Nearly two months have passed since Ben Lucas and Nicco DeLorenzo squared off in an epic Class B state championship football game that wasn’t decided until the final minute of play.
Lucas and the Cony football team made history by winning its first-ever state title game, a wild 30-23 decision over DeLorenzo and Kennebunk.
The two will reunite Sunday at the 43rd annual James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy award banquet at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.
Lucas and DeLorenzo are finalists for the award, as is Portland running back/linebacker Justin Zukowski. The Fitzpatrick award is given annually to the top senior player in the state.
“I was a little sour right after the game,” said DeLorenzo, a fullback/linebacker who rushed for 1,296 yards and averaged 7.5 yards a carry. “Over time, I’m still a little sensitive to it. It was a tough loss. But losing taught me some great things. Lucas is a great player and he played great. I don’t think it will be awkward seeing him again.”
Added Lucas: “Nicco is obviously a great player. I saw it first-hand. It was a pretty wild game. I don’t think we’ll ever forget it.”
Cony trailed 16-0 late in the third quarter before it rallied behind its record-setting quarterback. Lucas struggled in the first half, completing just 7 of 16 passes for 40 yards.
He was dominant in the second half.
Lucas threw for 307 yards and threee touchdowns in the second half. His last score came with a minute left — a 25-yard strike to Jonathan Saban that gave Cony the lead for good.
“Crazy,” Lucas said. “It was just crazy.”
DeLorenzo rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown. He also forced a fumble on defense.
“If you are going to go out, go out swinging,” DeLorenzo said, “and we did. It was a really fun game to play.”
Since their showdown, both players moved on to deciding collegiate plans and preparing for the Fitzpatrick Trophy award process.
DeLorenzo and Lucas each said writing the speech proved challenging.
“The speech is finally done,” said DeLorenzo, the first Fitzpatrick Trophy finalist in Kennebunk program history. “It wasn’t necessarily hard but trying to find the right words was tough. It was a little difficult. I liked the games more. It was a fun process. It was pretty exciting to go through it, even though it was stressful at times. I’m pretty happy it’s coming to an end Sunday.”
Lucas agreed, saying, “It’s been hectic working on the speech. I’m kind of excited it’s coming to an end. Writing the speech, there are just so many different things you can talk about. There are so many angles to go with. With only three to five minutes on the speech, you just had to find something and go with it.”
Bill Stewart — firstname.lastname@example.org