Boston High School: Mike Clark

Maine statewide football preview

September, 4, 2013
9/04/13
5:15
PM ET
The football landscape has changed with the addition of a fourth class and reorganization everywhere. Here's a look at the top contenders in each class in 2013:

Class A East
MaineAsk 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.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

February, 9, 2012
2/09/12
3:56
PM ET
At the risk of using a horse-racing metaphor, Cranston West High recorded a “daily double” when Words Unlimited announced its award winners for the 2011 calendar year.

Rhode IslandJeff Diehl, who starred in basketball and baseball, was voted the Schoolboy Athlete of the Year while Falcons baseball coach Rob Malo was voted the Schoolboy Sports Coach of the Year.

Diehl, a senior, led the Falcons to the first-ever Division I basketball championship in school history.

Then, in the spring, he hit .537 with six home runs and 27 RBI as the Falcons compiled a 13-5 regular-season record. His production was a major reason why Cranston West won the Division I state championship.

When June rolled around, Diehl was selected in the 23rd round by the New York Mets.

Malo replaced veteran and eminently successful coach Chuck Jones in 2007 – two years after the Falcons won their first Division I state baseball title since 1975.

The Falcons finished the 2011 season on top of the Division I pile as they spotted North Kingstown a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three finals and won the next two games to capture the state championship.

On the distaff side, La Salle’s twin sisters Madison and McKenzie Meehan were voted co-Schoolgirl Athletes of the Year while Barrington cross-country coach Annmarie Marino was named the Schoolgirl Sports Coach of the Year.

Last fall, Madison Meehan led the country in assists with 44 while McKenzie led the nation in scoring with 80 goals as the Rams won their fourth consecutive Division I state soccer championship.

Each Meehan also earned All-State honors the previous winter as the Rams annexed their fifth straight state indoor title.

Marino guided the Eagles to both the Class A and State championships. The state title was the first in school history since 1994.

Words Unlimited is the statewide organization of sportswriters, sportscasters and sports publicists.

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES