Sports – Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel Features news from the Kennebec Journal of Augusta, Maine and Morning Sentinel of Waterville, Maine. Tue, 17 Oct 2017 04:00:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Cony boys soccer earns tie against Mt. Blue Tue, 17 Oct 2017 01:02:32 +0000 FARMINGTON — On the coolest night of the season, the Cony High School boys soccer team assured itself it would not be left out in the cold.

Senior Brad Houston equalized in the 29th minute, and the Rams saw it through to earn a 1-1 draw with Mt. Blue in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference regular season finale for both Monday night at Caldwell Field. While Cony entered the week clinging tenuously to the final spot in the Class A North Heal point standings, the deadlock assured the Rams a spot in the regional tournament.

“It was huge for us. This was a big game,” said Cony goalkeeper Nick Robinson, who made nine saves, including two in extra time. “I’m really proud of my team for pulling together and getting a tie.”

Immediately following the final whistle, Cony head coach Jon Millett lauded the effort from his side, pointing out that the result was as good as a win for the Rams (4-6-4) — who are heading back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

“We had to at least get a tie to guarantee that we were going to make it in, so that was the mindset,” Millett said. “That’s all we had to play for. We had no pressure on us, except to hold the tie.”

Mt. Blue (8-4-2) carried the play early in the evening, scoring just nine minutes in when Alden Thompson-Vought cleverly followed up on a combination play for a second-chance strike to put the Cougars on top.

All of the Mt. Blue possession continued to add up, but when Cony finally put itself on the scoreboard just inside of 30 minutes — when Houston intercepted a weak pass from Mt. Blue back Joe Crandall intended for his own goalkeeper, Tucker Carleton, and went in alone for the easy strike — the game changed dramatically.

Cony’s back four of Mike Levesque, Vlasta Horak, Ian Bowers and Ben Crocker-Maillett were both organized and skilled, and they began to insert their will into the proceedings the longer things progressed. Where the Cougars could still win aerial challenges and play the ball into wide spaces, the Ram back line made sure they could not find incisive balls into danger areas.

Aside from corner kicks and long throw-ins taken deep in the attacking third, Mt. Blue could not penetrate the 18-yard box.

“We played the way we wanted to. We really closed down the middle,” Robinson said. “The wings did a great job getting all the through balls out and really cleaning it up back there.”

Mt. Blue coach Joel Smith, whose team appears on target to face Edward Little in the regional quarterfinals, conceded that Cony played a part in making things frustrating for his attack. He also sought more from his group.

“We were getting impatient, and our lack of patience fed into what they wanted to do,” Smith said. “When we penetrated was when we put the ball on the ground and moved the ball around to feet. When we did that, we were OK.

“The problem is that we weren’t patient enough to do it for 80 minutes. That was our inability.”

Robinson made sure the game would stay a draw late in regulation time, when Cougar junior Sam Smith turned and fired against the grain in the 78th minute. Robins dove with only his right arm outstretched to make a dramatic save at the left post.

In the 88th minute, deep into extra time, Robinson again made a great save on Smith’s free kick from inside 25 yards.

Robinson confirmed that he had some anxious moments in goal.

“Whenever they’d get the ball on our side of the field,” Robinson said, laughing.

Cony had the best chance for either side to win the game outright, in first-half stoppage time. When Carleton (two saves) misjudged a ball into his box, he reached out to drag Cony’s Simon McCormick to the ground to avoid surrendering a goal into an empty net. The play drew an obvious penalty.

James Olivier stepped over the spot kick, lining his low drive past a diving Carleton and off the left post. The rebound ricocheted off the opposite post before somehow settling under the desperately recovering keeper.

But near misses aside, Cony did what it had to do to extend its season on a night when the temperature dropped into the low 40s against the backdrop of a steady wind. It was the kind of weather that awaits in the playoffs, which is where the Rams are headed.

“The plan was to play solid defense, and that’s what we came out to do today,” Millett said. “This was a playoff game for us.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

]]> 0 Blue's Sam Smith and Cony's Ben Crocker-Maillett go for the ball during a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game Monday in Farmington.Mon, 16 Oct 2017 21:26:16 +0000
high school roundup: Messalonskee boys soccer rallies to tie up Oxford Hills Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:54:48 +0000 OAKLAND — Christian Alley scored a goal and Chase Warren had the assist as the Messalonskee boys soccer team rallied for a 1-1 draw with Oxford Hills in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game Monday.

The Eagles moved to 5-6-3.

Will Dieterich scored for Oxford Hills (2-10-2).

HALL-DALE 8, CARRABEC 1: Tyler Nadeau scored four goals and had two assists to lead the Bulldogs to the Mountain Vally Conference victory in North Anson.

Beaux Vachon, Alec Byron, Ian Stebbins and Akira Warren also scored for Hall-Dale (12-1-1). Jacob Atwood scored for Carrabec (7-7-0).


MESSALONSKEE 4, OXFORD HILLS 1: Brianne Benecke scored a pair of goals to help lead the Eagles (9-1-4) to the KVAC A victory in Oxford Hills.

Lydia Bradfield and Elena Guarino had the other goals, while Lauren Pickett had two assists and Caitlin Parks added another. Hannah DelGiudice made nine saves for Messalonskee.

Olivia Swift scored for the Vikings (8-6), while Jillian Douglass made 15 saves.

CAMDEN HILLS 7, SKOWHEGAN 0: Kristina Kelley’s three goals lifted the Windjammers (13-0-1) to the KVAC Class A victory in Rockport.

Ella Pierce and Eliza Roy had two goals each for Camden Hills, and Alexandra Southworth made four saves.

Amber Merry stopped nine shots for the Indians (3-11-0).

GREENVILLE 5, VALLEY 0: Shelby Cowin scored twice to lift the Lakers to the East/West Conference victory in Bingham.

Cowin, Jessica Cobb and Tanya Spaulding scored first-half goals for Greenville (10-3-1), while Cowin and Aleya Pelletier had tallies in the second.

The Cavaliers fell to 0-14.

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Monmouth boys soccer shuts out Lisbon Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:51:04 +0000 MONMOUTH — It was a bittersweet victory Monday afternoon for the Monmouth Academy boys’ soccer team.

The Mustangs defeated rival Lisbon 2-0 to finish the regular season 12-0-2 and looked to earn the top seed in the Class C South playoffs. However, when they take the pitch next week for the playoffs, they will be without one of their captains, Avery Pomerleau, as he recorded his third yellow card of the season. He will have to sit out the next countable match.

His yellow came 5:39 into the contest when he collided with a Greyhound player. The card didn’t come on a collision, rather after Pomerleau got up, briefly hovered over the downed Lisbon player and got carded for taunting.

“We are happy we came away with a win today,” Monmouth assistant coach Russ Neal said.

Monmouth head coach Joe Fletcher was sitting out the game Monday to serve a suspension of his own.

Monmouth does have one more game before the playoffs start — the Mountain Valley Conference championship game Thursday at Thomas College. Since the MVC championship isn’t a Maine Principals’ Association game, Pomerleau’s one-game suspension carries into the playoffs.

The Mustangs regrouped after the card and dominated the first half, out-shooting the Greyhounds 12-1 and 17-5 for the game.

Pomerleau found the scoresheet when he blasted a shot past Lisbon keeper Jonah Sautter with 7:11 remaining in the first half.

“We kind of played our game and we did have the ball with the wind,” Pomerleau said. “We played the advantage of the conditions and stuff. We kind of played the game at the pace we played, which is fast. One touch, one pass and just played our game.”

That goal was his 31st goal of the season and he tied Kyle Fletcher’s career mark with 91 goals.

With under two minutes remaining in the opening half, Gabriel Martin put home the second goal as the initial shot hit the post but went right to Martin, who had an open net.

It was going to take the perfect game from Lisbon to pull off a victory.

“We are down our best player in Noah Austin, who’s out with a shoulder injury,” Lisbon coach Dan Sylvester said. “That definitely changed the dynamics a little bit. Our thought was to pack it in and see what happens.”

In the second half, Pomerleau looked to break the all-time school record, but Lisbon’s defense stood tall.

“I was playing to win, that’s the scoring nature I have in myself, I guess,” Pomerleau said. “Just go, go, go and try to have the best opportunity to score for the team.”

Sylvester took pride in his team’s efforts in the second half.

“We had a couple of mistakes and they capitalized on them, which good teams will do to you,” Sylvester said. “Hats off to my guys, we went 0-0 in the second half. My guys did what they could have done today and unfortunately we made a couple of mistakes and they capitalized on them.”

Bradley Neal only needed to make two saves for the clean sheet while Sautter made four saves for the Greyhounds (8-4-2).

Nick Austin received a yellow card for Lisbon in the second half.

]]> 0's Gabrial Martin and Lisbon's Steve Martin go for the ball during a game Monday at Monmouth Academy.Mon, 16 Oct 2017 21:26:43 +0000
KJ football notes: Cony, Gardiner set to resume long-running rivalry Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:28:42 +0000 Ask Joe White about the Cony-Gardiner series, and you’ll get stories of Tigers players breaking down in tears of joy after a win in his junior year or a rain- and mud-filled senior year game like what took place just last week.

The other games against the other teams came and went. But whenever the Rams and Tigers faced each other, the results left indelible marks.

“It’s one of those things,” said White, now the Gardiner coach. “I don’t remember much from any other games, other than those Cony games.”

The latest meeting in Maine’s oldest rivalry — the 140th overall, dating to 1892 — will take place Friday, with 5-2 Cony traveling to Hoch Field to face 2-5 Gardiner. It’ll be the final game of each team’s regular season, but neither one will see its year come to an end Friday night.

Cony is second in Class B North and has a spot in the Class B playoffs, and Gardiner, even with its record, is postseason-bound in Class C South thanks largely to an earlier win over 6-1 Morse.

It’s a vastly different scenario than last season, when the Rams and Tigers met to determine which team made the Class B playoffs. This time, in a change, Cony and Gardiner will have bigger and better things to play for.

“I can’t remember the last time both teams were headed to the playoffs when they’ve played this late in the season,” Cony coach B.L. Lippert said. “It’s been a while. … Sometimes it’s the end of the season for one team and not the other, so there’s an advantage that way. But both teams are going to the playoffs, and both teams are looking for seeding.”

A pair of punched playoff tickets takes away the game’s “do or die” sense, but both coaches agreed that it does little to take away from the importance and special feel of the game.

“I don’t think it diminishes it on either side,” White said. “The approach is going to be the same, as intense. I think your pride is on the line, historically and currently. I hate to say you put more time in the prep for Cony than for anyone else, but I can’t imagine their coach feels any differently.

“We’ve both played in this game, and our families have played in this game. It means a lot. Despite what postseason hopes lie ahead, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a heated rivalry and it’s really, really important to both towns.”

• • •

An effective passing game put Cony in position to knock off Messalonskee early last week, and a touchdown run by Anthony Sousa finished off the dramatic and pivotal victory.

But when asked about his biggest takeaways from the game, Lippert was looking elsewhere.

“I thought our defensive front in the second half was really outstanding,” he said. “We gave them a short field on an interception and held them to a field goal. That was all they had in the second half. … We were able to kind control the line of scrimmage in a lot of ways, and not a lot of teams are able to do that against Messalonskee.”

A quick glimpse at the stats would seem to indicate that the Rams didn’t, either. Messalonskee’s fine trio of Austin Pelletier, Tyler Lewis and Alden Balboni still found yards, gaining 168 yards on 34 carries for a 4.9 average. But the Cony defensive line — a group led by Allyx Chabot, Nic Mills, Mitchell McFarland, Devon Thomas and Tommy Hodgkins — didn’t let any of the backs get loose for back-breaking long runs, instead forcing the Eagles to, yes, have five or six yards on the ground, but string together those carries for long enough to turn them into points.

According to Lippert, it was just executing fundamentals.

“I thought we recognized the play,” he said. “It’s really just all-around effort. It’s reading the keys, it’s getting off blocks and when you get to the ballcarrier it’s getting him on the ground. I thought for four quarters we did a pretty good job of that, maybe as well as we’ve done all year.”

Lippert also had praise for defensive coordinator Brandon Terrill, whom he said has developed a habit for drawing up strong game plans.

“I have the utmost faith in him on the defensive side of the ball,” Lippert said. “I don’t really have too much to worry about. … I let him have the ultimate control of that defense. It’s really great, because I was calling both the offense and the defense a few years ago and it’s nice now to be able to step back while we’re on the defensive side of the ball, and really focus on ‘OK, that drive didn’t go very well offensively, what can we do?’ I wouldn’t be able to do that if we didn’t have a defensive coordinator who puts in so much work.”

• • •

The Gardiner ground game, searching all season for its footing, finally took off Saturday.

The Tigers came off a five-game losing streak against Freeport, running wild en route to a 33-20 victory over the Falcons, one that may have saved their season.

“It was a must-win,” White said. “It was 14-14, and all of a sudden, things just started working for us.”

The rushing offense, which had been dogged by inconsistency and poorly-timed penalties, couldn’t be slowed. Gardiner ran for 393 yards, getting two rushing touchdowns from quarterback Cole Heaberlin and 125 rushing yards from Cam Michaud.

The biggest day, however, belonged to shifty tailback Collin Foye, who ran for 213 yards and three touchdowns. Gardiner has normally used a balanced workload with its running backs, but White said Foye had something special working for him Saturday.

“He seemed to come alive,” White said. “I don’t think we’ve given him the opportunity to show that up to this point. There’s been a lot of shuffling around of backfield personnel. … Foye in the second half was really the spark that we needed.”

• • •

The forecast for Friday couldn’t be better: Partly sunny with temperatures in the 60s, and no threat of rain.

It’ll be a drastic change from last season, when the Rams and Tigers battled in a downpour on a muddy field that came apart with each dive, slide and cut. According to White, however, that wasn’t the worst weather he’d endured in his Cony-Gardiner experience.

“My senior year up at Cony in ’94, it rained harder then, if you can believe that,” White, a former Gardiner defensive lineman, said in reference to a 9-6 Tigers win. “By the second quarter, you couldn’t see anybody’s numbers on the jerseys. It was a slogfest, but it was just great. No team really outdoing the other.”

Cony’s only score that day came on a kickoff return.

“I was on the kickoff team that they scored on,” White said. “You couldn’t see who had the ball. … One of my friends on the kickoff team may have tackled me on that play.”

It should be clear skies and dry fields Friday, but White sounded like he wouldn’t some rain showing up in time for kickoff.

“Those conditions are just perfect for a Cony-Gardiner game,” he said. “There shouldn’t be anything beautiful or pretty about two teams from up and down the river going head-to-head for, basically, pride.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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MS football notebook: Bussell excels at new position for MCI Mon, 16 Oct 2017 23:23:38 +0000 Maine Central Institute junior Seth Bussell is already regarded as one of the top two-way linemen in Class C North, now the 5-foot-8, 225 pounder may have a new position in the Huskies backfield as he played fullback in a 34-20 win over Foxcroft Academy last Friday. Not only did he help open holes for other runners, basically as a guard with a five-yard running start, Bussell had 21 carries for 106 yards.

“We’ve been playing (Bussell) at fullback a little,” MCI coach Tom Bertrand said. “He gives us that big fullback look. He’s one of our best linemen, but he gives us another dimension at fullback.”

With Bussell in the backfield, the Huskies ran for 363 yards against the Ponies. Workhorse Adam Bertrand ran for 179 yards on 34 carries, while Pedro Matos added 78 yards on 10 carries.

“Adam loves having Seth back there,” coach Bertrand said.

Offensive line depth is a strength for MCI, and that allowed Bertrand to shift Bussell to the backfield despite having a starting lineman out with an illness. Juniors Dan Pratts and Sam Tilton stepped in and played well on the line.

The win improved MCI to 4-3 in its first season in Class C. The Huskies are in third place in the region with the regular season finale Friday night against No. 2 Winslow (6-1). The Black Raiders will be a good test for the Huskies as they enter the playoffs.

“They’re Winslow. They’re big, strong, physical, and well-coached. We know it’s going to be a battle,” Bertrand said.

• • •

In a 12-8 win over Mountain Valley on Friday, the Madison Area Memorial High School football team was held to a season-low in scoring.

“It feels like the last couple of weeks, we’ve had trouble finding our rhythm,” Madison coach Scott Franzose said. “At the same time we’ve discussed how it’s not always going to be easy.”

The Bulldogs still earned the win to improve to 6-1, thanks to a strong defensive effort against Mountain Valley’s spin offense. The spin is much like the double wing, in that it relies a lot on misdirection, but in a spread formation. The Falcons had scored at least 20 points in five consecutive games before Madison held them to a touchdown. Franzose cited inside linebacker Brad Peters, and defensive linemen Matt Oliver and Ty Friend as keys to Madison’s defensive effort.

“I thought we did very well,” Franzose said.

Madison is in second place in the Class D South standings, and will stay there with a win over Spruce Mountain (5-2) this week. That would keep the Bulldogs at home in the playoffs until the regional championship game.

“We don’t want to take anything for granted,” Franzose said. “Spruce gives us some challenges with their 30 stack defense.”

• • •

After four consecutive losses put Waterville on the playoff bubble, the Purple Panthers gave their postseason chances a huge boost with a 41-13 win over Old Town on Saturday. Now 3-4, Waterville closes the regular season at Hermon (5-2) on Friday. Coming off a winless season last year, competing for a playoff spot is a big step forward for the program.

“After the rough season we had last year, this was everything,” Waterville coach Matt Gilley said after Saturday’s win.

The top eight teams in Class C North make the playoffs. Waterville now sits in seventh place, approximately eight points ahead of John Bapst (2-5). The Panthers were helped last week when Medomak Valley upset John Bapst. Waterville beat Medomak, 14-0, in the second week, and Medomak’s win strengthened the Panthers’ Heal Point ranking. Waterville will get a boost this week when Medomak Valley plays Old Town. No matter which team wins, it’s a team Waterville defeated.

“We got a little help from Medomak (Friday). With Heal Points, you know from basketball can get crazy. We’re taking a look at this. This helped our cause, no doubt. A win next week (Hermon) would really help us out,” Gilley said.

• • •

Here are a few interesting statistics following Skowhegan’s 58-56 win over Lawrence, the highest-scoring game in the state so far this season:

• Skowhegan and Lawrence combined for 1,061 yards of offense.

• The 58 points allowed was the most surrendered by Lawrence since Cheverus scored 49 points against the Bulldogs in the 2011 Class A state championship game. It’s been at least 13 seasons since Lawrence gave up 50 points in a game, according to scores found on going back through the 2004 season.

• There are 38 teams in the state with a winning record. Skowhegan has allowed more points than any of the other 37, by far. Only one other team, Washington Academy, has allowed more than 200 points (207).

• With one week left in the regular season, Skowhegan has played in three of the top four scoring games in the state. This 58-56 game against Lawrence is the top-scoring game. The next three are: Biddeford 56, Skowhegan 54; Washington Academy 58, Telstar 49; and Messalonskee 57, Skowhegan 42.

