WINSLOW — The Winslow High School football team is back in a state championship game for the first time in six seasons. The Raiders (10-1) will play Foxcroft Academy (10-1) at 2:36 p.m. Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.
On Wednesday afternoon, captains Joe Hopkins, Jon Farrell, Brock Deschaine and Sean Cote took a moment to answer a few questions from staff writer Bill Stewart.
Q: When did you know Winslow was good enough to make the Class C state final?
Hopkins: “I never really thought about the end result. I knew coming in this year we had a lot of key players. The pieces started falling together about halfway through the season; that’s when I realized we had a lot of potential.”
Farrell: “I’d say by the end of regular season, and then for sure when we beat Traip (in Western C semifinals). I knew by then that we’d more than likely we’d be going to states.”
Deschaine: “This last week actually. I thought we’d have a good challenge all the way through. I knew we had what it took, though.”
Cote: “Right after we lost to Dirigo (Sept. 8). That’s when we pulled together.”
Q: Who has been your biggest influence on your football career?
Hopkins: “I’d have to say Coach (Jim) Poulin. When you start feeling sorry for yourself in double sessions, and you’re tired, you look at him and what he faces every day, and it makes you think.”
Farrell: “The coaches. Mostly Poulin. He’s taken me under his wing the last four years. He’s showed me the ropes.”
Deschaine: “Probably my parents, and the upperclassmen.”
Cote: “Nick Mangold, the center for the New York Jets. He’s just amazing at what he does. And also coach (Pete) Bolduc. He really helps me with everything I do.”
Of note: Poulin was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1995.
Q: What is your favorite football memory?
Hopkins: “I’d have to say this whole season.”
Farrell: “Probably the time Eric Crawley cleaned me out because I decided I was going to jump around him. He hit me in the shins and he knocked me right over.”
Deschaine: “Coach’s long quotes.”
Cote: “Right now, winning regionals. I hope it’s going to be winning states.”
Q: Who is your favorite athlete?
Hopkins: “Tom Brady.”
Farrell: “I’m not a big professional (sports) fan.”
Deschaine: “Ray Lewis.”
Cote: “Tedy Bruschi, because he’s so powerful.”
Q: What is the toughest day of the football week?
Hopkins: “Tuesdays because it’s a lot of learning. There is a lot more talking and you have to wrap your mind around it and really focus.”
Farrell: “Either Tuesday or Wednesday.”
Deschaine: “Every day.”
Cote: “They’re all pretty good.”
Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Hopkins: “We go down and listen to music. We always say a prayer before every game no matter where we are.”
Farrell: “We always pray together right in the end zone.”
Deschaine: “I haven’t shaved since we lost in Week 2.”
Cote: “Us linemen do some pre-game stuff together. It’s kind of a secret thing.”
Q: What kind of music do you listen to before a game?
Hopkins: “Rap and rock, just everything.”
Deschaine: “Rap. Eminem.”
Cote: “Rap, metal, rock.”
Q: What’s it like to have Winslow back in a state final for the first time in six years?
Hopkins: “It feels great. Obviously, I haven’t made it past the quarterfinals until this year. Every single win has been awesome.”
Farrell: “Amazing. I can’t come up with a specific word because it’s that great.”
Deschaine: “It feels really good, following in the footsteps of all the guys who have come before us.”
Cote: This is such a big event for the whole school. It hasn’t happened in a long time. It feels great.”