Boston High School: Portland (Maine)

New England Roundup: Maine

December, 3, 2012
12/03/12
6:20
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Nick Janes remembers how it used to feel to be a Marshwood football player, and he remembers when that changed.

MaineAt one time, the Hawks had one of the best football programs in the state. But Marshwood hadn’t been to a state title game since 1989, and finished 2-6 and out of the playoffs in 2011.

“You felt secluded,” said Janes, a senior running back and defensive back on this year’s Marshwood team. “Like, everybody knew you were, but no one really cared.”

Marshwood hired coach Alex Rotsko before this season. In addition to coaching at American International College and Ithaca, Rotsko had won 11 Super Bowls in 19 years as coach of Longmeadow High School in Massachusetts.

“The first practice, you looked at him, he just looked confident,” Janes said. “You didn’t want to lose for him.”

For Janes, the moment he realized things were different came in a preseason scrimmage against Portsmouth (N.H.) High. Marshwood struggled to move the ball, and Rotsko told his players what was wrong and how to fix it.

“The next play, we ran for like a 20-yard gain,” Janes said. “I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

Marshwood eventually made it to the Class B state championship game, losing 44-42 to Mt. Blue. It was clear Marshwood is back.

“You could feel the whole community coming around you,” Janes said.

Rotsko, who was also athletic director at Longmeadow, was friends with former Marshwood coach John Caverly, so he was aware when the Marshwood job became open.

“My wife and I own a home at York Beach, and we were coming up here anyway after I retired,” Rotsko said.

As usual, Rotsko installed the Wing-T offense, a run-based system built of multiple weapons.

“We ran it at Longmeadow,” he said. “The 19 years that I was there, we ran it 18 years and had 18 winning seasons. You can guess what happened that one year.”

“We used to run the spread offense,” said Dan Lizotte, a senior fullback/linebacker. “I thought we had the size to run a tighter offense. We just powered it up the middle. I liked it.”

With his favorite offense in place, Rotsko said there were two clear differences for him between Maine and Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, you have to play three games in 12 days at playoff time, including the annual Thanksgiving rivalry, while Maine simply has a game each week. The other notable difference is the size of the rosters.

“The school that I came from was not a real big school,” Rotsko said. “We probably had 500 boys, and 100 played football. I was used to dealing with 105, 110 kids. I came here, we had about 60 kids at the first practice. Out of those 60, 40 or so were freshmen and sophomores.”

Marshwood’s first two games in the regular season were against York and Mountain Valley. York was returning 18 starters from a playoff team, and Mountain Valley is a perennial powerhouse. Rotsko said he was told those were the two teams that Marshwood had no chance to beat, but the Hawks won both games, defeating York 28-12 and Mountain Valley, 19-12.

“It was unbelievable,” Janes said. “Everybody was really excited. It felt surreal.”

Less than a month after its second win, Marshwood lost a former teammate. Troy Pappas, the quarterback in 2011 and a freshman at Bates College, died Oct. 5, six days after falling down a stairwell.

“I’ve thought of him every day,” Janes said. “It’s tough to go through something like that, so he’s always on my mind. Playing with him for three years, you get used to him being there.”

The Hawks took the field just a couple hours after Pappas’ death, and defeated Cape Elizabeth, 20-0, to run their record to 5-1. They did not lose again in the regular season, and after beating Cape Elizabeth again in the quarterfinals, knocked off Wells, 15-13, and York, 21-20 to win the Western B title.

“I feel like Troy was there watching over us, making sure we won by the skin of our teeth,” Lizotte said. “Everyone felt that was it.”

A lot of key players are back for Marshwood next season, like quarterback Cameron Roll, running back Brett Gerry, and linemen Tyler Gagnon and Beau Blanchette.

“I thought it was a great season,” Rotsko said. “It couldn’t have gone any better. I think everybody’s already excited for next year.”

(Read full post)

L-S' DeNormandie named Mass. Gatorade Player of the Year

February, 23, 2011
2/23/11
9:01
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The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced Cole DeNormandie of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School as its 2010-11 Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Soccer Player of the Year. DeNormandie is the first Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.

The 6-foot, 180-pound senior forward recorded 18 goals and six assists this past season, leading the Warriors (14-2-2) to the Division 1 North Sectional quarterfinals. A 2010 ESPN RISE Third Team All-American selection and a two-time All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, DeNormandie was also the 2010 Boston Globe Division 1 Player of the Year and a three-time Dual County League MVP. He concluded his prep soccer career with 64 goals and 20 assists.

DeNormandie has maintained a B average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as a youth soccer coach and with Students Against Destructive Decisions.

“Cole DeNormandie has really developed his game,” said John Frederick, DeNormandie’s club coach with the New England Revolution. “He’s a big kid, a gifted athlete. He runs very, very well, he’s good in the air and he’s good on the ground. What he’s been blessed with athletically, you can’t understate. I think he’s going to be a great goal-scorer.”