• • •

Around the state: A group of men working on a roof near Waterville’s Drummond Field became a Central Maine Facebook sensation over the weekend, after pictures of them standing for the national anthem prior to the Old Town-Waterville game circulated… Greely improved its win streak to five games with a 20-7 win over York. The 5-2 Rangers close the regular season at Falmouth Friday… At 2-5, Mount View needs a win over Winthrop/Monmouth to earn a Little Ten Conference playoff bid… Since a 21-20 loss to Winslow in Week 1, Mt. Desert Island has won six in a row. The Trojans can clinch the top spot in the Class C North playoffs with a win over Nokomis… There are five undefeated teams left in the state: Bonny Eagle (Class A), Edward Little (Class A), Marshwood (Class B), Wells (Class D), and Boothbay (Class E).

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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Second to none: Field hockey coaches turn to assistants for critical advice Mon, 16 Oct 2017 21:56:04 +0000 Assistants take on greater roles with clubs

Tammie Veinotte isn’t afraid to let her voice be heard during games or practice. In fact, it would be unusual if the Skowhegan field hockey team’s assistant coach was silent.

She handles the defense for the Indians and is vocal when it comes to instructing players about strategy or technique.

“She’s one of my favorite coaches,” all-conference sweeper Haley Carter said. “She knows everything about defense.”

The freedom Veinotte and the other assistant coaches on the team is afforded comes from the top.

“I think the strength of our program is our assistant coaches,” said Paula Doughty, whose teams have won 19 Class A titles in her 37 years as head coach.”The more good people you have bouncing ideas off each other the better it is.”

Skowhegan and many teams from around the state begin quarterfinal round play Tuesday, and every successful program relies on its entire staff.

The Indians list four assistant coaches on their roster, including Veinotte, Norma Boynton and volunteers Fawn Haynie and Kim Leo. And much like football staffs do, each coach has specific responsibilities and the autonomy to implement them.

In Winthrop, head coach Jess Merrill found herself in a favorable situation when she took over in 2013. Merrill, who was junior varsity coach for three years, swapped positions with Sharon Coulton, who in more than 30 years as head coach at the school won 300 games. The pair have worked well together.

“It evolved pretty quickly,” Merrill said of their coaching relationship. “I don’t know if I could coach without her. She helps me with about everything we do.”

Just as Skowhegan’s staff does, Merrill and Coulton share responsibilities in practice.

“In practice I take more of the defensive focus and she’s more the offensive,” Merrill said. “She comes up with her own drills.”

At Maine Central Institute, head coach Nancy Hughes need to look across the dinner table if she sought input from her assistants, who include husband, Greg, and daughter, Meghan. The Huskies have played for the state championship the past two seasons and the staff, which also includes Amanda Riendeau, has played a key role in the team’s success.

“It’s definitely a collaborative relationship,” Hughes said. “They see things I don’t.”

Greg Hughes works with the goalies while Meghan concentrates on defense. And this isn’t necessarily a staff that separates the sport from the family once they’re away from the field.

“We talk field hockey all the time,” Nancy said. “Greg and I run every morning before school and we usually talk field hockey the whole time.”

Ultimately the toughest decisions fall on the head coach, but the amount of responsibility they cede to their assistant can help when one-on-one situations arise.

“The girls listen to her as much as they listen to me,” Merrill said of Coulton. “She’s so well respected. To have a successful program, you have to be on the same page.”

“Added Doughty: “In the end I have to make the hard decisions. And in the end I go with them 90 percent of the time.”

Carter, who is vocal during games herself, welcomes Veinotte’s input, as well as the rest of the staff.

“Everyone has something to say and everyone listens,” she said. “I really love Veinotte and I’m going to miss her when I leave.”

]]> 0 Hughes family from left to right Greg, Meghan, Alison, and Nancy pose at Thomas College after an Oct. 29, 2015 practice.Mon, 16 Oct 2017 18:33:58 +0000
Mother says atmosphere at Wells football game mocked Native Americans Mon, 16 Oct 2017 20:23:28 +0000 The mother of a Micmac Indian who plays football for Lisbon High School alleges that fans and players mocked Native Americans with offensive stereotypes throughout Friday’s game at Wells High School.

Wells fans — both students and adults — were “running around with hands over their mouths,” making whooping sounds, and banging on drums and 5-gallon buckets with offensive chants, said Amelia Tuplin, whose 16-year-old son Lucas Francis, is Lisbon’s quarterback.

Some fans had faces painted with “war paint,” she said. At the end of the game, the Wells football team gathered and did what Tuplin termed “a mock dance, putting their helmets up and down, and doing a mock chant.”

Tuplin’s allegations come at a time when school districts across Maine have wrestled with keeping Native American mascots and school nicknames.

Wells High’s mascot name is Warriors. The press box at Memorial Field, where the football team plays its games, features a logo of a Native American wearing feathers.

“When I went down to Wells, I didn’t find the logo distasteful, it’s how they represented it,” Tuplin said. “They just made a mockery of my culture and my heritage.”

Tuplin, 35, and her husband are parents of five children ranging in age from 8 to 18.

“I have never seen anything like the magnitude of this and for it to be encouraged by the staff, the coaches, and the superintendent,” Tuplin said. “At what point, Mr. Superintendent, did you not think this was wrong? He is the highest educator and basically he is endorsing it.”

Tuplin sent a letter to Wells Superintendent James P. Daly on Monday, asking for a public apology.

Daly said he and his staff are actively investigating Tuplin’s allegations.

“Allegations were made toward the Wells community and fan base,” Daly said. “That’s a lot of people. It’s going to be a very thoughtful and prudent investigation. There’s no quick answer to this. We want to make sure we’re doing due diligence and taking time.”

Several Maine high schools have eliminated Native American nicknames, including Scarborough in 2001, Old Town (2006) Wiscasset (2011) and Sanford (2012). Husson University in Bangor changed its nickname from Braves to Eagles in 2004.

Wells and Nokomis of Newport are the two Maine high schools that use the nickname Warriors with Indian imagery.

Skowhegan High has come under fire for use of the nickname Indians. In 2015, its school board decided to keep the nickname after public forums with the four tribes of the Wabanaki confederation and residents who support and oppose changing the name.

Wells is known as a town that exuberantly supports its high school athletic teams, particularly its football program.

Daly said it is common for students to bang drums at football games.

“Banging on 5-gallon drums, yes,” he said. “Is it racial? I do not believe so, but we are in middle of investigating that.”

Friday’s game pitted two unbeaten teams. Wells beat Lisbon, 36-6.

“I think the banging on the drums and stuff just shows spirit we have for our school because we’re honoring them,” said Jade Petrie, a senior at Wells High.

“I just feel like it’s the culture of high school football and something that comes along with football,” said Delaney O’Brien, a Wells junior. “I don’t associate it with Native Americans.”

But even portrayals of Indians perceived as positive still have a negative impact, said Jordan LaBouff, an assistant professor of psychology and honors at the University of Maine.

LaBouff said several studies have shown that Native American students perform worse academically and imagine fewer future possibilities for themselves in schools that use Native American imagery.

“I don’t think anyone in that community is explicitly trying to harm but the fact is, they are, and the data demonstrates that,” LaBouff said.

Tuplin said she initially felt the fans’ behavior and mock chants were targeted specifically toward her son, the only Native American on the Lisbon team. She expressed those feelings on her Twitter account late Friday evening.

Over the weekend, Tuplin said she was told that what she witnessed Friday is typical at a Wells’ football game. She now believes her son was not specifically targeted for abuse “which made it worse, made it hurt more,” because it showed a disregard toward Native American culture.

“If you do this all the time, if that’s the response I’m going to get from somebody, then we have a bigger issue,” Tuplin said. “If you’re allowing this to happen and instilling these values, if this is how you’re teaching your students how Indians act and behave, (that is) instilling racism in your kids for a long time.”

Daly acknowledged that Wells’ use of the Warrior mascot will also be addressed.

“The first issue is there were allegations of inappropriate behavior and the second issue is the mascot and that is an issue that will be brought to the school committee and the community,” Daly said. “Those two issues are very different in the way we deal with them.”

Wells senior Megan Schneider thinks it is time for the Native American imagery to be removed from the Wells High logo.

“The name is OK, that we go by Warriors,” said Schneider, a three-sport athlete. “That’s like we’re hard fighters. But I think it’s not hard to just get rid of that mascot because that’s not needed. That is just exploitation. The mascot part is just unnecessary.

“We don’t have black people’s heads as a mascot. Should we have the Indian head as our mascot?”

Tuplin emphasized that Wells’ students aren’t to blame.

“I hold the superintendent accountable for all of this,” she said.

Daly said he wants have a dialog with Amelia Tuplin.

“I’ll definitely reach out,” he said. “I plan on emailing her and inviting her to have an open discussion about what happened, and how we can all move forward from this.”

Lisbon Superintendent Richard Green said he made sure Wells’ school officials were aware of Tuplin’s complaint.

“I don’t believe (Tuplin) is overreacting,” Green said. “She’s upset and she’s going through the process and making people aware and I think that’s what people do nowadays.”

Green noted that Sugg Middle School in Lisbon had an Indian mascot that was changed “16 or 17 years ago” to Huskies. Now, all Lisbon school teams are called Greyhounds. The Lisbon town seal bears the likeness of a Native American leader.

– Justin Pelletier of the Sun Journal and Bill Stewart of Central Maine Newspapers contributed to this story.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

Twitter: SteveCCraig

]]> 0 Francis, left, quarterback of Lisbon High School, and mother Amelia Tuplin are Micmac Indians. Tuplin says she is appalled at racially-charged behavior exhibited by Wells fans during a Class D South game last Friday night in Wells.Mon, 16 Oct 2017 21:30:41 +0000
Kaepernick files grievance accusing NFL teams of colluding against him Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:20:27 +0000 Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who remains unemployed after a 2016 season in which he began the movement of players protesting during the national anthem, has filed a grievance accusing NFL teams of colluding to keep him out of the league, his legal representatives said.

Kaepernick retained Los Angeles-based attorney Mark Geragos to pursue the collusion claim and, according to a person with knowledge of the filing, it will be Kaepernick’s outside legal representation and not the NFL Players Association primarily in charge of preparing and presenting his case.

Geragos’ firm confirmed the grievance, saying it filed “only after pursuing every possible avenue with all NFL teams and their executives.”

In a statement, the law firm’ also said: “If the NFL . . . is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protest – which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago – should not be punished and athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the Executive Branch of our government. . . . Protecting all athletes from such collusive conduct is what compelled Mr. Kaepernick to file his grievance.”

The collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players’ union prohibits teams from conspiring to make decisions about signing a player. But the CBA also says the mere fact that a player is unsigned and evidence about the player’s qualifications to be on an NFL roster do not constitute proof of collusion.

For that reason, such cases are difficult to prove, according to legal experts.

“There has to be some evidence of an agreement between multiple teams not to sign a player,” said Gabriel Feldman, the director of the sports law program at Tulane University. “Disagreement over personnel decisions, as obvious as it may seem to someone looking at this, does not provide evidence of collusion. There has to be some evidence of an explicit or implied agreement. There has to be proof of a conspiracy.”

Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers following last season, making him a free agent eligible to sign with any team. The 49ers have said they would have released Kaepernick rather than retaining him under the terms of that deal. He has remained out of work, being passed over by other teams in favor of other quarterbacks. The Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens considered signing Kaepernick but decided against doing so.

More recently, the Tennessee Titans signed Brandon Weeden to provide depth behind backup Matt Cassel when their starting quarterback, Marcus Mariota, was hurt. That signing seemed particularly inflammatory to Kaepernick supporters who cited Kaepernick’s superior career accomplishments. Kaepernick has led the 49ers to a Super Bowl and two NFC championship games and he threw 16 touchdown passes with four interceptions for them last season.

The NFLPA issued a written statement late Sunday saying it learned of Kaepernick’s grievance through media reports and that it had learned the league previously was informed of Kaepernick’s intention to file the grievance.

“Our union has a duty to assist Mr. Kaepernick as we do all players and we will support him,” the NFLPA’s written statement said, adding that it had been in regular contact with Kaepernick’s representatives over the past year about his options and planned to schedule a call for this week with his advisers.

Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem before games last season to protest, he said, racial inequality and police mistreatment of African Americans in the United States. Those protests were taken up by other players and the controversy over them has been amplified this season even with Kaepernick out of the league.

President Donald Trump called on NFL owners to “fire” players who protested during the anthem, referring to such a player as a “son of a b—-.” Vice President Mike Pence walked out of a game last week between the 49ers and Colts in Indianapolis, citing players’ protests. Trump indicated that he had orchestrated that plan.

Under pressure from the White House, NFL owners are scheduled to meet Tuesday and Wednesday in New York and might seek the NFLPA’s support of a measure for players to stand for the anthem, according to multiple people familiar with the sport’s inner workings, while also pledging league support for players’ community activism efforts.

Some media members have contended since the offseason that Kaepernick was being blackballed by NFL teams based on his political stance. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and owners were asked about that contention on a number of occasions and denied that teams were acting in concert on Kaepernick because of his protests.

“Each team makes individual decisions on how they can improve their team,” Goodell at conclusion of NFL owners’ meeting in May in Chicago. “If they see an opportunity to improve their team, they do it. They evaluate players. They evaluate systems and coaches. They all make those individual decisions to try and improve their team.”

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told reporters in July, according to the Palm Beach Post: “I would sure hope not. I know a lot’s been written about it, but you know owners and coaches – they’ll do anything it takes to win. If they think he can help them win, I’m sure – I would hope they would sign him.”

The plan for Kaepernick to pursue a grievance under the CBA was first reported by Bleacher Report.

“It may seem obvious to Colin Kaepernick,” Feldman said in a phone interview Sunday. “It may seem obvious to someone on the outside looking at this. But collusion requires an agreement [between teams]. Individual team decisions are not challengeable under the anti-collusion provision. An arbitrator is not going to second-guess an individual team’s personnel decision.”

If such evidence of collusion by NFL teams against Kaepernick exists, it has yet to revealed.

“We don’t know,” Feldman said. “Obviously everybody is talking about the baseball collusion cases from the 1980s, where there was a smoking gun. There were notes. There was strong evidence. There may be evidence here of collusion. We just don’t know.”

The NFL declined to comment Sunday through a spokesman.

“No Club, its employees or agents shall enter into any agreement, express or implied, with the NFL or any other Club, its employees or agents to restrict or limit individual Club decision-making,” the CBA says, adding that applies to “whether to negotiate or not to negotiate with any player” and “whether to offer or not to offer a Player Contract to any player,” among other things.

The CBA also says: “The failure by a Club or Clubs to negotiate, to submit Offer Sheets, or to sign contracts with Restricted Free Agents or Transition Players, or to negotiate, make offers, or sign contracts for the playing services of such players or Unrestricted Free Agents, shall not, by itself or in combination only with evidence about the playing skills of the player(s) not receiving any such offer or contract, satisfy the burden of proof set forth . . . above.”

]]> 0 Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL game against Dallas in 2016. Kaepernick has filed a grievance with the league accusing teams of colluding to not hire him.Mon, 16 Oct 2017 21:57:11 +0000
Brady sets record as Pats hold off Jets Sun, 15 Oct 2017 21:52:25 +0000 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Tom Brady set the NFL record for regular-season victories by a quarterback, getting his 187th as the New England Patriots held on for a 24-17 win over the New York Jets on Sunday to claim first place in the AFC East.

The Patriots (4-2) were playing their first game in 10 days after beating Tampa Bay 19-14 on Oct. 5, and appeared a bit rusty early as they fell behind 14-0 in the second quarter against the surprising Jets (3-3).

New York had a chance to tie the game after getting the ball back with 1:53 remaining, but the Patriots’ 32nd-ranked overall defense held on – forcing Josh McCown to throw incomplete on a desperation heave on fourth-and-17 from the 50, and ending the Jets’ three-game winning streak.

Brady, who broke a tie with Peyton Manning and Brett Favre for the record, got going just before halftime as the Patriots tied it at 14 with 9 seconds left in the second quarter.

Brady then marched the Patriots down the field on their opening drive of the second half, going eight plays and 75 yards to give New England its first lead at 21-14 with a 33-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski.

Brady finished 20 of 38 for 257 yards with two touchdowns to Gronkowski and an interception. Dion Lewis also had a 1-yard TD run.

After Stephen Gostkowski’s 28-yard field goal made it 24-14 50 seconds into the fourth quarter, New York appeared to make it a one-score game again on its next possession as Austin Seferian-Jenkins took a short pass from McCown and reached over the goal line for a 4-yard touchdown.

But officials reviewed the score and said the video replay showed that Seferian-Jenkins slightly lost control of the ball as he went out of bounds on the side of the end zone, resulting in a touchback – despite the ball never hitting the ground. That gave the Patriots back the ball, with the Jets’ sideline irate.

But after the Patriots went three-and-out, the Jets were able to cut it to a one-score game on Chandler Catanzaro’s 28-yard field goal with 3:40 left. But their last-minute comeback attempt fell short.

The Jets talked all week about starting faster and McCown got things going right away in this one, capping a 13-play, 88-yard opening drive with a 1-yard TD pass to Seferian-Jenkins.

New York converted three third-down situations on the drive: a 23-yard pass to Robby Anderson, a 16-yard run by McCown and an impressive 30-yard grab by Jeremy Kerley, who went up for the ball and fought off a defender to come down with it at the Patriots 1.

The Patriots’ second possession ended on a fumble by Mike Gillislee, who had the ball punched out from behind by Darron Lee. Buster Skrine recovered, giving the Jets the ball at their 22.

New York turned that into another score. McCown connected with Jermaine Kearse for 16 yards on third-and-5 from the 47 and then floated a pass over the outstretched arms of Malcolm Butler and right to Kerley, who leaped over the cornerback to snatch the ball and then skipped into the end zone untouched to make it 14-0.

It marked the first time New England trailed by 14 or more points in the first half since Week 4 of the 2014 season at Kansas City. According to the Jets, the last time they led the Patriots in the second quarter by 14 or more at home was the last regular-season game of the 1998 season, when New York was up 17-0.

Brady then led the Patriots on a 93-yard drive that was capped by Lewis’ 1-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 14-7 with 5:19 left in the first half. Skrine nearly picked off Brady early in the drive, dropping a pass intended for Gronkowski. A few plays later, rookie safety Jamal Adams was called for pass interference on Gronkowski, putting the ball at the Jets 1.

Gostkowski was later wide right on a 47-yard attempt – his first miss after making 12 straight.

McCown finished 31 of 47 for 354 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Seferian-Jenkins had a career-high eight catches for 46 yards.

ROAD WARRIORS: The Patriots have won six of the last seven meetings with the Jets and 11 of the last 13. They have also won 11 straight road games, the second-best streak in team history since they won 12 in a row from 2006-08.

INJURED: Jets leading rusher Bilal Powell was out after missing practice all week with a strained calf. Matt Forte, however, returned and finished with 22 yards on nine carries and eight catches for 59 yards.

Patriots cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (concussion) and Eric Rowe (groin) sat out, as did rookie linebacker Harvey Langi, who was hospitalized following a car accident in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Friday night.

]]> 0 England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) runs away from New York Jets defensive back Marcus Maye (26) and Morris Claiborne for a touchdown during the second half Sunday.Mon, 16 Oct 2017 10:19:08 +0000
As mountain bike trails in Greater Portland grow, favorites abound Sun, 15 Oct 2017 08:00:00 +0000 GORHAM — If you asked a mountain biker from Portland where they rode about 20 years ago, there weren’t many options.

