week:
- Leavitt at Gardiner: The host Tigers (6-1) were upset two weeks ago at Belfast but this one is for first place in the Pine Tree Conference’s Class B division. Junior Alonzo Connor leads the Tigers with over 1,300 yards rushing while junior quarterback Jordan Hersom is the playmaker for the defending state champion Hornets (7-0).
- Deering at Cheverus: This one could decide home-field advantage in the Class A playoffs. Cheverus (7-0) is coming off a huge win over Bonny Eagle while Deering (6-1) has been the hottest team in the SMAA since an early-season loss.
- Thornton at Biddeford: Not only are both teams 6-1 in the SMAA south, but this rivalry between the neighboring schools dates back to 1893. Thornton leads 49-34-8.
A proposed reclassification of Maine’s three football classes into four has hit a sticking point. The Maine Principals’ Association reclassification committee has tabled any recommendations at the request of the football committee which will review concerns next month. Among the issues is a proposal to divide the Double A class, which includes the state’s 18 largest schools into three divisions.
Northern schools are feeling crowded out and some prefer two divisions. Also at issue is the competitive balance for some new football programs which would essentially move up in class.
Former Bangor running back Lonnie Hackett is one of five recipients of the National High School Football Scholar/Athlete Award. Hackett was selected recently from a pool of 31 finalists and will be honored in New York City on Dec. 7. Now a freshman at Bowdoin College, Hackett set school records for rushing yards (2,257) and touchdowns (28) last season . . . Former Lisbon High and Bates College coach Joe Woodhead died this week. At Lisbon where he coached for 27 years, Woodhead led the football team to state titles in 1960, ‘61, ‘68, ‘71 and ‘78.
State team and individual golf championships were decided recently at 36-hole Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro. Gorham was a surprise winner in Class A, winning in a three-way tiebreaker over Brunswick and Deering. The Rams won based on the score of their fifth man. Falmouth won the Class B title with the lowest four-man score of the day, 315, while Houlton repeated as Class C champ, beating St. Dominic by one stroke.
Gorham senior Mike Arsenault won the Class A individual title, shooting even par 72 in cold and windy conditions. The Class B title went to Ellsworth junior Greg Martin who shot 77 while Madison junior Seth Sweet won the Class C championship with 73. Fort Kent freshman Ali Prescott won the schoolgirl championship with 79.
The state field hockey playoffs are under way. Skowhegan entered the playoffs as the only unbeaten team in the state. Last season, the Indians saw their streak of eight straight Class A state titles end with a loss to Scarborough.
Miss Maine field hockey candidates were announced this week. They include Gardiner’s Becca Paradee, Mt. View’s Hayleigh Kein, Scarborough’s Kristen Felt and York’s Hannah Keating. The winner will be announced Dec. 5.
BOYS' SOCCER TOP 10
8. Cape Elizabeth
10. Camden Hills
GIRLS' SOCCER TOP 10
CROSS COUNTRY COACHES POLLS
Boys' top 10
5. Cape Elizabeth
6. Mt. Ararat
9. Mt. Blue
Girls' Top 10
2. Cape Elizabeth
3. Mt. Ararat
4. John Bapst
7. Bonny Eagle
Two teams expected to challenge for the Class A championship this fall cruised to victories as Western Maine power Bonny Eagle defeated Westbrook, 36-0, and defending Eastern Maine champion Bangor blanked Skowhegan, 49-0.
Quarterback Matt Rollins paced Bonny Eagle with a pair of passing touchdowns while also rushing for 123 yards and a score. Bangor senior Josiah Hartley made a successful transition from wide receiver to tailback, rushing for 125 yards and three touchdowns in his debut at that position.
In other standout performances, Collin Downs rushed for 176 yards on 15 carries and scored six touchdowns to lead Camden Hills to a 60-28 win against Nokomis. Both schools are recent additions to varsity competition in the state.
Cony quarterback Luke Duncklee led the Rams of Augusta to a 48-12 win over Mt. Ararat of Topsham. The senior, who has made a verbal commitment to the University of Maine to play baseball next year, rushed for 194 yards on 21 carries and scored four touchdowns. He also passed for 71 yards and a score.