DeNormandie has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at the University of Cincinnati this fall.

DeNormandie joins recent Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Soccer Players of the Year Leon Brown (2009-10, The Roxbury Latin School), Charlie Rugg (2008-09, The Rivers School), and Jan Trnka-Amrhein (2007-08, Noble and Greenough School) among the state’s list of former award winners.

Here are the winners from the other five New England states:

CONNECTICUT: KEVIN MICHALAK, FARMINGTON
The 6-foot-1, 165-pound senior midfielder led the Indians to a 16-2-3 record and the Class LL state championship this past season. Michalak recorded 14 goals and eight assists, including a goal and assist in Farmington’s 2-1 win over Staples High in the state title game. An All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Michalak was also an NSCAA Scholar All-American. The MVP of the state championship match, Michalak concluded his prep soccer career with 25 goals and 22 assists.

Michalak has maintained an A average in the classroom. A member of his school’s Chamber Singers, he has volunteered locally at the Farmington Town Fair and with American Red Cross blood-donation drives.

“Kevin Michalak is an all-around poster child type of kid,” said Dave Farrell, Michalak’s club coach with Oakwood Soccer Club. “He’s a great athlete, super intelligent. He’s a midfielder with a very large amount of finesse with the ball. He’s attack-minded and sees the game very well.”

Michalak will attend Yale University this fall, where he will play soccer.

Michalak joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Boys Soccer Players of the Year Kofi Agyapong (2009-10, St. Luke's School), Colin Bradley (2008-09, Avon Old Farms School), and Pat Boucher (2007-08, Cromwell) among the state’s list of former award winners.

RHODE ISLAND: MARCOS UGARTE, PROVIDENCE COUNTRY DAY
The 5-foot-7, 140-pound senior midfielder and forward recorded 16 goals and three assists this past season, leading the Knights to a 5-13 record. An All-New England Region selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Ugarte was a Providence Journal All-State selection and a First Team All-State pick as voted by the state coaches. Ugarte concluded his prep soccer career with 27 goals and 32 assists.

Ugarte has maintained a 3.15 GPA in the classroom. A member of his school’s Chess Club, he has volunteered locally at a youth soccer camp and with Habitat for Humanity.

Ugarte joins recent Gatorade Rhode Island Boys Soccer Players of the Year two-time winner Nick Dubee (2009-10 & 2008-09, Chariho), and Brett Uttley (2007-08, North Kingstown) among the state’s list of former award winners.

Ugarte has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at Providence College this fall.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: ERIC JAYNE, HANOVER
The 5-foot-9 senior forward led the Marauders to a 17-1 record and the Division II state title this past season. Jayne recorded 17 goals and 12 assists and broke the school career record with 50 goals. An All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, he scored six goals in the postseason, including the game-winner with less than three minutes remaining in the state final against Bedford. Jayne was named First Team All-State for the second straight season.

Jayne has maintained a 3.64 GPA in the classroom and represents one of the state’s top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade Award’s broad criteria. Also a talented cellist and devoted member of his church community, he has volunteered locally on behalf of his area’s CROP Hunger Walk.

Jayne will attend Dartmouth College this fall, where he will play soccer.

Jayne joins recent Gatorade New Hampshire Boys Soccer Players of the Year Josh Vlasich (2009-10, Exeter), Kenny Kolbeck (2008-09, Pinkerton Academy), and Brad Hilton (2007-08, Merrimack) among the state’s list of former award winners.

MAINE: FAZAL NABI, PORTLAND
The 6-foot senior midfielder recorded 20 goals and 20 assists this past season, leading the Bulldogs (15-2-1) to the Class A state final. Nabi was an All-New England selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and was named First Team All-State for the third straight season.

Nabi has maintained an A average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally on behalf of an area soup kitchen, Ronald McDonald House Charities and youth soccer camps.

Nabi has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at Providence College this fall.

Nabi joins recent Gatorade Maine Boys Soccer Players of the Year two-time winner Gabe Hoffman-Johnson (2009-10 & 2008-09, Falmouth), and Oliver Blum (2007-08, Greely) among the state’s list of former award winners.

VERMONT: PAUL BIANCHI, ESSEX
The 5-foot-11 senior forward led the Hornets to a 14-4 record and the Division I state title this past season. Bianchi recorded 21 goals and four assists and was an All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. He was also named First Team All-Metro for the third consecutive season and was selected First Team All-State by the Burlington Free Press for the second straight season.

Bianchi has maintained an A-minus average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally on behalf of a soccer program for children with special needs.

Bianchi has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at the University of New Hampshire.

Bianchi joins recent Gatorade Vermont Boys Soccer Players of the Year Andrew Mercier (2009-10, South Burlington) Rob Cole (2008-09, South Burlington), and Tyler Macnee (2007-08, Champlain Valley Union) among the state’s list of former award winners.

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