They might say they can’t tell you – because it was illegal – or say around the city, over in Cape Elizabeth or maybe down at Mount Agamenticus in York.

It’s a very different story if you ask a Portland-area rider today with trail networks in some 14 surrounding towns, all approved by landowners.

How times have changed.

We asked a dozen riders from Greater Portland to name their five favorite trails. And many lists included the same favorites.

These trails run across town land, private land and land trusts – and some even smack in the middle of Portland’s Old Port. The sport’s momentum has resulted in some incredible stories – the chiropractor turned land steward, or the bike shop owner turned trail builder, or the graphic artist who became a bike-map guru.

But everyone who responded here agreed on one point.

“It’s going to continue to grow. So many people who live around here are behind this,” said Rob Lavoie, a Gorham chiropractor who orchestrated a 15-mile mountain bike trail network.

Gorham trails, Gorham

Four years ago Rob Lavoie just wanted some trails closer to his young family. So he approached businesses and private landowners in Gorham. Before too long he had cobbled together 15 miles of trails, all of it winding and rolling in the woods.

Lavoie said the community support has been remarkable.

“One guy in this neighborhood cuts the brush at the trailhead,” Lavoie said.

As a result of his trail project, Lavoie has become president of the Portland chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association and chair of the Gorham Conservation Commission. He said it helps to wear many hats.

“The trails are definitely family-friendly. It can be your first time on a mountain bike and you can ride here. You can be an experienced mountain biker and because (it flows and is) fast, it’s fun,” Lavoie said.

He plans to build three more miles of trails this weekend with volunteers. And he’s not done.

How much more can his trail network grow?

“Infinity and beyond,” he said.

Blackstrap, Falmouth

Chris Carleton grew up in the Oxford Hills region and started racing mountain bikes downhill as soon as he could. He was part of a racing team that toured the country for years, but when he stopped racing he didn’t stop riding. So he bought a bike shop in 2009.

As co-owner of Allspeed Cyclery & Snow in Portland, Carleton found himself welcomed by the town of Falmouth to maintain the trails at Blackstrap Preserve. With the incredible climb up the 500-foot height of land here, Carleton was happy to have at it.

Blackstrap has winding trails through the woods, serious technical single-track, a meandering trail along the river, and even a path of wooden planks under Interstate 95 to remind you this is an urban area.

Carleton has seen license plates in the parking lot from other states, even Canada.

“What makes Blackstrap unique is it’s one of the few places in the area that has elevation that allows for some longer climbs and descents, which make the trails both challenging and fun,” Carleton said.

Deanna Backman, an avid rider and event coordinator at Gear Works Productions, was one of many who gave Blackstrap her top vote. “Falmouth trails allow some actual climbing, which is not found in Greater Portland. And obvious great downhills,” she said.

Cape Elizabeth/South Portland

The Cape Elizabeth Land Trust Trails used to be one of the few places to ride in the Portland area. They are still a big favorite.

Emily Helliesen, a longtime rider and board member at the Portland chapter of New England Mountain Bike Association, puts Cape Trails at the top because, she said, “the variations are endless.”

“(The land trust) and the Cape Conservation Committee work hard to create new loops and are constantly improving the trails,” she said. “You can ride up to 25 miles mostly on single track, which is quite impressive for a mostly urban area so close to Portland.”

Amanda Devine, a land steward for Maine Coast Heritage Trust, said Cape Elizabeth offers roughly 14 miles that lets you put in miles without doing the same trail twice. The loop through Winnick and Robinson Woods, and behind the school “showcases fast and flowy dirt, scenic double-track. It’s a great sampler,” Devine said.

Smith Preserve, Kennebunkport

Graphic artist Wendy Clark decided in April to map major trails and sanctioned trails in Greater Portland to help new riders and to get more casual riders riding more. She is currently gaining sponsorship for the project and plans to have the maps distributed for free around Portland next spring.

Her 12 maps of different areas span from Bath to Kennebunkport. The Edwin L. Smith Preserve in Kennebunkport is one of her favorites. And she’s not alone.

Located halfway between Routes 1 and 9, this vast 1,100-acre woodland is quiet, and busting with wildlife like bobcat, deer and coyotes. It’s lined with brooks and boulders.

“Mountain bike trails should not be a secret,” said Clark, 49, a rider for 22 years. “Everyone should know where they can ride if they want to go.”

Portland Urban Trails

Kyle Warren is a trail steward for the Royal River Conservation Trust but the trails close to his family in Portland are his happy place.

“Fore River Sanctuary and Jewell Falls are my backyard. Imagine how pleased I was to figure that out two days after moving to Portland 10 years ago,” Warren said.

Others agree.

“They’re really convenient, and you can make a nice loop using downtown, Casco Woods and Baxter Woods,” said longtime rider Ted Kerkam.

Lavoie spent his bachelor party on these trails.

“It is a unique urban ride. I did it with my groomsmen the day before I got married. They loved it,” he said.

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or at:

Twitter: FlemingPph

]]> 0 Clark of Freeport rides to the summit of Blackstrap Hill in Falmouth. Staff photo by Derek DavisSat, 14 Oct 2017 21:33:35 +0000
Hunting: Two shooters on target and only one deer? Now what? Sun, 15 Oct 2017 08:00:00 +0000 I was sitting comfortably in my climbing stand one Saturday morning, not expecting anything particularly unusual when I heard the commotion of rapidly approaching footfalls.

A quick scan showed the source as a deer, a buck … and a nice one at that. I wasted little time finding the deer in my scope and touching off a shot before it disappeared at an even faster pace.

Then another shot rang out. The excitement I’d felt was suddenly replaced with a feeling of panic, and an already uncertain outcome had suddenly become a great deal more tenuous. It had never happened to me before, but I was about to come face to face with an almost-certainly contentious situation.

It’s not as uncommon as you might think, and it can become a very serious matter when two hunters shoot the same deer. I’ve heard stories of life-long friendships ending, hunters coming to blows and even threatening the life of another hunter over a twice-shot deer. Every situation is different, but there are a few guidelines for dealing with such a situation.

First and foremost, let cooler heads prevail and remember it’s just a deer. If it’s you that surrenders possession, you’ll still wake up tomorrow morning and go about your business just as you have every other day of your life.

Consider the circumstances. If both hunters involved are reasonable, you could go over the scenario and try to determine who administered the first lethal shot. You might decide the deer could have gotten away had the other hunter not finished it. Or you may determine all you did was shorten what would have been an otherwise long tracking job for the other hunter.

You could let the other hunter tag the deer and even offer to help them drag it out in exchange for a few steaks. In the process you make a friend and you get to keep hunting.

Look at the big picture. It could be a youngster’s first deer. Will the encounter be something they look back on fondly, or will it leave a lasting negative impression of deer hunting on them? Perhaps it’s an elderly hunter, one who may not experience too many more, if any, successful deer seasons. Maybe it’s someone you know really depends on the meat to defray expenses.

Or it may be a legitimate trophy. That’s when things can really get tense. Some people will go to great lengths to fell the mighty stag, and being in a situation where they might finally be able to take possession of one could turn an otherwise rational person into something less reasonable.

I know because the buck I shot was indeed a trophy, the biggest I’d ever shot at, or even seen up to that point. After descending, I was able to jog along the liberal blood trail to the fallen buck, where sat the other hunter.

Fortunately it was my friend and hunting partner.

He’d shot the deer in the neck, dropping it on the spot, and hadn’t even realized I also shot it until I showed him the wound, and then the blood trail. I broke the awkward silence by venturing, “Well, what do we do now?” Without hesitation Jim said, “Open him up and see what your bullet did. If it was a lethal shot then it’s your deer.” It was with truly mixed emotions that I reached inside the body cavity and removed the buck’s fatally damaged heart and lungs.

Ethically, it was the right call. I knew it. Jim knew it. But according to the strict letter of the law, it was not. Every game warden I’ve posed the question to has said something to the effect that the deer goes to the person that finally reduces it to possession, or “deprives it of its natural liberty so it is brought within the power and control of the pursuer.”

That’s good to know should you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

Bob Humphrey is a freelance writer and registered Maine guide who lives in Pownal. He can be reached at:

]]> 0 Fri, 13 Oct 2017 18:45:08 +0000
Scoreboard-watching can be painful at high school football games Sun, 15 Oct 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Weekend after weekend, Maine’s high school football schedule offers the same alarming results: the majority of the games are one-sided.

“Oh God, it’s brutal,” said Randy Ouellette, 37, of Lebanon. “Football is a passion of mine and it just seems the wheels have been flattened.”

The quarterback for Noble High’s 1997 state championship team, Ouellette has seen his share of blowout losses while watching his son Blake, a sophomore two-way starter. Noble has lost games this year by scores of 61-7 and 32-0.

But competitive disparity is not just a problem for a handful of schools. Nor is it a new phenomenon.

Since 2012, more than 60 percent of games have been decided by a margin of at least 20 points. Nearly 30 percent have reached the 35-point threshold, which prompts “running time” in the second half of games to speed up mismatches.

On Friday, five of the 27 varsity games on the schedule were decided by less than a touchdown – on a night featuring scores such as 41-3, 48-6, 49-0, 51-0 and 56-6.

“As a coach you know when you’re taking a beating but it’s shocking when you hear those numbers,” Yarmouth Coach Jason Veilleux said.

The Maine Principals’ Association, which oversees high school sports in the state, has taken significant steps over the past five years to address the issue. But so far there has been little effect.

“I don’t see the big-score games leaving anytime soon,” said Gene Keene, a longtime athletic administrator and coach in his second year as head football coach at Poland Regional. “As hard as the coaches and the athletic directors work at it, it’s a tough, tough situation.”


In 2013, after four years of discussions with school officials, the MPA expanded football from three enrollment classes to four. The move was made to develop greater competitive balance with the hope that smaller programs, encouraged by more positive results, could attract more students to play.

Instead, 35-point margins became more frequent, going from 25 percent of games in 2012 to 30 percent the next two seasons. Five schools halted their varsity programs between 2012 and 2016.

In 2015, the MPA instituted a rule requiring the game clock to keep ticking in the second half of runaway games. But the blowouts kept coming. Last year was worse than ever: One-third of all games were decided by at least 35 points.

This fall, the MPA has added a fifth class – the developmental Class E – that allows programs struggling to maintain adequate roster sizes to compete largely against each other. The six members of Class E include four of the five schools that had dropped their varsity programs in recent years.

The move has helped some of those schools find a competitive footing. Nine of the 14 games pitting Class E teams have been decided by less than 20 points, through Friday. But Class E member Traip Academy of Kittery suspended its varsity schedule after the third week of the season because it lacked enough players.

Also this fall, crossover games have been added in classes B, C and D with the expressed intent of creating more evenly matched contests.

The frequency of lopsided games decreased slightly through the first six weeks of the 2017 season compared with the five-year average from 2012-2016.

A Deering player grabs his helmet after Bonny Eagle scored a touchdown Friday. “Even though we have the most high schools playing football in Maine that we’ve ever had, not all are very well-populated,” said Mike Haley of the Maine Football Coaches Association. Staff photos by Brianna Soukup

Still, fewer than a quarter of the games were decided by less than 10 points and 28 percent have hit the running-time threshold.

“I’m not sure what can be done at this point,” said Gordie Salls, the athletic director at Sanford High. “The MPA, the coaches and the leagues are all on board with trying to eliminate some of this.”


For roughly 20 years, from the first Class A playoff in 1967 until the mid-1980s, the number of schools playing football in Maine hovered around 60. Over the next decade, a handful of schools dropped the sport.

By the late 1990s, the trend reversed. Traditional soccer towns in Greater Portland started high school football programs and new consolidated schools across the state also joined the ranks. Bonny Eagle, now a Class A power, got a jump on the competition, beginning varsity play in 1994 and moving to Class A in 1996. Scarborough, Windham and Mt. Ararat soon followed, with Falmouth, Greely, Cape Elizabeth and Maranacook beginning varsity play in 2003.

By 2011, the number of teams in Maine had reached the high 70s, as several smaller schools also started programs, including Yarmouth in 2007; Freeport, Camden Hills and Sacopee Valley in 2009; and Hermon, Washington Academy and Telstar in 2011.

But within five years, Camden Hills, Sacopee Valley and Telstar (along with longtime football program Boothbay Region) had shelved their varsity programs.

“Even though we have the most high schools playing football in Maine that we’ve ever had, not all are very well-populated,” said Mike Haley, executive secretary of the Maine Football Coaches Association. “That’s one reason we’re having some of the lopsided scores we’re having. They’re trying to establish a program.”

While the number of football programs grew, enrollment at Maine high schools declined sharply, particularly north of Portland. Statewide high school enrollment has decreased by nearly 11,000 students – or 16.2 percent – since the 2006-07 school year.

In 1999, 3,624 students from 65 schools played football. Last season 3,631 football players represented 82 schools, including those involved in co-op programs.

“When you look at the number of kids in programs, across the state, those have been diminishing,” Salls said. “When the numbers are diminishing, and you’re struggling, and not winning, it’s hard to attract kids.”

Roster size – or more accurately “roster depth,” as Fryeburg Coach David Turner put it – is the surest way of judging a mismatch. An undermanned team may compete well for a quarter or two but more times than not it becomes a tired, defeated outfit.

“Then all of a sudden the other team hits a big play and one score turns into two scores and then it comes down to, ‘OK, here we go,’ ” Turner said.


With the exception of football’s Class E, teams in Maine high school sports compete in divisions that are grouped by student enrollment. Every two years, the MPA reclassifies schools based on latest enrollment figures.

Reclassification, while intended to help level the field, can put some football teams at a competitive disadvantage. This year four former Class B teams moved into Class C and five former Class C teams moved into D. The shifts have proven beneficial for teams that moved down, but not for holdovers like Yarmouth. The Clippers, regional Class C champs in 2015, won their first game Friday night after a starting the season with six losses. Yarmouth has lost games this fall by scores of 44-0 and 53-7.

“Last year we struggled, and then the conferences changed and boy did that make a difference for us,” Veilleux said. “The three teams we beat last year are now in Class D. As a Class C team stuck in the middle, we knew it would be a challenge for us.”

Rather than grouping teams strictly by enrollment, another option would be to look at factors such as past success, roster size, and the ability to field sub-varsity teams.

“In order to make things as competitive as possible, there has to be other factors than simply (enrollment),” said Fryeburg’s Turner. “Looking at records over the past ‘X’ number of years, that should play into it.”

But even that alternative could be problematic.

“Outside of enrollment, which is a very clear number, everything else is very subjective and there hasn’t been any agreement on what to use as other factors,” said Mike Burnham, assistant executive director of the MPA. “It’s just very difficult because you’re basing it on athletes that may have left your program.”

Burnham pointed to Brunswick as an example of how past success does not always accurately predict the future. The Dragons played in three straight Class B championship games from 2014-16 and won the state title last fall. This season they started 0-6 before earning their first win Friday night.

Coaching is another factor in the disparity between haves and have-nots. Perennial powers have long-tenured head coaches, usually supported by experienced assistant coaches. Teams that struggle annually tend to replace coaches often.

“There aren’t enough good coaches and there aren’t enough guys who come into the coaching ranks with the background that is needed to coach,” said Haley of the coaches’ association. “That doesn’t mean they can’t learn it and that they don’t learn it, but initially it’s a lot tougher for those guys.”

Yarmouth senior captain Hunter Harrington, a defensive tackle and offensive guard, said players are keenly aware of competitive disparity in Maine football.

“We’ve been talking about it the last four years. Everyone talks about this,” he said. “I don’t think (a team’s strength) is based off school population. I don’t have the right way of fixing everything. I don’t have a solution. But I know that if you’re basing it solely off (enrollment) and that’s how you’re pairing teams against each other, it doesn’t always work out.

“Here at Yarmouth, we have a great football program, we have amazing coaches, but we don’t have the personnel in that way because our school is more focused toward soccer. You go against a team like Wells, which is Class D right now, and they have 60-plus kids on their roster. Same with Winslow, where our coach came from. Their school is focused on football.”

Teams can petition to move down to a smaller enrollment class, but are then ineligible for playoffs.

“So no one wants to go down and be ineligible for playoffs,” said Yarmouth’s Veilleux. “I’m hoping down the road that (rule) would change if you had something like two-thirds agreement from the coaches in a league.”

Ultimately, any change still depends on the players, coaches and administrators of struggling programs working hard to improve. But that task gets harder when lopsided losses keep mounting.

“I always say to my son, if you guys stick together you’ll definitely get better,” said Ouellette, “but unfortunately they’re probably going to lose some kids because of the losing record and getting beat up all the time.”

Steve Craig can be contacted at 791-6413 or at:

Twitter: SteveCCraig

]]> 0 Bonny Eagle Scots, left, beat the Deering High School Rams on Friday, 51-0. The Maine Principals' Association has tried to make high school football more competitive, with little success.Mon, 16 Oct 2017 16:36:24 +0000
Birding: Innate traits help some birds with orientation Sun, 15 Oct 2017 08:00:00 +0000 The fall migration is on the decline now, with most of our flycatchers, swallows and warblers gone for the next seven months. All of these birds depend on insects for their sustenance, a resource in short supply now.

Sparrows and other seed-eaters have a more leisurely migration. They can find seeds, at least until the first snows arrive. Even so, by the end of the month most of our sparrows will be gone to more moderate southern areas.

As I discussed in the last column, we know that the majority of migratory bird species have an innate knowledge of where they should go to spend the winter. It boggles the mind to realize that many first-year birds find their way – unaided by adults – to a wintering habitat they have never seen. Travel instructions are encoded in their genes.

In considering how migratory birds find their way, we need to recognize two different abilities of birds. First, the birds have a well-developed sense of navigation. In other words, they can set a course and follow it, barring intervention from hurricanes or other weather phenomena.

Second, some birds have well-developed abilities of orientation. Most migratory birds can navigate well but fewer can orient.

A famous experiment done with European starlings in Eastern Europe nicely distinguishes navigation and orientation. Some starlings were captured and placed in a cage in the spring. This particular population of starlings is migratory. In the spring, the caged birds attempted to depart on a northwesterly vector to reach their breeding grounds.

Other birds were transported several hundred miles to the west. Again, the direction that the captive birds chose was recorded. The transplanted birds again tried to migrate to the northwest. They were unable to correct for the fact that they had been moved westward. The starlings showed a good sense of navigation but a poor sense of orientation.

Contrast that result with the abilities of white-crowned sparrows. A wintering population of birds in southern California migrates each spring to Alaskan breeding grounds. Wintering birds that were flown either to New Orleans or Maryland ultimately found their way to their Alaskan breeding grounds. These birds were able to compensate for their eastward displacement by biologists. These birds are great at both navigation and orientation.

The abilities to orient and navigate are not restricted to migratory birds. During the nesting season, birds need to be able to find their way to their nests. The need is particularly acute for birds like bald eagles that maintain huge territories, or ospreys or albatrosses that may fish miles away from their nests.

Domestic pigeons have been the subjects of the most illuminating studies on navigation and orientation. Pigeons can return to their roosts from distances as far as 1,100 miles.

They use multiple cues for navigation. An internal clock allows them to determine direction from the position of the sun in the sky. This so-called sun compass is the most important cue. They also can sense the earth’s magnetic field. On cloudy days, magnetic cues become important. We even have evidence that pigeons can smell their home over the last few yards.

Pigeons are able to fly steadily at 50 miles per hour. It’s not surprising that competitive homing pigeons beat their owners home from a release point.

Pigeons can be used for nefarious purposes as well. Recently, a pigeon whose roost is in an Argentinian prison was caught smuggling 8 grams of marijuana and a memory stick.

Herb Wilson teaches ornithology and other biology courses at Colby College. He welcomes reader comments and questions at

]]> 0 Fri, 13 Oct 2017 19:22:17 +0000
Canoeing in Maine: It’s a two-for-one deal on North Pond in Woodstock Sun, 15 Oct 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Forty-eight years after the fact, we finally got to Woodstock – Woodstock, Maine, that is. We were going for the classic “two for the price of one” with October’s canoe outing: a great hike coupled with a circumnavigation of North Pond in the tiny town east of Bethel and less than an hour from Lewiston.

Think how many times you have driven on Route 26 up to Bethel and seen this pond on the right just before the Mount Abram ski area. The imposing vertical gray face of Buck’s Ledge peers down over the water just to the east of the pond. Every time by, we have vowed to explore the pond in our canoe.

The years have flown by, but we finally did last week.

We hiked up to Buck’s Ledge on the western flank of Moody Mountain before exploring the pond. The parking area is off Route 26 about 11/2 miles west of the sharp turn in Bryant Pond. Follow the gravel road and trail for 11/2 miles to the vast open cliffs overlooking North Pond. The fall colors were at peak and dazzling. Three miles to the southwest sat Mount Abram in wait for early snows. A line of granite ringed islands and islets bisected the pond below our feet. We couldn’t wait to scramble down the mountain and get in our canoe.

The shoreline has many small cottages interspersed with tall white pines, but it’s pretty quiet this time of year. The hills, ridges and mountains that surround the pond were all ablaze in a broad spectrum of brilliant yellows, reds and greens. All the while Buck’s Ledge eyed our progress around the shoreline.

On the northwestern side of the pond, two green hillside pastures slope up from Gore Road. We got out and walked along the road enjoying the classic Maine pastoral setting. A red barn with a nearby red Quonset hut-style storage building and white farmhouse provided the perfect hub for views in all directions. As we peered back out over the pond we caught the flash of a white tail and saw a bald eagle gliding down along the western shoreline.

Back in the canoe we compensated for a sudden increase in the south wind by hugging the convoluted shoreline for protection. To our east Buck’s Ledge morphed into a smaller version of Mount Kineo on Moosehead Lake as seen from Rockwood. The shape and southern orientation was classic glaciation at work at a time when the vast moving sheet of ice sculpted whalebacks all over the New England landscape.

The wind abated and we turned to our left to explore the granite archipelago of islands and ledges. The westernmost granite islet is a perfect spot to land and soak up the afternoon sun and enjoy the colorful views. Two large glacial erratic boulders are perched delicately on the parabolic slope. We took picture after picture from the ledge and then thigh deep in the water capturing artistic angles, shadows and lines. Each “last picture” was suddenly followed by ten more. A pair of loons casually drifted by surely critiquing our artistic endeavors.

We explored along the line of small islands, getting out many times for more photos of the curvature of rocks against the backdrop of Buck’s Ledge framed by small maples aglow in red and thin birches radiant in yellow.

Even though we had spent three hours exploring we had only paddled five miles, including a short foray under Johnny’s Bridge at the southwestern end of North Pond, then under Route 26, and under a railroad bridge into Round Pond before heading back.

Consult the DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (map No. 10) for help in getting to North Pond. We put in at the tiny boat launch ramp located next to the Woodstock-Greenwood town line sign on Route 26, proudly proclaiming Greenwood as the birthplace of L.L. Bean.

There is room for a couple of vehicles, or you can find a spot on the grass across the road. Another option is to put in at the state picnic area a mile to the west.

As is our custom on these outings we took some time to do a little exploring by car before we got to Woodstock. It is a quick jaunt off Route 26 just north of South Paris for a drive up though the historic village of Paris Hill. The wide town green leads over to a large white mansion looking west to the White Mountains. This was the boyhood home of Hannibal Hamlin, vice president under Abraham Lincoln during Lincoln’s first term.

Michael Perry is the former director of the L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools and founder of Dreams Unlimited, specializing in inspiring outdoor slide programs for civic groups, businesses, and schools.


]]> 0 Fri, 13 Oct 2017 19:24:40 +0000
UMaine roars back to rout Rhode Island, 51-27 Sun, 15 Oct 2017 00:13:47 +0000 ORONO — Chris Ferguson threw for five touchdowns and Josh Mack rushed over 200 yards as the University of Maine defeated Rhode Island 51-27 Saturday afternoon at Alfond Stadium.

Maine scored 41 consecutive points in a span that started in the second quarter and extended into the fourth. Micah Wright also had a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown in that stretch, as the Black Bears rallied from a 21-10 deficit to lead 51-21 into the fourth.

The victory snapped a two-game losing skid for Maine, which is now 2-3 overall, 1-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association. Rhode Island, which has lost 11 consecutive games to the Black Bears, dropped to 1-5 overall. 0-3 in the CAA.

Ferguson, who had thrown six interceptions and no touchdown passes in the last two games, was 18 of 28 for 214 yards. Mack rushed for 248 yards on 30 carries. Jaleel Reed caught five passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns.

Maine broke it open in the third quarter, with four touchdowns to expand a 23-21 halftime lead to 51-21 entering the fourth.

Josh Mack opened it with a 16-yard run, then Ferguson threw touchdown passes to Reed (8 yards), Earnest Edwards (19) and to Reed again (42, on a flea-flicker with Joe Fitzpatrick funneling the ball back to Ferguson).

Micah Wright gave Maine its 23-21 halftime lead with a stunning 77-yard punt return for a touchdown. With Maine down 21-17, he caught Satchel Denton’s punt at the Maine 23, sidestepped two Rhode Island tacklers and burst up the middle. Denton was the last one with a chance at him, but Wright ran past him at the Rams’ 30 and raced into the end zone for his second career punt return touchdown. Brandon Briggs missed the PAT but Maine led, 23-21.

It was an offensive first half, with Rhode Island gaining 263 yards and Maine 189.

Chris Ferguson was 12 of 18 in the first half with two touchdowns, to Reed for 54 yards and Jared Osumah for 5. Briggs also kicked a 21-yard field goal.

Rhode Island got a 16-yard touchdown run from T.J. Anderson on its opening drive. Tyler Harris threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Marven Beauvais and JaJuan Lawson threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Parker, who caught a touchdown pass in his eighth consecutive game.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

This story will be updated

]]> 0 of Maine receiver Earnest Edwards, right, and teammate Jared Osumah get hooked by Rhode Island defender Manny Patterson during the first quarter Saturday at Orono.Sat, 14 Oct 2017 20:13:47 +0000
Local roundup: Winslow football dispatches Oceanside Sat, 14 Oct 2017 22:56:09 +0000 WINSLOW — Ryan Fredette ran for 169 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries as the Winslow football team defeated Oceanside 35-21 in a Class C North game Saturday. Fredette’s final touchdown came in the fourth quarter and gave the Black Raiders the 14-point cushion. Ryan Gagnon and Ben Dorval also scored for Winslow. Dorval gained 48 yards on eight carries.

Winslow had trouble stopping Oceanside’s double wing rushing attack, coach Mike Siviski said. Michael Norton, Ben Ripley and Titus Kaewthong each scored for the Mariners (4-3).

“They moved the ball very well,” Siviski said. “We didn’t really stop them.”

NOKOMIS 43, BELFAST 33: The Warriors continued the best season in team history with the Class C North win over the Lions in Newport.

Nokomis (6-1) led 43-9 in the third quarter when it went to its bench.

“We didn’t play great. We can play better,” Nokomis coach Jake Rogers said.

John Haliburton returned an interception for a touchdown in the second quarter for Nokomis, and also added a punt return for a score. Colby Pinette caught a touchdown pass from Andrew Haining for the Warriors. Carter Shaw kicked a 30-yard field goal.

Belfast dropped to 0-7.


VINALHAVEN 1, VALLEY 0: Deja Doughty scored an unassisted goal to lift the Vikings to the Class D win in Bingham. Gilley Davis-Oakes made four saves for Vinalhaven (7-5-2). Kendra Sweet, Lexi Davis and Jada Ward combined to make 18 saves for the Cavaliers (0-13-0).

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Maranacook girls win KVAC B cross country title Sat, 14 Oct 2017 22:14:35 +0000 AUGUSTA — On a day when unseasonably warm temperatures affected many runners at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference cross country championships, the Maranacook girls remained cool and calm.

The Black Bears breezed to the KVAC Class B title, placing five runners among the top 10 finishers. The hilly course at Cony High School produced slower then usual times as temperatures soared to the mid-70s under sunny skies.

“We came in hoping to come in first place,” Maranacook coach Roselea Kimball said. “They’ve been working hard, they were ready for it.”

Winslow freshman Olivia Tiner won the Class B race in a time of 20:41. She was followed by a trio of Black Bears, led by sophomore Molly McGrail, who finished in 20:56. Laura Parent and Sophie O’Clair followed in third and fourth, respectively, while Lillie Mitchell placed seventh and Madelyn Dwyer 10th.

Maranacook, which dropped to Class C this season, will compete in the South regionals next week at Twin Brooks in Cumberland, also the site of this year’s state championships.

The Maranacook boys, led by junior Luke Bartol in sixth, placed second in the B boys race behind Lincoln, which posted a score of 21 points. Lincoln’s Sam Russ was the individual winner, beating Waterville junior Nick Dall by eight seconds.

Hampden won the Class A boys race followed by Bangor and Mt. Ararat. Sophomore Lisandro Berry-Gaviria placed first with a time of 17:05.1. Camden Hills sophomore Grace Iltis captured the Class A girls race in 19:56.3 to lead the Windjammers to the team title ahead of Mt. Ararat and Brunswick.

Berry-Gaviria finished fifth at the KVAC’s a year ago although his time was faster.

“It was a bit harder than last year,” he said. “And we went out really slow for the first mile so that took away any chance we had of running a really fast time. But the (course) is slow anyway so I wasn’t really going for time.”

Many coaches estimate Cony’s course is a minute slower than the one at Troy Howard Middle School where the North regionals will be held next week. Berry-Gaviria said he hopes to break 16 minutes there.

But the heat was a factor Saturday.

“To have a KVAC meet and have kids hurting because of dehydration is just crazy,” Mt. Blue coach Kelley Cullenberg said.

The Mt. Blue boys, who won the meet a year ago, placed fifth while the girls finished eighth.

“We are rebuilding and a lot of kids have been recovering from injury, illness, whatever,” Cullenberg said. “So we’re just using this as a stepping stone to next week.”

Iltis, who finished fourth at the Festival of Champions this fall, didn’t finish the KVAC race last year.

“My nerves got the best of me and I dropped out in the middle of it, but I tried to go for it this year,” she said. “I would have liked to have gotten a faster time but then again this course is very, very hilly.”

Tiner edged Maranacook’s McGrail by 15 seconds,

“I think I came out too fast,” she said. “Then I started picking people off one by one. By maybe about the two-mile mark we separated off as a pack and got into our positions, then it kind of stayed that way.

“I’m just here to run,” Tiner added. “I love running. I don’t care if I come in last place, I’d still be out there running. This is just a positive sidebar.”

Edward Little’s Jillian Richardson finished third in the Class A race while Dominic Sclafani of Oxford Hills took fourth in the Class A boys race. Host Cony finished fifth in the girls race and sixth in the boys event. Freshman Tessa Jorgensen, who also plays on the soccer team, finished 14th for the Rams while Caleb Richardson was the top boys finisher in seventh.

“The girls I thought ran very, very well,” Cony coach Shawn Totman said. “They talked about they had some tired legs out there but they should. Now’s the time when you bring them back to life and get ready for next week and hopefully the state meet. We’re going to be right in the middle for qualifying as a team.

“Our boys are a little discouraged because they’ve improved so much over the last three weeks. They didn’t have their best races today.”

]]> 0, 14 Oct 2017 18:26:42 +0000
Maine college football roundup: Husson rolls past Castleton Sat, 14 Oct 2017 22:08:26 +0000 BANGOR — The Husson University football team capitalized on four Castleton turnovers to take a 49-0 Eastern Collegiate Football Conference win Saturday.

Husson (5-1) quarterback Cory Brandon was 15 for 17 for 183 yards and four touchdowns. John Smith ran for 95 yards and three touchdowns for the Eagles.

Husson’s defense held the Spartans (3-3) to 150 yards of total offense. Elvin Suazo, Jr., recovered a fumble for the Eagles, while Jean Gabriel, Quan Soyini and De’Wayne Smith each had an interception. Oak Hill graduate Luke Washburn had six tackles for the Eagles.

AMHERST 40, COLBY 7: The Mammoths held Colby to 114 yards of offense to take the New England Small College Athletic Conference win in Waterville.

Colby (0-5) gained just 22 yards on the ground and was 2 of 9 on third down. Quarterbacks Ollie Eberth and Reece Foy combined to throw for 196 yards and two touchdowns for Amherst (4-1). Joe Kelly returned an interception for a touchdown for the Mammoths, who scored 21 points in the third quarter to pull away.

Ian Dickey had an interception for Colby.

MAINE MARITIME 34, COAST GUARD 16: Quarterback Corey Creeger accounted for 329 yards of total offense to lead the Mariners to their first win of the season.

Creeger ran for 212 yards and a touchdown, and threw for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Lawrence grad Jake Doolan ran for 58 yards and two touchdowns for MMA (1-5).

Winslow grad Alec Clark led the Mariners defense with 16 tackles, including a sack. Cony grad John Bennett and Winslow’s Trenton Bouchard each had an interception for MMA.

Cam Cecchini ran for 76 yards for Coast Guard (3-4).

WESLEYAN 41, BATES 23: The Cardinals overcame an early 14-point deficit to take the NESCAC win in Middletown, Connecticut.

Bates (0-5) led 14-0 in the first quarter, and 23-21 at the half, but Wesleyan (4-1) scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to take control. Mark Piccirillo threw for 370 yards and two touchdowns for the Cardinals, and also ran for 84 yards and a touchdown. Corey Phillips’ 31-yard field goal midway through the third quarter gave Wesleyan the lead for good.

Brendan Costa ran for 170 yards and threw for 97 to lead the Bobcats.

HAMILTON 28, BOWDOIN 7: Kenny Gray threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Continentals to the NESCAC win in Brunswick.

Gray’s 33-yard touchdown pass to Christian Donahoe with 1:26 left in the second quarter gave Hamilton (1-4) the lead for good. Donahoe had six catches for 102 yards.

Griff Stalcup threw for 87 yards and a touchdown for Bowdoin (0-5). Matthew Whalen had eight tackles for the Polar Bears.

]]> 0 Sat, 14 Oct 2017 18:19:01 +0000
Monmouth girls run to MVC cross country championship Sat, 14 Oct 2017 21:20:45 +0000 AUGUSTA — Haley Abbott’s asthma backed off enough Saturday for the Boothbay runner to run to an easy — though surprising — victory at the Mountain Valley Conference cross country championships.

Abbott, who is normally third on her team, felt well enough to finish the 5-kilometer race in 21:16.

“My goal was to get at least top three,” Abbott said. “But once I went through that first mile, I was kicking it in very hard because my asthma was not kicking in at all and my lungs felt really good.”

Abbott came out of the first part of the wooded trails in a pack of yellow jerseys, something Monmouth coach Tom Menendez expected to see more of.

But with the rest of the Boothbay team less than healthy, Menendez’s Monmouth squad broke up the Seahawks’ pack and earned the MVC girls team title, the Mustangs’ 10th in 13 years.

Boothbay won the boys race.

“Two of the Boothbay girls were having some health problems so we took advantage of it; strike while the iron is hot,” Menendez said. “I hoped that my girls could break up the Boothbay three, that was our goal, and to bring up the rest of my girls to push their four and five back as far as we could. I think we were pretty successful.”

Monmouth had five runners finish in the top 10 in the girls race, led by Danielle Parker with a time of 22:38. While the Mustangs came out in front this week, Menendez knows the South regionals will present a tougher challenge.

“There’s no doubt that we are going to have the same problem next week,” Menendez said. “They’ll be healthier and better runners, so we’ve got to take what we got today and see if we can do it again next week.”

Abbott, who is used to being in the pack with her teammates, found herself all alone at the second mile and received some motivation for the finish.

“After the second mile, my coach was telling me this was my race so I was very excited and started kicking it in,” Abbott said. “I knew this was mine, I knew I could finish it. I know that I have the confidence to finish like this and I know that I have a lot left in the tank that I didn’t know about.”

In second place was Maya Deming of Winthrop, who finished with a time of 22:33. Deming’s search for motivation didn’t go far.

“I’m kind of competing against one of my teammates right now and she has been beating me for my last two races,” Deming said. “So I was like, ‘I am going to be very stoked for her if she passes me, but I am a competitive person and this is my sport.’ Honestly, I came in here and was like, ‘Maybe I’ll get top-10 or something,’ but I had no idea I was going to get that.”

In the boys race, Boothbay’s Blake Erhard won with a time of 18:11. Erhard had a worthy competitor, however, and it wasn’t who he expected.

“Mine and my teammate’s plan was to go one-two, but this kid from Telstar (Gaelan Boyle-Wight) got a lot faster,” Erhard said. “He actually gave me a run for my money and he beat my teammate (Kyle Ames). He did a really good job. I was surprised.”

Boyle-Wight finished with a time of 18:20, even though he said he was not feeling his usual self pre-race.

“It wasn’t one of my best pre-race feels,” Boyle-Wight said. “I knew I would be in the front so I was going to stick with them. I didn’t know if I would be able to maintain it, but I was pretty sure of it.”

Boyle-Wight broke up Boothbay’s top-two runners, but could not stop the Seahawks from winning the boys MVC title. Owen Libby of Dirigo finished in fourth with a time of 18:53.

]]> 0, 14 Oct 2017 18:55:46 +0000
It’s a painful anniversary of sorts Sat, 14 Oct 2017 21:17:38 +0000 What I remember most about breaking my arm is that it didn’t hurt. Not at first. It hurt, sure, but that crazy pain, the kind that chews on the nerves at the source and radiates throughout the entire body, that waited. My body paused to asses the situation, and once I knew the arm was broken, my brain and body worked together to flood my world hurt.

Then, it hurt like hell.

I’ve been thinking of that broken arm a lot lately, only because its dubious anniversary is coming up. It happened Oct. 19, 1987, 30 years ago, so I guess I buy my right arm what, pearls?

The rest of the world knows Oct. 19, 1987 as Black Monday. That day, stock markets across the globe took a historic plunge. I was 15 and didn’t own any stock, but it wasn’t a great day for me, either.

I was a sophomore at Mt. St. Joseph Academy, and it was the fourth quarter of our junior varsity football game at South Burlington High School in Vermont. We had a big lead, and we had kicked off a lot. As I ran down the field in coverage, I was hit. That wasn’t unusual. That I was hit from behind, illegally, was the odd part. I went down, and when I pulled myself up, I saw my right arm.

Between the wrist and elbow, my arm swung freely. My arm had developed a new, busted hinge. It moved in any direction freely, like a broken gate.

When you suffer a traumatic injury, the first thing your brain and body does is try to trick you into thinking it’s not so bad. At first, I thought I had dislocated my wrist. No problem, a couple of my teammates’ dads were doctors. One of them would just pop it back in place, I’d miss a few plays, and get back on the field. I needed to get a coach’s attention.

“Coach,” I yelled to Ronnie Sabataso, our head coach. I cradled my useless right arm in my left.

I think the play might still have been unfolding, because Sabataso glanced downfield, then looked back at me. I remember the look on his face. It wasn’t the look of fear, but it wasn’t the look of confidence, either.

“Get down!” Coach Sabataso said. “Your arm is broken!”

That’s when the pain started. The pain doesn’t hit. It doesn’t build slowly. It’s just there, and it’s unrelenting.

I hope the VHS tape of the game still exists. While I’m being tended to, you can see Mike Gibbard, one of my teammates, walk over to check on me. He gets a peak at my arm, spins away quickly, and raise his arms like he’s trying to shoo away whatever it is he just saw.

One of our MSJ doctors in the stands came to the field and did his best to stabilize the break. Both bones in my forearm had snapped, but neither pierced the skin. I was told later I had come close to a compound fracture, but was spared that jackpot. As they worked on me, I pounded the grass with my good left fist and released a torrent of swear words that would make George Carlin blush. Coach Sabataso asked me quietly to try to watch my mouth. I declined.

South Burlington was a good hour north of our school’s home in Rutland, Vermont. It being a routine JV game we were expected to win easily, my parents opted not to skip work to attend. The parents of my teammate Bernie Adams took me to the hospital in Burlington, where I called my mother. I was x-rayed, filled with pain killers, and Mr. and Mrs. Adams drove my doped-up broken body to Rutland for surgery.

Mom met me at the hospital, as did Coach Sabataso, who still looked sick to his stomach. The surgical team was waiting for me. The anesthesiologist was Dr. Tom LaPlaca, an MSJ graduate himself. Dr. David Bahnson worked to line the pieces of my arm back together. It was a puzzle. One would line up, and the other would slip apart. Finally, he was able to get them back together without cutting open my arm and screwing the bones together.

I spent the night in the hospital. In the middle of the night, they had to cut my cast open to relieve the swelling. I took the week off from school, and spent my days napping and my evenings watching the baseball playoffs. I went through three casts during the healing process, and around Christmas, the casts finally came off. Underneath all the dead skin was the hairiest arm a 15-year old boy has ever had. We’re talking werewolf arm hair. I actually shed.

Thirty years later, my right arm is no worse for wear. Any aches and pains I have are from tossing my body around like a rag doll for the better part of 45 years. I still wish I had seen the guy who hit me. Somewhere out there, there’s a guy from South Burlington who still deserves a comeuppance for that cheap shot. As I write this, he might be the guy at the next table in this coffee shop.

When I see my high school buddies, it inevitably comes up. “Hey, remember that time Travis broke his arm?”

Yes. Yes I do.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

]]> 0, 16 Oct 2017 10:28:08 +0000
Anderson, Burnham split state golf championship Sat, 14 Oct 2017 21:17:13 +0000 VASSALBORO — Cole Anderson had company atop the leaderboard Saturday at Natanis Golf Course. A little too much for comfort, in fact.

The Camden Hills junior shared a piece of his third consecutive Class A state individual golf championship, tying Scarborough’s Anthony Burnham with a 2-under 70 on the Tomahawk layout as the two golfers were named co-champions.

“I think because Anthony and I are both super-competitive people, we’d both love to go out and play a playoff right now,” Anderson said. “If there’s anyone I’d be happy to share it with, it’s Anthony. He’s a good kid and I like him a lot, and he played well today.”

Anderson became just the third golfer in Class A history to win three straight individual state championships with a shot at a record fourth next fall. He joins Ryan Gay of Gardiner (2006-2008) and Kevin MacDonald of Morse (1990-1992) as a three-time champion.

Gay tied for all three of his titles, while Anderson won his first two outright.

“We’ll come back next year and try and complete the streak,” Anderson said. “I wasn’t thinking about it. I just wanted to win today.”

Elizabeth Lacognata of Scarborough was the girls state champion, while Cape Elizabeth’s Austin Legge won the Class B boys championship and Logan Thompson of Mattanawcook won the Class C boys state championship for the fourth consecutive season.

Thompson scored the day’s low round, carding a 6-under 66 on the Arrowhead course. His round contained three eagles, all on Arrowhead’s front nine, which were the final nine holes the senior played after starting on No. 10.

“After the front nine I had, it definitely surprised me,” Thompson said. “On No. 4, I threw a close one in on my second shot and made an eagle putt. That got my round going.”

Kents Hill School’s Mitchell Tarrio finished as the Class C runner-up, five shots behind Thompson. Carson Veilleux of Forest Hills tied Dirigo’s Jacob Gaudin for third.

Anderson played in a group with Lucas Roop of Gorham, the 2016 state runner-up, Thornton’s Amand Ouellette and Mt. Ararat’s Caleb Manuel. Every member of the foursome placed in the top five at day’s end. The emergence of Burnham came as a bit of a surprise, though Anderson felt as though his 70 wasn’t going to be enough to win.

“That’s the downside to a one-day tournament, is that you can’t tell who’s going to be in it and who isn’t going to be,” Anderson said. “You’ve just got to go out and try and go as low as possible. I did that well for the first seven (with four birdies) and then I faltered. I sort of knew, I had a gut feeling that it wasn’t going to be enough.”

Burnham said that playing in a different group from Anderson only helped his game.

“I played pretty steady with pars and birdies,” Burnham said. “I really focus on one shot at a time and keeping present-moment focus. As long as I do that, I can play my game.”

Legge, a junior, beat Cape Elizabeth teammate Ryan Collins by three strokes, joining Anderson and Burnham as the only golfers to play Tomahawk under par on Saturday.

Nokomis’ Sam Smestad finished third in Class B, five shots off the lead. Senior Cody Pellerin of Waterville tied for fifth, while Erskine teammates Aaron Pion and Conner Paine tied for seventh.

On the girls’ side, Lacognata blitzed through her front nine at 6-under before holding on, despite playing 4-over over the back nine.

“The back was definitely a haul,” said Lacognata, who spent Friday on the golf course practicing. “I knew once I hit the back nine, it was a game of everything I’ve been practicing and battling through the nerves. I was just trying to keep my standing in the position I knew I was in.”

Katie Dixon of Carrabec tied for fourth.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

]]> 0 Hills' Cole Anderson tees off during the Class A boys individual state golf championship at Natanis Golf Course on Saturday in Vassalboro. Anderson tied with Anthony Burnham for first place.Sat, 14 Oct 2017 18:15:05 +0000
Waterville earns needed football win Sat, 14 Oct 2017 20:52:58 +0000 WATERVILLE — This was the game the Waterville Senior High School football team needed, and the Purple Panthers knew it. Four consecutive losses had put the Panthers in danger of missing the playoffs, and a win Saturday over Old Town would put the team back on solid postseason ground.

With big plays on offense and a bend-but-don’t-break defense, Waterville earned the 41-13 win over Old Town, putting the Panthers solidly in the Class C North playoff mix. Waterville, now 3-4, ends the regular season next week at Hermon (5-2). Old Town dropped to 2-5 with the loss.

“The kids knew the deal. At the beginning of the season, the whole talk in the locker room was momentum. We lost that a little bit playing some tough teams and doing some self-destructive things a little bit in a few of the middle games. That was the theme, to get the momentum back,” Waterville coach Matt Gilley said. “They knew the season was on the line.”

Ahead 14-6 with 40.3 seconds left in the second quarter, Waterville took over on its own 20. Chase Wheeler ran 20 yards on first down, stopping the clock with 33.7 left. On the next play, Nick Wildhaber took the ball 60 yards for a touchdown, giving the Panthers a 21-6 halftime lead. On the second play of the second half, Waterville quarterback Jack Thompson went 57 yards on a keeper, pushing the lead to 27-6. With 1:37 to play in the third, Wheeler broke a 64-yard touchdown run, giving Waterville a 34-6 lead.

Tyrone Giger and Trafton Gilbert also scored for Waterville. In all, five players found the end zone for the Panthers.

“That’s just trying to reward work during the week. We’re in a spot where people are competing for the football. The last couple of years, we haven’t been that deep, particularly with people who are varsity ready. They all earned opportunities and they made the most of their opportunities,” Gilley said.

Defensively, the Panthers did just enough to disrupt the Coyotes run game. Ninety-seven of the 188 yards Old Town gained against Waterville’s starting defense came on one second quarter scoring drive, culminating with a 26-yard touchdown run by Ethan Hayes which briefly cut Waterville’s lead to a point, 7-6. The Panthers forced a pair of fumbles, with recoveries by Gilbert and John Evans, and until a late touchdown drive against Waterville’s junior varsity, the Coyotes never threatened to score again.

“We kept the momentum and when we got down, we were, next play. That’s the mentality we had. Never stop, never quit,” Evans said.

“(Old Town) had the size advantage, no doubt. They knew that, and they were coming right at us. We had been preparing for a little more of the spread sweep stuff we had seen on film. To their credit, they saw where their advantage was and they exploited us a little bit. There wasn’t a ton of three and outs, but we did enough on defense against a much bigger Old Town offense, and I’m proud of our guys,” Gilley said.

Hayes gained 133 yards on 16 carries for the Coyotes. Wildhaber ran for 116 yards on 11 carries to lead Waterville. Wheeler added 91 yards on four carries, and Gilbert (12 carries for 51 yards) and Thompson (four carries 60 yards) also ran well for the Panthers.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

]]> 0's Nicholas Wildhaber gets tackled by Old Town defender Travis Spell during a Big Ten Conference game Saturday afternoon in Waterville.Sat, 14 Oct 2017 17:24:02 +0000
Oak Hill football saves playoff chances with final defensive stand Sat, 14 Oct 2017 20:35:56 +0000 WALES — The fans were roaring while players on both the Winthrop/Monmouth and Oak Hill football teams frantically screamed orders to each other, creating a noisy, rambunctious din that blanketed every corner of the Oak Hill High School field.

And yet, Stacen Doucette’s voice rang out crisp and clear, as if he was the only person on the scene.

“Hey!” the Oak Hill coach yelled out. “Somebody’s going to have to make a play!”

The command was carried out to the letter. Caleb Treadwell intercepted a pass from Ramblers quarterback Keegan Choate on the goal line with only seconds to go, allowing the Raiders to sneak out with a 28-26 victory — and almost certainly save their season in the process.

“It was just amazing. There’s so much that’s just going through me right now,” Treadwell said. “There was just so much adrenaline. I was telling our guys ‘This is it, just focus on the play.’ … We did (need this). It was a great game.”

And the victory was well-earned. Oak Hill (3-4) trailed 13-7 at halftime, then fell behind 19-14 and 26-22 in the second half. But the Raiders scored on back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter, the second of which gave them a 28-26 lead with 5:25 left in a game they had to win — with four straight losses and a ninth-place spot in the Class D South Heal points coming in, a loss would have almost certainly cost them a playoff shot.

“There was a lot on the line,” Doucette said. “I thought the kids, not just (at the end) but the whole week of practice, a whole year of dedication, a whole summer’s worth of 7-on-7, there was a lot on the line. This is a good win for our program.”

And yet, when it seemed most secure, it seemed to be slipping away. Oak Hill forced a turnover on downs on the Ramblers’ apparent last-chance drive, but a three-and-out forced the Raiders to punt with just over a minute to go. Oak Hill players gathered around the rolling ball to try to bleed more seconds off the clock, only to see Winthrop/Monmouth’s Cameron Gaghan race in, grab the ball and sprint down the left sideline to the Raiders 18-yard line with 43.7 seconds to play.

“The punt before, I could see once the ball started to roll around on the ground, they all started to move away,” Gaghan said. “I knew if I got another chance I was going to pick it up and go. I knew if I messed up, coach (Dave St. Hilaire) would have reamed (me) out, but it was high-risk, high-reward.”

Suddenly, the Raiders were in trouble, and it became critical when Choate (12-of-26, 247 yards) found Gaghan on third-and-10 for 13 yards down to the 5. Two incompletions followed — a big hit by Ethan Richard broke up the potential go-ahead score — and Choate then looked for Jevin Smith in the left side of the end zone, only to see disaster strike when Treadwell cut in front and snagged the pass for the clinching interception with 7.6 ticks left.

“I undercut it, I caught it and I said ‘Oh my God, I caught that!’ ” Treadwell said. “Everyone just came around me, and I’m like ‘What’s happening?’ Then I’m like, ‘I just saved the game!’ ”

St. Hilaire said the plan was to try a field goal for the win on fourth down, if only the drive had gotten that far.

“One thing I didn’t tell Keegan was ‘Hey, if you don’t get this, we’re kicking the field goal,’ ” he said. “I didn’t tell him ‘Don’t turn the ball over.’ He made big plays all day, and he’s been making big plays all year.”

Both teams had plenty of success finding big chunks of yardage through the air all game long. Choate hit Greg Fay (four catches, 98 yards) for a 35-yard score on the Ramblers’ first drive of the game, while Oak Hill answered with a 51-yard touchdown pass from Gavin Rawstron (9-of-21, 187 yards) to Bailey Drouin on the fourth play of the second quarter to tie the game at 7. A 25-yard pass from Choate to Gaghan set up the second Ramblers score, a 2-yard run by Abram Sirois to make it 13-7 with 4:17 to go in the half.

In the second half, as the defenses began to tire in the unseasonable heat, the game turned into a shootout. Oak Hill struck with 6:58 left in the third when Darryn Bailey, a force all game with six catches for 115 yards, brought in a deep pass from Rawstron and shook out of a tackle for a 35-yard score, making it 14-13 Raiders.

The Ramblers (3-4)  responded. Choate hit Fay for 37 yards to break into Raider territory, then finished the drive with a 2-yard run of his own to put the Ramblers up 19-14 after a missed two-point conversion with 4:17 to go.

“He’s a solid kid,” St. Hilaire said. “He’s great under pressure, and we trust him with anything.”

Oak Hill answered in the fourth quarter on Cruz Poirier’s 7-yard run with 9:24 to go, making it 22-19 after an impressive two-point hookup from Rawstron to Bailey, but the Ramblers struck back on their very next play from scrimmage when Choate hit Ryan Baird in stride down the left sideline only 22 seconds later for a 55-yard touchdown pass and a 26-22 advantage.

Continuing a second-half theme, that lead wouldn’t last either, as Poirier — who ran 23 times for 119 yards, gaining 102 after halftime — broke a 21-yard run to put Oak Hill up 28-26 with 5:25 remaining.

“I think the teams started to get tired,” Doucette said. “I think both defensive fronts started getting tired. We do rotate a little bit, which started to help a bit in the second half.”

The Raiders had something left for a stop with the game on the line, however. And then just enough for when they needed yet another.

“It was an old-fashioned football game,” Doucette said. “Every week, I feel like we’re getting better in a lot of facets of the game, and building confidence.”

]]> 0 Hill High School quarterback Gavin Rawstron staggers after a hit by Winthrop/Monmouth's Ryan Baird during a Class D South game Saturday in Wales.Sat, 14 Oct 2017 18:29:50 +0000
Brunswick breaks through, sinks Mt. Blue Sat, 14 Oct 2017 12:44:24 +0000 BRUNSWICK — The game slipped away from the Mt. Blue Cougars by inches Friday night.

Mt. Blue was stopped shot twice inside the Brunswick 5-yard line before the Dragons, who were led by Dalton Dickey’s vanishing acts every time he got the ball, made off with a 38-22 victory in a Pine Tree Conference matchup.

It was the Dragons’ first win of the season, and came at a crucial point in the season when both teams were looking to sew up a playoff spot.

The Cougars engineered a brilliant, clock-eating, in-your-face ground assault on the opening drive of the game that started from their 37 and ended inches away from the goal line.

Abram Meader led the charge most of the way to the goal line. With a fourth-and-inches situation, quarterback Noah Bell tried to score on his keeper but was shoved back by Brunswick’s adamant defense.

“Certainly, our inside run game is something that we continue to build and work, and at times it is just a matchup thing and we are continuing to get better in that regard,” Mt. Blue coach Nate Quirion said. “Getting turned away on the goal line, it is hard to recover from and we battled hard.

“When we play a good football game, they are a lot better than their record indicates, they had a tough schedule and are well coached, but we have to take advantage of our opportunities.”

With momentum on their side, the Dragons punched in two back-to-back touchdowns by Dickey, who came across with 20- and 5-yard rushes, to give the Dragons a 12-0 lead after the kick and conversion failed.

“(Dickey) has been good all season long,” Brunswick coach Dan Cooper said. “He is kind of like a Swiss Army knife for us.

“He plays a little fullback, a little tail wing. He is even a back-up quarterback so he is a Jack-of-all-trades. We really leaned on him tonight and he came through.

“I thought they (Cougars) were scrappy. They came down to play hard and we had a hard time stopping them. Kudos to them.

“We were very good offensively tonight. We bent a little bit, but we didn’t break (on defense). We forced them to not put together long drives. For the most part, they were able to, but….”

The Cougars finally answered with a touchdown on a 35-yard rush in the second quarter. Reed Wells split the posts and Mt. Blue was in striking distance.

But Brunswick came right back at the Cougars and scored on a long drive. Jack Harvey spilled in from the 1-yard line and the conversion failed, but the Dragons were ahead 18-7.

Mt. Blue scored one more time when Reed booted an 18-yard field goal from the 8 and it was now an 18-10 game going into halftime.

The action didn’t slow down in the third quarter, either.

The Dragons’ fury grew stronger on another long drive where junior Nate Girardin scored on a 5-yard keeper.

Mt. Blue responded with a Meader touchdown from the 3-yard line on the next possession.

But Dickey cut loose again and scored his third of four touchdowns when he bolted from the 33-yard line for a 67-yard TD.

The Cougars answered with a touchdown when Bell connected with Levi Hiltz with a 12-yard TD reception.

Dickey topped off Brunswick’s comfortable lead when he hustled into the end zone from the 1 for his fourth touchdown of the night.

]]> 0 Blue's Ethan Andrews tries to get past Brunswick defender Noah Goddard during a Pine Tree Conference Class B game Friday night in Brunswick.Sat, 14 Oct 2017 08:53:48 +0000
Maranacook football blasts past Sacopee Valley Sat, 14 Oct 2017 02:22:47 +0000 READFIELD — Sophomore quarterback Skyler Boucher ran for four touchdowns, passed for another and rushed five two-point conversions to lead Maranacook to a 40-24 win over Sacopee Valley in a Class E game Friday night.

The Black Bears are 6-2 in Class E play, including a forfeit next week against Traip Academy and will have an additional week off before the playoffs. Sacopee Valley is 2-5.

Maranacook spotted the Hawks two touchdowns after turning the ball over on its first two possessions but got untracked in the second quarter as Boucher scored twice and rushed both conversions to give his team a 16-12 lead at the half.

“I understand the position more this year,” Boucher said. “Last year was my first year at the position. Having a new coach, a new offense makes a difference.”

The Bears went ahead 24-12 late in the third quarter when Boucher hit Joey Dupont with a 10-yard scoring pass. The drive was highlighted by Dakota DeMott’s 62-yard run off tackle. The Hawks bounced back with a 65-yard pass from Brandon Capano to Isaac Stocks on the next play to cut the lead to 24-16.

The Bears scored twice in the fourth quarter. Garit Laliberte set up the next score with a 28-yard pass from Boucher in which he wrestled the ball away from a defender. He and Dupont caught passes of 13 and 15 yards to set up Boucher’s final score.

“It was a great game,” Maranacook coach Walter Polkey “We have a lot of young kids on this team. They’re still learning how to win.”

]]> 0 Fri, 13 Oct 2017 22:22:47 +0000
MCI football rolls past Foxcroft Sat, 14 Oct 2017 02:05:07 +0000 PITTSFIELD — The Maine Central Institute football team ran the football. And ran. And ran some more.

The Huskies rushed for 363 yards on the way to a 34-20 victory over Foxcroft Academy on Friday night at Alumni Field.

The Huskies (4-3) were led on the ground by Adam Bertrand, who had 179 yards on 34 carries.

Bertrand gave the credit of his success to his offensive line.

“(The holes) were perfect,” Bertrand said. “I got the most confidence in the world in our lineman. They were awesome.”

He was joined in the rushing attack by Seth Bussell (21 carries, 106 yards) and Pedro Matos (10 carries, 78 yards). Matos also had two receptions for 20 yards.

The Huskies jumped out to a 7-0 lead during the first drive of the contest. After a 50-yard run into Foxcroft territory, Matos scored MCI’s first touchdown with a 3-yard run. Will Russell’s extra point made it 7-0.

MCI marched 63 yards for its next score on the following drive, capped by a 4-yard touchdown run by Bertrand for the 14-0 lead.

Foxcroft (5-2) struck back on the next drive, going 60 yards before quarterback Nick Clawson scored on a 5-yard run up the middle. Levi Stedman’s extra point cut the lead to 14-7.

MCI answered with a 60-yard drive of its own, finished with an 8-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Friend to Matos. Russell’s extra point brought the lead to 21-7. The Huskies tallied one more score before halftime — a 4-yard run from Bussell — to make 28-7 in favor of MCI.

Foxcroft showed fight in the second half — particularly from Clawson — who ran for 118 yards on 14 carries, scoring two touchdowns. He also passed for 145 yards and a touchdown. But MCI’s rushing attack was simply too much, and the Huskies put the game away in the fourth quarter when Friend found David Young on a 21-yard touchdown pass for their final score.

“We knew (Foxcroft) ran a lot of spread (on offense),” Bertrand said. “They really don’t have any power football sense, so we really had to polish up our secondary. We knew they had a good quarterback and some good runners, so that’s where we’ve been focused all week.”

MCI has a big showdown in the regular season finale next week, when the Huskies meet Winslow.

“It’s going to take a lot (to beat Winslow),” Bertrand said. “They’re good, they’ve got a good tradition going. We’re going to be ready.”

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

]]> 0 Fri, 13 Oct 2017 22:05:07 +0000
High school roundup: Mount View boys soccer keeps it rolling Sat, 14 Oct 2017 01:27:19 +0000 FAIRFIELD — Elijah Allen scored three goals to lead the Mount View boys soccer team to a 5-2 victory over Lawrence in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B game Friday.

Sean Raven and Matt Overlock also scored for the Mustangs (13-1-0).

Sam Craig scored both goals for Lawrence (1-11-1).

Matt Tomlin had eight saves for Mount View. Nick Reeves had 19 for Lawrence.

ERSKINE 5, WATERVILLE 2: Alex Cleaves had two goals and two assists to spark the Eagles in Waterville.

Seth Reed, Michael Sprague and Travis Dow also scored for Erskine (9-4-1). David McGraw made four saves.

Conrad Ayers and Adam Livshits scored for Waterville (2-11-1). Ethan Nurick and Declan Green combined to make eight saves.


MESSALONSKEE 0, MT. BLUE 0: Mackenzie Libby had 16 saves to lead the Cougars (3-7-3) while Hannah DelGiudice had six for the Eagles (8-1-4).

MADISON 10, MOUNTAIN VALLEY 0: Ashley Emery had a hat trick to lead the Bulldogs to the Mountain Valley Conference win in Rumford.

Jillian Holden added two goals for Madison (13-1-0) while Whitney Bess, Sydney LeBlanc, Emily Edgerly, Trista Giroux and Lauren Hay also scored. Hay and Katie Worthen combined to make five saves.

Lauren Sterling stopped 14 shots for the Falcons (1-13-0).

WINTHROP 5, DIRIGO 0: Five different players scored as the Ramblers earned an MVC win in their season finale.

Abby Shumway, Sierra Huff, Danielle McClure, Aaliyah Wilson-Falcone and Madison Moore each scored for Winthrop (6-8-0).

Dirigo finished 0-13-1.

OAK HILL 5, SPRUCE MOUNTAIN 0: Sydney Drew scored twice to lift the Raiders in Wales.

Julia Noel, Lydia Therrien and Rylea-Mae Swan also scored for Oak Hill (13-1-0). Anna Dodge and Grace Woodard combined to make eight saves.

Annabelle Collins and Allison Acritelli combined to stop eight shots for the Phoenix (7-5-2).

CARRABEC 8, TELSTAR 1: Katrina Mason scored four goals to power the Cobras in North Anson.

Olivia Fortier, Annika Carey, Mikayla Vicneire and Lindsey Lesperence also scored for Carrabec (6-4-3). Ashley Cates made four saves.

Calla Orino scored for Telstar (1-9-2) while Abby Harrington made 15 saves.

VINALHAVEN 6, VALLEY 1: Five players scored to lead the Vikings in Bingham.

Deja Doughty scored twice for Vinalhaven (6-5-2) while Hope Cluff, Hannah Newton, Deja Doughty, Marina Davis and Cheyenne Bickford also scored.

Jada Ward scored for Valley (0-12-0).

MONMOUTH 9, HALL-DALE 1: Audrey Fletcher scored four goals to lead the Mustangs in Monmouth.

Alicen Burnham added two goals and two assists for Monmouth (13-1-0) while Tia Day chipped in with a goal and two assists. Anna Lewis and Kayla Brooks also scored while Destiny Clough made 10 saves.

Catrina Kincaid scored for the Bulldogs (6-5-3) and Maggie Gross made eight saves.

]]> 0 Fri, 13 Oct 2017 21:27:19 +0000
Skowhegan topples Lawrence in wild PTC B affair Sat, 14 Oct 2017 01:08:10 +0000 SKOWHEGAN — Defense? What defense?

Years ago, the Lawrence-Skowhegan rivalry was played a few yards at a time. Friday night at Clark Field, the teams ignored that tired tradition, and put Skowhegan’s old scoreboard to the test.

Skowhegan receiver Jon Bell caught five touchdown passes, helping the Indians earn a 58-56 Pine Tree Conference B win over the Bulldogs.

“When I’ve got a quarterback like (Marcus Christopher), it’s just amazing,” Bell said. “Our line did great tonight, and we didn’t have any worries about that. Overall, we just played as a team and got the ‘W.'”

Down 58-41 early in the fourth quarter, Lawrence quarterback Braden Ballard scored on a pair of keepers to tighten the game. Ballard’s 3-yard touchdown run with 2:22 left cut the Skowhegan lead to two points, but Skowhegan’s Ryan Savage recovered the onside kick, and the Indians ran out the clock.

Skowhegan’s Christopher threw for 215 of his 333 yards in the first half while throwing four of his six touchdown passes. The last two came in the final 5:05 of the second quarter, a 10-yard pass to Colby Miller to give the Indians a 30-28 lead, and an 18-yard pass to Bell with 31 seconds left in the half to push Skowhegan’s lead to 38-28 at the break.

While Skowhegan dominated through the air, Lawrence pounded away on the ground. Backs Isaiah Schooler (207 yards) and Tyler Larouche (152 yards) each went over 100 yards in the first half, and each had a 60-yard touchdown run. Schooler’s gave the Bulldogs a 14-6 lead, and Larouche’s cut Lawrence’s deficit to 22-21 late in the first quarter.

The teams started the scoring early, trading three touchdowns in a 42 second flurry in the first quarter. Ballard’s1-yard touchdown in a QB keeper gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead. Twenty-five seconds later, Bell caught a quick pass from Christopher and went 53 yards for a score, cutting the Bulldog lead to 7-6.

Seventeen seconds after that, Schooler broke his long touchdown run.

“Beating our rival is always great, and to have the game mean so much standing-wise, that’s going to help us,” Skowhegan coach Ryan Libby said. “It is always more satisfying to win. It’s so disheartening to give up 50 points week-in and week-out, but our offense is clicking and the guys are fighting.”

]]> 0, 13 Oct 2017 23:17:28 +0000
Cony surprises Messalonskee in PTC B thriller Sat, 14 Oct 2017 01:06:37 +0000 OAKLAND — It was looking like a game — a second half, in particular — to forget for Anthony Sousa. Until the Cony defense gave its quarterback a chance to play the hero once again.

The senior captain didn’t miss it.

Sousa threw for three touchdowns, then ran for the clinching score to lift the Rams to their fifth straight win and their biggest of the season, a 27-17 victory over Messalonskee at Veterans Field in Oakland Friday night.

“With the game on the line, No. 14 running for the pylon, I was pretty confident he’d get in,” Cony coach B.L. Lippert said. “Some of these gray hairs that are cropping up are maybe from Anthony’s decision-making throwing the ball tonight, but I love the way he plays the game on both sides of the ball. He’s a winner, and in crunch time I guess we saw that again.”

Sousa threw his touchdown passes in the first half to stake Cony (5-2) out to a 21-14 lead, but then gave the Eagles (4-3) a chance to steal the win late in front of their home fans. Interceptions ended three straight Rams drives, and were sandwiched around an illegal block Sousa threw to negate a long Jordan Roddy punt return early in the fourth quarter.

The Cony defense didn’t buckle, however, limiting one of Class B North’s highest-scoring offenses to a 30-yard Kyle Burger-Roy field goal with 3:16 left in the third quarter to make it 21-17. The next two drives, despite each starting at the Messalonskee 45-yard line, resulted in punt attempts, and the snap for the second one sailed over Burger-Roy’s head and allowed Cony to take over at the Eagles 9.

The Rams just needed the knockout blow, and Sousa (18 carries, 70 yards — 57 in the fourth quarter) provided it. He dropped back to pass on second-and-goal, rolled left and then took off down the left sideline, vaulting over the left pylon to make it 27-17 with 5:42 to play.

“It needed to happen. Somebody had to step up and make the play,” said Sousa, who also completed 20 of 31 passes for 210 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. “I needed to do something. I was headed downhill, I was like ‘All right, I need to just get my head out of the gutter, step it up and play some football.’ “

“He made a couple of mistakes, and that’s out of character for him,” Lippert added. “I said ‘You’ve got to make one more play for us and we’re going to win this game.’ “

Cony’s defense held on the next series, forcing an incomplete pass on fourth-and-1 from the Eagles 45 to ice the win. Mistakes on offense haunted Messalonskee with the game on the line; the Eagles fumbled away the ball near midfield in the third quarter, had a false start turn a third-and-6 at the 11 into a third-and-11 from the 16 on the field goal drive, and committed a false start and gave up a drive-killing sack before the high snap on the second-to-last drive of the game.

The result, coach Brad Bishop said, was a loss in which it was tough for the Eagles to fault anyone but themselves.

“We had too many penalties again. Every time we had a drive going, we had a penalty that stalled us,” he said. “Just a complete lack of discipline as far as execution on the offensive side.”

Bishop praised his defense, which allowed Sousa to go 14-for-20 for 172 yards and the three touchdowns in the first half but only 6-for-11 for 38 yards and the three picks in the second.

“We just told them to play. Play better,” said Bishop, whose team got interceptions from Gabe Bessey, Noah Tuttle, Tyler Lewis and Deklan Thurston. “When the ball’s in the air, go get it. That was the only thing we told them, seriously.”

Lippert spoke warmly about his own defense, which held strong against the Eagles’ vaunted rushing attack. The Rams didn’t shut down the trio of Austin Pelletier (19 carries, 86 yards, one touchdown), Lewis (seven carries, 45 yards) and Alden Balboni (eight carries, 37 yards), but they did limit all three, and kept Messalonskee from breaking big plays and putting up points in a hurry.

“Our defense has been resilient all year,” Lippert said. “I can’t say enough about coach (Brandon) Terrill and the gameplans he’s come up with week after week.”

And with the pressure at its highest, the defense was at its best.

“We’ve got the best defense in the conference right now,” Sousa said. “They only put 14 up in the first half. That’s not Messalonskee.”

Cony’s late stand preserved a fast start, as the Rams went 71 yards on their second drive of the game and finished it with a scoring play for the highlight reel. Matthew Wozniak took a screen pass to the right, wove through defenders, raced into the open field and evaded a final Eagle’s grasp at the goal line for a 40-yard touchdown to make it 7-0.

Cony’s next drive, set up by a 42-yard punt return from Roddy, was just as productive, with Sousa hitting Reed Hopkins (five catches, 51 yards) with a 10-yard pass to bump the lead to 14-0 with 1:58 left in the first.

The Eagles immediately responded, first with a 63-yard drive that featured a 26-yard run from Lewis and an 18-yard run from Balboni into the end zone to cut the gap to 14-7 with 10:50 left in the half. Bessey intercepted Sousa to end Cony’s next drive and Messalonskee cashed in, marching 82 yards for the tying touchdown. Pelletier scored it on a 1-yard run with 4:26 left in the half, one play after a 19-yard run in which he took a hit, spun in the air and landed in front of the goal line.

The fireworks weren’t finished. Sousa teamed up with Dutil (five catches, 79 yards) on Cony’s last drive of the half, hitting him first for 22 yards to the Messalonskee 34 and then, after an offensive penalty, for 17 on a comeback route to the Eagles 22. A screen pass to Logan Leadbetter brought the ball to the 15, and Sousa then found Dutil on the same comeback route, with the senior wideout turning and diving over the pylon for a 21-14 lead with only 31 seconds to go in the half.

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

]]> 0, 13 Oct 2017 22:45:25 +0000
Waterville girls soccer blanks Erskine Fri, 13 Oct 2017 22:49:17 +0000 SOUTH CHINA — The Waterville girls soccer team might not be the same as it’s been in years past, but that certainly won’t make it any less dangerous in the postseason.

The Purple Panthers parlayed a goal midway through the first half Friday into a 1-0 win at Erskine in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B regular-season finale for both teams. Aly Drew made four saves for the shutout, the fifth of the season for the senior goalkeeper, to back a strong effort from a depleted back line.

“We knew what this game meant to us,” Drew said. “We felt like we had to win. It was definitely a hard one. We’ve had a rough couple of games, but we pulled it together.”

For Erskine, it was a disappointing bookend to its regular season. The Eagles (9-2-3) enjoyed a 12-game unbeaten streak, one that began following a season-opening loss to Waterville in September and ended on Friday. Both losses were in one-goal games.

“We came into this game thinking we can swing with them,” Erskine coach Ryan Nored said, “versus sitting and taking their punches and trying to wear them down like we did in the first game. I thought we did a good job. It’s just unfortunate.”

Waterville (10-3-1) took the lead through junior Anika Elias’ expert 28th-minute strike.

In the type of on-pitch chess match that saw two different formations battle throughout the 80 minutes for midfield superiority, both sides tightly locked down on any scoring opportunities for either attack.

Elias, though, who is part of any short conversation for the best player in the KVAC this season, needed only a yard of space — or less — to convert one of the few good looks she had at goal. Taking a pass in the center of the park from Sadie Garling, Elias held play up enough for the Eagles to drop back into their defensive posture. She continued to hold the ball, eyes scanning for a runner wide, before reluctantly releasing a 30-yard bid on goal.

That shot curled into the top left corner, leaving Erskine keeper Taylor Shute (nine saves) with no chance of retrieving it.

From there, this defensively-minded Waterville team — not the one of years past that would look to tack on five or six goals with ease — took over.

“I didn’t know if one goal would hold up or not, but the way we defended, it did,” Waterville coach Mark Serdjenian said. “I don’t think teams necessarily fall back defensively intentionally, but it always seems to happen. I did think we were really well organized, so I did feel good about the way we were defending. … We didn’t allow too much danger in the flow of play, so it was good. I was pleased.”

Waterville then went to work at defending, particularly early in the second half. Center backs Lilyan Foster, a junior, and Nadia Khan, a freshman called into duty with senior captain Rebecca Beringer injured for the last two games, shut down every Erskine attack through the middle of the field, when the Eagles could find space to operate behind holding midfielder Mackenzie St. Pierre.

And when Foster and Khan faltered — as they did in the waning seconds of regulation following an intercepted goal kick when Erskine’s Liz Sugg went driving through the back line and straight onto goal — Drew bailed them out. Drew flew off her line and dove at the ball on Sugg’s foot to make sure there wouldn’t even be a shot.

“I really have on and off days, and today I woke up and said I needed to be on my game today,” Drew said. “I’m not an aggressive goalie. It’s hard to be aggressive when you’re a goalkeeper, but you get there eventually.”

“I was definitely glad she was there,” Foster added. “That was the play I was supposed to have.”

If there was an anxious moment for Drew, it came in the 20th minute when Erskine sophomore Morgan Presby challenged Drew for a 50-50 ball in the 18-yard box. Drew’s clearing attempt deflected off Presby’s body, straight into the air and toward goal — which Drew dove to keep from bouncing over the goal line behind her.

“That was a scary moment,” Serdjenian said.

In all though, there were few of those scenes for the Waterville defenders.

“It was definitely hard, but I feel like we did a good job,” Foster said. “We played well defensively. This was a big game for us.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

]]> 0 sophomore Morgan Presby (13) collides with Waterville goalie Aly Drew during a Class B North game Friday in South China.Fri, 13 Oct 2017 21:08:44 +0000
High school roundup: Bourque scores two goals in Gardiner boys soccer win Fri, 13 Oct 2017 01:56:15 +0000 BATH — Casey Bourque scored two goals to lead the Gardiner boys soccer team to a 2-0 win over Morse in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B game Thursday.

Alic Shorey made eight saves for the Tigers (4-8-1) to earn the shutout.

Jake Barre had eight saves for the Shipbuilders (1-11-1).

WINTHROP 6, DIRIGO 0: Rowan Goebel-Bain and Jared McLaughlin each scored twice to lead the Ramblers to the Mountain Valley Conference win in Dixfield.

Bryce Cummings and Colby Emery added goals for Winthrop (6-7-1) in its regular-season finale, and Ben Boulay made six saves.

Wes Libby recorded 14 saves for winless Dirigo (0-13-0).


OXFORD HILLS 5, CONY 0: Kiara Henry made 19 saves for the Rams, who fell to the Vikings in Augusta.

Cony falls to 0-12-1.

Julia Colby and Ceceila Dieterich each scored two goals for Oxford Hills (8-5-0).

BANGOR 2, SKOWHEGAN 0: Maggie Cowperthwaite and Libby Spekhardt scored to lead the Rams (9-3-1) to the KVAC A win in Skowhegan.

Alexis LeBreton made eight saves for Bangor, while Amber Merry made 12 saves for the Indians (3-10).

]]> 0 Fri, 13 Oct 2017 22:27:46 +0000
Game of the Week: Cony, Messalonskee football teams meet in B North clash Fri, 13 Oct 2017 01:10:17 +0000 With both teams coming in with matching 4-2 records and shimmering playoff hopes, tonight’s Cony-Messalonskee matchup has the feel of a playoff-caliber showdown come early.

Cony coach B.L. Lippert certainly thinks so.

“It’s one that I think probably both teams circled on the calendar,” he said. “We know this: Messalonskee’s worth a lot (of Heal points), we’re worth a lot at this point. Whoever wins is going to have a huge leg up on, first of all, having a home game in their playoff game, and perhaps having a bye.”

Indeed, there could be some shuffling after Friday night. Messalonskee comes in sitting second in B North, fewer than two Heal points behind Lawrence for the top spot. Cony, meanwhile, comes in fifth, but in the mix for high seeding along with the Eagles and Bulldogs, as well as Brewer and Skowhegan.

So if Cony wins, the Rams could leapfrog some company into the higher spots. An Eagles win, meanwhile, and their fans can all but book some playoff football in Oakland.

“This is what Maine high school football is all about,” Lippert said. “Two teams that are playing pretty well, with … playoff positioning still on the line. It’s going to make for a fun Friday night.”

Here is a look at the Cony-Messalonskee matchup:

Where: Veterans Field, Oakland

When: 7 p.m., tonight

Messalonskee’s Brad Bishop on Cony: “They’re not as prolific a scoring team as they have been in past, but it’s still tough. They spread you out thin out there, it’s tough to defend it. … They’re aggressive and they’ve got some size, and they fly around. They’ve got a good team. They’ve won four in a row and they’ve improved a lot. They improve every year as the season goes on, it seems.”

Cony’s Lippert on Messalonskee: “We’re going to be tested, maybe like we haven’t been all year. … Austin Pelletier gets the lions’ share of the attention, but for my money Tyler Lewis is the most underrated player in this league, he’s really dynamic with the ball in his hands. Alden Balboni, it’s not often that a converted guard averages 12 yards a carry. … It’s a really dynamic offense.”

Three keys for Messalonskee:

• Lewis and Pelletier shine both ways.

Tyler Lewis and Austin Pelletier make headlines for their ball-carrying exploits, but they’ll be vital pieces in the Messalonskee secondary against the pass-happy Rams. Lippert praised Lewis’ cover skills, and while Pelletier has played as a safety this season, he’s had success matching up against standout Cony receiver Jordan Roddy in the past. If they can buckle down the back end of the Messalonskee defense, it’ll be hard for quarterback Anthony Sousa to work the ball efficiently downfield.

• All eyes on Anthony Sousa.

Bishop has a lot of respect for Sousa, who was one of Cony’s most versatile offensive and defensive players before taking over at quarterback this season.

“I think Sousa is a great competitor,” Bishop said. “He doesn’t look pretty back there, but he’s tough as nails. He runs the offense fine.”

Sousa may not have former quarterback Taylor Heath’s arm, but he’s a far more willing and dangerous runner, and if Messalonskee focuses too much on the pass, Sousa becomes a concern on keepers and designed runs. The Eagles will need to be sharp.

• Tidy it up.

The Eagles escaped last week against Brewer, 36-33, and Bishop said sloppy play nearly cost his team the game. A repeat against Cony could be too much to overcome.

“Too many penalties, we had a lot of dumb mistakes, I would call them,” he said. “Blocking from the back, blocking below the waist. We had three or four things like that that we typically don’t do, and that kept Brewer alive and sent us backward.”

Three keys for Cony:

• Execute your assignments.

Lippert said there are ways for a defense to ensure it has an answer for a running game like Messalonskee’s — but they’re rarely beneficial.

“I think when you’re desperate … you make some dramatic changes. Rolling the safety up, putting the corners in the flat, covering with one or two guys in the back end,” he said. “But you don’t want to do that, because obviously you expose yourself to different things.”

Cony had to do that last year, and the result was a 46-14 Eagles rout. The Rams need to make sure they’re able to win battles up front and contain the edges, or risk being an easy foe for the Eagles’ passing game.

• No letdowns on special teams.

When teams come in as evenly matched on paper as these two, the difference can be in the details. That would be special teams, where giving up a long kickoff return or allowing a blocked punt can sink a team’s chances.

“You’ve got to make sure you don’t give them a cheap one, or put yourself in a bad position by not executing on special teams,” Lippert said. “For us, if we’ve got to cut something out of practice, it’s always special teams. I hate to admit that, but it’s just been our way since I’ve been there, really.”

• Balance it out.

Cony can throw it with the best of them, but even with some high-end targets in Roddy, Eli Dutil, Logan Leadbetter and Matthew Wozniak, the Eagles will have an answer if the Rams get too one-dimensional. They’ll need to establish a running game, be it runs with Sousa or getting backs Leadbetter or Ashton Cunningham going on the ground.

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

]]> 0's Matthew Wozniak runs the ball during a Pine Tree Conference Class B game Friday night at Alumni Field in Augusta.Thu, 12 Oct 2017 21:20:42 +0000
Goodell’s anonymous defender on social media turns out to be his wife Fri, 13 Oct 2017 00:48:41 +0000 The wife of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell played some defense for him recently by using an anonymous Twitter account to respond to his critics on social media, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Jane Skinner Goodell, a former reporter for WCSH-TV in Portland, admitted to using a Twitter account under the pseudonym “Jones smith,” with the handle @forargument, the Journal reported.

That account was deactivated Thursday, but not before responding to journalists who posted less-than-positive tweets about the commissioner over the past few months, Des Bieler wrote in his “Early Lead” blog in The Washington Post.

The Goodells have a home at Prouts Neck in Scarborough.

The Journal reported multiple instances of Skinner Goodell defending her husband on Twitter. Bieler cited one, after Pro Football Talk tweeted Sept. 26 that it was “on the commissioner” to resolve the issue of player protests during the national anthem. The reply from @forargument: “Please do better reporting. He is already doing this. You are behind.”

“It was a REALLY silly thing to do and done out of frustration – and love,” Skinner Goodell said Thursday in a statement to the Journal. “As a former media member, I’m always bothered when the coverage doesn’t provide a complete and accurate picture of a story.

“I have always passionately defended the hard-working guy I love – and I always will,” she said. “I just may not use Twitter to do so in the future!”

]]> 0, 13 Oct 2017 10:00:27 +0000
College football notes: Injuries piling up for Colby Fri, 13 Oct 2017 00:18:33 +0000 The Colby College football team is among the top teams in the New England Small College Athletic Conference in terms of turnover margin, at plus-2. The Mules are among the conference leaders in time of possesion, and are the least penalized team in the league.

So why are the Mules 0-4 heading into Saturday’s home game against Amherst, and last in the NESCAC in scoring (five points per game) and yards (196.5)?

Injuries are a part of it. In last week’s 41-7 loss at Wesleyan, the Mules (0-4) finished the game with five healthy linemen. Colby had a pair of defensive tackles playing guard, and a center snapping for the first time in a college game. Even so, coach Jonathan Michaeles said the Mules have to start playing four quarters of football.

“We’ve had leads in the last three games. We’re doing some good things strategically. We have to spin it together,” Michaeles said. “We have to create momentum for ourselves as we come out of the locker room in the second half and answer the bell knowing the other team is making adjustments. They’re executing their adjustments better than we are at this point.”

In Amherst, Colby faces an opponent this week that’s among the top defensive teams in the nation, allowing just 269 yards and 18 points per game. With the season at the halfway point, Michaeles said the Mules have to start turning the positives into results.

“We’ve done a great job taking care of the football. We’re not penalizing ourselves. We’re doing a lot of good things we can control. We’ve got to finish the drives in the red zone and put points on the board,” Michaeles said.

• • •

With 528 yards rushing in his last two games, Husson running back John Smith is now ranked fourth in the nation in rushing yards, with 949. Averaging 189.8 yards per game, Smith is third in the country in yards per game. Saturday, Smith and the Eagles (4-1) host Castleton (3-2) in an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference game.

Castleton comes to Bangor with a three-game win streak. The Spartans offense is led by Cony graduate, quarterback Mitchell Caron. A junior, Caron was named ECFC Offensive Player of the Week on Monday for his effort in the Spartans 35-31 win over Mt. Ida. Caron completed 12 of 16 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns. It was the highest completion percentage of Caron’s career, and he also ran for a five yard touchdown. For the season, Caron has 661 yards pasing with four touchdown throws.

• • •

Maine Central Institute graduate Eli Bussell was the hero of the Class D state championship game last season, running for the game-winning touchdown when he dropped the snap for a field goal hold as time expired. Now, Bussell’s college football career is off to a strong begining as a linebacker at Plymouth State.

Bussell has 17 tackles for the Panthers, including 10 solo. Bussell has been a key member of a defense allowing a Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference fewest 10.7 points per game. The Panthers are ranked seventh nationally in scoring defense.

Plymouth is 5-1, 3-1 in MASCAC play. Saturday’s game against Framingham State will determine first place in the conference.

• • •

Maine will induct Mike Flynn into the football program’s Ring of Honor at halftime of Saturday’s Homecoming game against Rhode Island.

Flynn played offensive line for the Black Bears from 1992-96. After Maine, Flynn had an 11-year NFL career and was a starter for the Baltimore Ravens in their Super Bowl-winning 2000 season. In his NFL career, Flynn appeared in 134 games with 115 starts.

At Maine, Flynn earned all-conference first team honors as a senior.

“My time at UMaine was probably the most enjoyable in my football career,” Flynn said in a university press release. “I was young and very raw in terms of my football ability. I was lucky to have coaches in Jack Cosgrove, Joe Giibert and Kirk Ferentz who understood the game and had the ability to teach the game. Most of what I learned at UMaine carried my through my pro career.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

]]> 0 Thu, 12 Oct 2017 20:25:24 +0000
Mt. Blue boys soccer hands Messalonskee a loss Thu, 12 Oct 2017 23:55:27 +0000 OAKLAND — In a game that needed an ounce or two of desperation from the Messalonskee boys soccer team, it was the oppostion from Mt. Blue that provided it.

“We knew that if we lost, it would definitely hurt us,” Mt. Blue junior striker Sam Smith said. “It wouldn’t necessarily keep us out of the playoffs, but this win would keep us just as close (to sixth-seeded Mt. Ararat).”

Firmly entrenched in one of the eight available tournament spots in Class A North, the Cougars played like the team whose season was on the line, scoring four first-half goals en route to a 4-1 win over Messalonskee in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game at Veterans Field. Smith finished with a hat trick.

The loss likely ended any hope the Eagles (5-6-2) had of clinching one of the final postseason spots in the region.

“We knew what we were up against and what we had to do today,” Messalonskee coach Tom Sheridan said. “We knew we had the whole month of October and we had to go through and win them all. Unfortunately, we just didn’t get the result we wanted today.”

Mt. Blue (8-4-1), which has now won three straight since back-to-back losses to Lewiston and Bangor last month, the top two teams in A North, played on the front foot from the opening whistle. They were fast, attacked quickly with width and purpose, provided physical presence in the midfield and limited Messalonskee to only a handful of dangerous scoring chances.

By the time Cougar goalkeeper Tucker Carleton made a diving save on Elijah Caret in the 34th minute, Mt. Blue had already staked itself to a 4-0 lead.

“All season long we’ve talked a lot about process and making sure that we approach every game the same, so we’re not in that ‘Oh, today’s must-win,'” Mt. Blue coach Joel Smith said. “We really try to be all about every day’s the same — whether it’s practice, whether it’s game, whoever the opponent, we really try to make sure we have the same approach every day.”

The visitors took the lead through Sam Smith in the seventh minute, when he used body position to corral the ball at his feet inside the 18-yard box before turning to goal and wrong-footing Messalonskee keeper Chase Warren.

Eight minutes later, an own goal by the Eagles made it a two-goal game, but it was Smith’s second of the day that likely sealed the Eagles’ fate. Smith’s second free kick in a 60-second span, from dead-center 25 yards out, curled into the upper left corner for a 3-0 lead on 27 minutes.

“He’s been pretty lethal on his set pieces this year,” Joel Smith said. “He’s been a pretty good little sniper out there.”

“That was definitely a great finish by Sam, and I’ve got to give him props for that one,” Messalonskee captain and center back Cole Smith said. “But I feel like it’s just one of those games where bad bounces happen. We hit the post, their keeper made a good save at the end of the first half.

“A couple of those bounces go our way, and it could have been a completely different game… That’s soccer.”

The hat trick hero Smith scored his third of the day off a brilliant feed from freshman Adam Loewen in the 31st minute.

“We didn’t get a hold of the momentum and do good things in the first half,” Sheridan said.

Credit Messalonskee for trying to find a way back into the contest in the second half against a convservative defensive approach from Mt. Blue. The Cougars’ 11 second-half fouls provided an avenue for the Eagles, who got Cole Smith’s free kick in the 74th minute.

“It’s obviously disappointing,” Cole Smith said. “You do all this work through October to really go on a run and try and keep our playoff hopes alive, just to have some bounces not go your way. But those things happen.”

For Mt. Blue, since squandering a 2-0 second-half lead to Lewiston on Sept. 28, the Cougars are 3-1-0 and have outscored opponents 11-2 over the course of the current three-game winning streak.

“We’re really starting to pick up,” Sam Smith said. “Early in the season, we weren’t as strong as we are and we didn’t play up to what we could be. But as the season’s gone on, we’ve gotten better and better.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

]]> 0 Blue goalie Hunter Bolduc (0) makes a save against Messalonskee High School in Oakland on Thursday.Thu, 12 Oct 2017 19:59:33 +0000
Monmouth, Hall-Dale boys soccer teams play to tie Thu, 12 Oct 2017 23:42:12 +0000 FARMINGDALE — The Hall-Dale soccer team has seen enough of Monmouth’s Avery Pomerleau.

The senior striker scored an overtime goal earlier this season to hand the Bulldogs their only loss. Thursday, in a game controlled by Hall-Dale, Pomerleau scored with 10 minutes left to give the Mustangs a 1-1 tie.

With a game left in the regular season, Monmouth is 11-0-2 in Class C South play while Hall-Dale is 11-1-1. The teams will meet again next Thursday in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game.

The Mustangs played without coach Joe Fletcher, who served a one-game suspension for being assessed a red card in the team’s last game, as well as defender Shane Kennison who was also suspended a game for an accumulation of yellow cards. Also missing was striker Nate Ashton who sustained a broken leg three weeks ago. Considering those setbacks the Mustangs were happy to escape with a tie.

“I think we pieced together,” Monmouth assistant Mike Pomerleau said. “We’re happy with a tie for sure. With them scoring that goal fairly early on it was like ‘oh man now our backs are against the wall.'”

Alec Byron scored for the Bulldogs with nine minutes, 51 seconds left in the first half when he put hone a rebounds of Austin Stebbins’ direct kick from 25 yards out. Monmouth keeper Bradley Neal (10 saves) made a fine diving stop of the direct kick but was drawn out of position.

“My job on this team is to just be physical, use my speed and get those rebounds and put them in the net,” Byron said. “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

The Mustangs had their best scoring chance of the first half when Cody Roy faced an open net after keeper Jett Boyer (four saves) was drawn out of position but senior defender Eli smith slipped into the goalmouth for a point-blank save.

Physical play ramped up in the second half as the Bulldogs continued to get scoring chances but couldn’t convert.

“It’s defintely a little chippy,” Byron said. “Monmouth’s kind of our rival. It’s always an aggressive game against them.”

Hall-Dale out-shot Monmouth 11-8 but held a territorial advantage throughout the game. In addition to Neal in goal, the Mustangs drew a strong game from sweeper Nick Dovinsky who stymied a half dozen potential breakaways.

“Nick Dovinsky, he’s been wonders,” Coach Pomerleau said. “We started him out at midfield this year. He’s the best. He’ll cut you off at the last second.”

Avery Pomerleau scored his 29th goal of the season after teammate Nate Camire partially whiffed on an open shot and it bounced through a maze of players in front.

“It was bouncing around a little,” Pomerleau said. “Lucky play maybe, or not. It found my foot.”

Many balls have found Pomerleau’s foot in the recent rivalry between the two schools.

“That little flurry in front of the 18 and Pomerleau put it home,” Hall-Dale coach Andy Haskell said. “It was just a lucky bounce but he hit the shot, that’s the key. That guy comes up with big shots. He scored the game-winner against us, the equalizer against us, he beat us two years ago. What can I say.

“It was a good game. Monmouth played with a lot of heart and determination. We had more grade A scoring opportunities but that’s soccer.”

]]> 0 Academy's Avery Pomerleau, left, and Hall-Dale's Josh Nadeau battle for ball during a game Thursday in Farmingdale.Thu, 12 Oct 2017 20:04:52 +0000
Game of the Week: Football playoff seeds on the line this week as Lawrence plays Skowhegan Thu, 12 Oct 2017 21:57:27 +0000 With two weeks left in the regular season, Lawrence is in first place in the Pine Tree Conference Class B division. Nobody would describe the Bulldogs’ grip on the top spot as tight, however.

The top four teams in the conference are separated by just 10 points in the Heal Point standings, making Class B North the tightest playoff race in the state. With a win over Lawrence (4-2) this week, No. 4 Skowhegan (3-3) can put itself in the mix for a first round bye.

Lawrence vs. Skowhegan is one of the oldest rivalries in the PTC. This season, the game will be a key toward determing playoff position, as well as bragging rights.

Here’s a look at the Lawrence-Skowhegan matchup:

When: 7 tonight

Where: Clark Field, Skowhegan

Lawrence coach John Hersom on Skowhegan: “We’ve looked at three of their games, and we’ve charted over 100 plays… It’s something that you don’t see every week, so that’s what makes it challenging.”

Skowhegan coach Ryan Libby on Lawrence: “They’re mixing it up very well. It’s not just the fullback dominating the carries. They have a few good backs.”

Three keys for Lawrence:

• Compete.

Last week, the Bulldogs were down quickly by two touchdowns to Brunswick, but rallied and pulled out a three-point win. Hersom said the team needs to maintain that competitive level against Skowhegan, which avergaes 37 points per game.

“Our biggest asset is the level of competing we show right now. I see improvement in a lot of areas, but sometimes it looks like we show improvement in one area, then we kind of slip a little bit in that same area the next week. We haven’t really had that be the case dramatically. We’re hoping we are competiing at a level consistently where it doesn’t show up as much,” Hersom said.

• Slow down.

Skowhegan is the best offensive team Lawrence may see all season. The best way to keep the Indians from scoring is to keep the offense on the sidelines. If Lawrence can grind out long drives and keep this game from becoming a shootout, the Bulldogs increase their chances to win.

• Shake off the big plays.

To ask any team to shut down Skowhegan completely is asking too much. The Bulldogs know the Indians will make some plays. It’s how Lawrence reacts after those plays are made that will define this game. If there’s a missed tackle or mixup in coverage, the Bulldogs have to forget it and move on.

“As long as we keep competing and trying not to make those same mistakes, I think we’ll be OK,” Hersom said. “We’re kind of hoping the foundation we laid right from preseason on is going to hold up to a lot of the things we need to teach and cover. Certainly reinforcing those things has been a big part of our week.”

Three keys for Skowhegan:

• Third down execution.

While it’s hard to notice in a game in which you give up 56 points, Libby said Skowhegan showed defensive improvement in last week’s 56-54 overtime loss to Biddeford. After looking good on first and second down, Skowhegan allowed too many big plays on third down to extend Biddeford drives. Against anouther good team like Lawrence, that cannot happen.

“There was some progress there,” Libby said. “The positive is the boys fought right to the end. It was great effort on our part.”

• Contain Ballard.

Lawrence quarterback Braden Ballard is a threat to run or pass, and in the case of the waggle plays that are a staple of Lawrence’s offense, he’ll often have the opportunity to do either on a play.

“On that waggle play, it’s always sort of run if you’ve got the green grass,” Libby said.

Skowhegan has to make sure when he rolls out, Ballard doesn’t see that green grass.

• Special teams

Skowhegan failed to convert extra points on their first four touchdowns last week, falling behind Biddeford by four points at the half in the process. In what will likely be a close game, every point is precious. Skowhegan can’t leave any off the board.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

]]> 0's Isaiah Schooler (2) tries to evade Winslow defender Hunter Campbell during a game Friday night at Keyes Field in Fairfield.Thu, 12 Oct 2017 19:34:24 +0000
Waterville golfer Cody Pellerin looking for fine finish Thu, 12 Oct 2017 20:44:40 +0000 WATERVILLE — Cody Pellerin remembers last year’s individual state golf championships, and the memories aren’t fond.

“I choked last year,” Pellerin said with a sheepish grin.

Pellerin shot an 86 at that tournament last year, and he is out for redemption this fall.

The individual state championships are Saturday on the Tomahawk Course at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro.

Pellerin has encountered difficulties and success at the course. Last week at the team state championships, Pellerin shot an 84, which tied him for 12th in Class B. Erskine’s Connor Paine had the top score with a 74.

But Pellerin also turned in one of his best rounds at Natanis when he shot a 75 at the Sept. 26 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference qualifier, sharing the top score with Sam Smestad of Nokomis.

“I was playing really well,” Pellerin said. “It was one of those rounds where I was feeling like, ‘Wow, I’m swinging nice’ and I can hit every shot. Every round, there’s always that one golf shot that’s bad, but you have that luck, and I did. I had a ball that went off a tree and back into the fairway. That was my one bounce of the day. But that’s when you know that a good round is happening.”

“When you go into state’s, and you’re on that first tee, it’s pretty nerve-racking,” Pellerin continued. “People are watching you, and you’re like, ‘I’ve got to play really well.'”

Pellerin said his best 18-hole total is a 71. He’s hit even par at Natanis before — though on a modified course — with a pair of 73s at the beginning of the year.

Not bad for someone who took up the sport just four years ago.

Pellerin was introduced to golf in eighth grade by his grandfather, Bob Cosgrove. Golf was a lifelong love for Cosgrove, a love that he hoped to pass on to his grandson.

“It was his favorite thing to do,” Pellerin said. “He was just like, ‘I want you to play golf throughout your life’ because it’s a sport you can play (through the years).”

Pellerin continued to play golf recreation ally into high school, but played football for the Purple Panthers as a freshman and sophomore. Entering his junior year, he switched to golf. Cosgrove died in 2014 and didn’t get the chance to see his grandson’s game grow.

“He passed away during hockey season,” Pellerin said. “It was tough. I still played that next game, the next day, it was really just for him.”

Pellerin is a multi-sport standout at Waterville. He’s a member of the hockey team that has won back-to-back Class B championships (Pellerin scored 10 goals and had 22 assists last year). He’s also had success on the baseball diamond, as he was selected for the Maine Underclassman All-Star game last June at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish.

Pellerin has helped a Waterville golf team that has enjoyed some success over the past two seasons. The Purple Panthers went 9-3 in the regular season and finished third at the Class B championships with a score of 346 — just three shots back of runnerup Nokomis (343). Cape Elizabeth took the title with a score of 319.

“We beat Erskine to start off the season, which is the biggest win we could have,” Pellerin said. “Gardiner was a big win, and then to beat them later on (during the season), that was a pretty good part of our season. Our goal this year was to beat Erskine, which we did in the state match, too.”

Erskine — which won the Class B title last season — finished fourth last weekend with a score of 351.

Pellerin entered this season looking to find consistency in his drives.

“My driver was really struggling,” Pellerin said. “From going to baseball, right as soon as I got into (golf) season, I was hooking my driver. I really needed to change that up. I went on YouTube, looked up videos, went out to the (driving) range. By the end of the year, I finally figured it out.”

Pellerin found that his club was too high in his backswing, forcing him to chop at that ball on his follow-through.

“It was hard, and I was getting frustrated,” Pellerin said. “My scores during the (season) weren’t that special, because I was really struggling with the driver. I had to use the 4-iron off tees, just to be safe.”

He fought through the issues with his driver, finding success as the season moved along.

“We had a match, I think the second-to-last match (of the season), it came around then,” Pellerin said. “I was very happy, because you really want to start progressing and getting better at the end of the year. You want to play your best golf at the end of the year. I found it about two matches before the qualifier, and ever since then, I’ve been pretty good.”

Pellerin said his biggest challenge Saturday will be clearing some mental hurdles.

“This year, I am definitely a little more confident,” Pellerin said. “I should go into this pretty relaxed. You get past the first tee, past the first hole, I’m set. My goal is to par the first hole, and I’m good for the rest of the round.”

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

]]> 0 golfer Cody Pellerin tees off on the 17th hole of Tomahawk during the state team championship last year at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro.Thu, 12 Oct 2017 19:39:59 +0000
Hiking in Maine: Evidence of 1947 fires still visible on many Maine trails Thu, 12 Oct 2017 14:30:38 +0000 0, 13 Oct 2017 20:55:37 +0000 Maranacook’s DeMott settles into new position on new team Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:20:09 +0000 READFIELD — For most high school football players, it’s a journey from pee-wees to the varsity level. For Dakota DeMott, that path has been more like an odyssey.

There’s the wandering from one location to another, from first putting on pads and a helmet in North Dakota to coming of age with the game in Idaho, to resuming a career in Maine. There’s the culture change, one that entailed going from a school of over 1,000 students steeped in football tradition to one of just under 400 in Maranacook Community High School, where they’re doing what they can to build one. There’s the sudden boost in on-field responsibility, from playing one side of the ball to being counted on by a team to perform on nearly every snap of every game.

It’s been challenging, and it’s taken time. But DeMott, Maranacook’s do-it-all player, is acclimating to being just that.

“At first it was tough, just because I wasn’t used to playing an entire game without really coming out,” said DeMott, a junior who plays as a hard-hitting outside linebacker and hard-charging fullback for the 4-2 Black Bears. “But it’s definitely been good because I definitely get more opportunities to play. I play more, start more. That’s been good.”

Maranacook coach Walter Polky said DeMott, while performing as one of the team’s busiest players, has also developed into one of its best.

“I put a lot on his plate, and he does a very, very good job with it,” he said. “And he’s still learning. He’s getting better. He hasn’t even scratched the surface of his ability yet.”

Even as one of the newest Black Bears, he’s developed into a team leader, lending advice to teammates who are eager to learn.

“When he walks into the meeting room, you know it’s different,” Polky said. “He’s respected by the kids on our team. When he speaks, kids listen.”

It hasn’t been easy. None of it has. It never is when you’re settled in somewhere and starting high school, then being uprooted and moved over 2,000 miles away, as DeMott was when his family moved from just outside Boise in Kuna, Idaho to Maine last November.

The move also halted DeMott’s football career. He had been a freshman defensive end the season before at Kuna High School, a school of 1,300 that competes in Idaho’s 5A class, the largest in the state. Football is different at Kuna compared to most Maine schools. There were three full teams, including the freshman squad that DeMott played on, with different coaching staffs for each. Rosters were large enough that players played one way, and could take a rest when they needed one.

“In Idaho, there are a lot bigger teams, and the players on average are a lot bigger,” DeMott said. “So you were constantly going up against kids that were a lot stronger, and they had fresh players to come in when other players were getting tired.”

The move came in November, preventing DeMott from playing his sophomore year. He was eager to play in his junior season, however — even though the team with which he’d return hardly resembled the program at Kuna. Maranacook didn’t win a game last year, and dropped down to the developmental Class E for this season. Low turnout has dogged the program for years. Inexperienced players dot the roster.

DeMott saw all of it — and the upside.

“I definitely looked at it as a challenge, especially because I’m not used to being on a team that has a losing record,” he said. “So I definitely looked at it as a challenge to help make it a winning record.”

Polky, in his first season at the helm, was thrilled to get the 6-foot, 205-pound junior on his team.

“He’s a very powerful kid,” he said. “He’s fast, he has a good burst. … He’s a kid that, as a freshman, you can watch at practice. ‘OK, this is how it’s supposed to be done.’ “

There were few adjustments to make on the defensive side. Polky’s scheme asks for outside linebackers to be run-stuffers with an ability to cover, and he called DeMott a “prototype” for that position.

“He’s very fluid,” Polky said. “He is a very good open-field tackler, and he’s very good at defeating blocks. His instincts of taking guys on, he’s very, very good at that.”

This time, however, the defensive side wouldn’t be the only side. At a school like Maranacook, with a roster of 21 players, players play both ways — or, in DeMott’s case, every way. On offense, defense and special teams, he’s on the field. Kickoff returns and punt returns, he’s out there. He’s on the bench during extra points, and that’s about it.

“In a 130-play game, he may only get four plays off, maybe,” Polky said. “He’s played 100-plus plays in every game this year.”

With all those plays, there’s been a steep learning curve. Defense wasn’t an issue but DeMott had to learn to play as a fullback and tight end on offense, which Polky said was a mental hurdle as much as a physical one.

“Our offensive playbook is about 120 pages thick, and it could easily be over 200,” he said. “He needs to know when to double team the (defensive) end. He needs to know when to single block, he needs to know what the read is. When he runs the football, he needs to know what gaps to run. … There’s a lot.”

As the season progressed, however, the workload became less and less of a burden. DeMott’s offensive acumen now rivals his defensive savvy. He’s settled in as one of the team’s most versatile offensive players, able to carry out any of the wide range of tasks he could be assigned on any series.

” He can block the edge as a tight end. We need third-and-2, we can drive him up the middle and get yards. We put him in the flat, he can catch the ball in the flat,” Polky said. “He’s just going to lower his shoulder and he’s going to get what he can get. He sort of wears kids down.”

And he doesn’t get worn down. Not anymore.

“By the end of the (first) game I was just exhausted because I had been playing the entire game,” he said. “But now I can play an entire game and not be nearly as tired as I was.

“Now that I’m not as tired I do look forward to it, because it’s more football for me to play.”

And it allows him to leave as big an impact as possible on the program — one that he said is starting to build that winning culture he had to leave behind.

“I feel like the team’s been doing pretty well,” he said. “It’s been a positive experience.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

]]> 0 linebacker Dakota DeMott has become a leader on the squad since transferring to the school from Idaho.Wed, 11 Oct 2017 20:20:09 +0000
Matt Albert provides backbone for Hall-Dale soccer team’s attack Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:05:24 +0000 FARMINGDALE — Watching the Hall-Dale High School boys soccer team on the attack, with its breakneck pace and high pressure form, it’s easy to forget that there’s lots of dirty work being done in support.

For junior center back Matt Albert, it’s a role he’s more than happy to fill.

“Whatever has to happen for us to win is fine with me,” Albert said.

A season ago, Albert was a part-time player for the Bulldogs. He saw the field, but his impact went largely unnoticed. This season, he started in a central midfield role, providing an engine from which Hall-Dale’s six-person attack could find its momentum.

Albert won balls, distributed wide and used his booming right foot to get the Bulldogs out of trouble when it was presented.

It’s part of the reason coach Andy Haskell moved him to the back line in the middle of the season.

“We just switched roles with he and Bo (Vachon),” Haskell said. “By switching those two players it made us a little stronger in the back. Matt’s a little more confident with the ball in the back, and Bo’s really tenacious in the midfield. Those two things have made us better than we were in September.”

Albert’s comfort level with his own game, Haskell said, has not been lost in the shuffle of the Bulldogs’ high-scoring capabilities. If anything, he said, it’s only helped to cement it.

“Matt has done a really good job anchoring the defense, both he and Eli (Smith),” Haskell said. “His distribution and decision making has been much better. That’s the difference between him this year and last year. Those guys in the back are all either former strikers or midfielders. Their ball-handling abilities are much better.

“When you have that kind of confidence in the back, we’re able to get the counter-attack going much faster than we have in the past. We used to sit back and counter, but now we’re able to put pressure on (opposing) players and counter. That’s a big difference.”

Hall-Dale is 11-1-0 and sits third in the Class C South standings, currently enjoying a nine-game winning streak. They’ve got No. 2 Monmouth on Thursday afternoon — a rematch of their only loss of the season — plus a season finale at Carrabec and likely the Mountain Valley Conference championship still to come.

Haskell likes the way the end of the season lines up as the postseason looms.

“When we get to October, we want to have our system in play. We like our schedule with the build up to the playoffs,” Haskell said. “We think that’s the best preparation for us, and the kids are playing really well. They’re really relaxed and they’re playing really confident. That’s a difference, and our style of play’s different, than when we played Monmouth (in the third game of the season).”

And then there’s the contributions of a player like Albert, who devoted his offseason to playing travel soccer at the premier level, and he thinks the pace of play he picked up there against quality opposition translated into his growth as a high school varsity player.

He defines himself as a defensive midfielder, one who’s as happy to defend as he is to contribute to the attack.

“(The role) is really important, because we can start from the back and hit it up to our attackers so they can score goals and get good looks,” Albert said. “We used to stay back more. Now we pressure and look to attack. Since we’ve started doing that, it’s been working out. It’s great.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

]]> 0's Matt Albert boots the ball during a game Tuesday against Mt. Abram in Farmingdale.Wed, 11 Oct 2017 20:05:24 +0000
Podcast: The Gridiron Gurus, Week 7 Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:03:52 +0000 Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel football beat writers Travis Lazarczyk and Drew Bonifant are joined by Messalonskee head coach Brad Bishop to discuss the Eagles, the PTC B and the games they’re looking forward to this weekend.

Watch the video of the entire podcast above, or listen to it in audio form below.

Subscribe to Gridiron Gurus on iTunes

]]> 0, 11 Oct 2017 20:04:05 +0000
Temple Academy soccer has new feel this season Wed, 11 Oct 2017 23:35:23 +0000 WATERVILLE — It took only 10 minutes on Wednesday to see just how different the Temple Academy soccer program is this season. It took the players on the team less than that.

“I think what changed this year, ultimately, is our coach,” Temple senior Sawyer Deroche said following a 7-0 win over Chop Point at Thomas College that improved the Bereans to 13-0-0 in Class D South, one win shy of completing the first undefeated regular season in school history. “Without our coach, I don’t know where we’d be without him. He’s amazing. I’ve never had a coach like him.”

Phil Hubbard came to Temple after winning more than 100 games at the helm of Erskine Academy, leaving that post to accept the assistant principal’s position at Temple. His work with the soccer program began during the summer, prior to preseason training.

Last season, the Bereans finished 9-5-1, qualifying for the regional tournament for the first time in their brief history as a member of the Maine Principals’ Association.

“We got that little teaser, that little taste,” senior Micah Riportella said of postseason play. “We all wanted it. We all knew what we did wrong last year. we built and we got better. We got that taste and now we want more.”

Unfortunately for Temple, what the playoffs hold is still a bit of a mystery. The schedule this season has been loaded with teams like Chop Point (1-9-1), Greater Portland Christian, Islesboro and Vinalhaven. None of those teams have a winning record.

Deroche, who played at Lawrence High School last season and has played premier-level soccer at the youth level, knows that greater challenges await in the tournament in the form of teams like perennial powers Richmond, Greenville and Buckfield.

“It was a little different for me at the beginning. I’ve gotten used to it,” Deroche said. “I think it’s good because we as captains keep our team in check and we don’t let them play down to some of these teams we’re playing. We always want to play up. We always want to play to our best ability.”

During the summer league, Temple lined up against Class A and Class B teams as a way to raise its own game. Hubbard focused on lots of small-sided drills, maximizing touches on the ball for every player.

Hubbard implored the team prior to Wednesday’s game to begin mentally preparing for the playoffs, insisting that they bring a certain mentality. The Bereans responded by scoring four goals in the first 14 minutes of the contest, including a pair of goals from junior Noah Shepherd.

The team moves the ball along the floor, moves without the ball and — after giving up dozens of goals a year ago, Temple has conceded only seven goals in all of 2017.

“Our defenses is a lot tighter. Definitely a better (formation),” Riportella said. “We have two defensive stoppers and one midfielder who is designated to make sure things stay cleaned up. Whether that’s me or Sawyer, we’ve been able to get back. We have a lot of speed.”

One of Hubbard’s greatest gifts has been to try and bring the culture of success to Temple. Against Chop Point, Temple celebrated its first “homecoming,” which included the largest crowd of the season and Hubbard himself reading starting lineups over the public address system and a live performance of the national anthem by a Temple student.

The game was preceded by a pep rally for the whole school and followed by a team dinner and a movie night.

“When you have the chance to go after it, you go after it,” Hubbard said when asked if this year has been about building for the future or about winning now. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. I think we could have a chance. There’s five seniors on the team, so you take advantage of what you have and hopefully you get some luck along the way.

“It is building (for the future), but there’s some key pieces that are here now.”

One of those pieces, of course, is Hubbard.

“We spent a lot of time this summer getting used to him and having practices and competing in the summer leagues,” Riportella said. “Taking his IQ and instilling it into us — still a very young team — it took time, but it’s starting to come together.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

]]> 0 Academy's Noah Shepherd races up field as Chop Point defender Josie Harrington pursues during a game Wednesday in Waterville.Wed, 11 Oct 2017 19:35:23 +0000
Potential candidates for Red Sox manager Wed, 11 Oct 2017 22:57:48 +0000

Brad Ausmus


Recently fired after his fourth year as manager of the declining Detroit Tigers. Was hired in Detroit by Dombrowski. A New Englander (high school in Connecticut, college at Dartmouth), Ausmus was a serious candidate in Boston before, reportedly the first choice after Farrell.



Alex Cora


In his first year as bench coach for Houston. Cora, a former utility infielder (Boston, 2006-08) is popular with a reputation as a good communicator. The Astros job is his first coaching gig in the majors, although he has managed in winter ball and the World Baseball Classic.


Ron Gardenhire

Just finished his first season as bench coach for Arizona. Was the Twins manager for 13 years (2002-14). Gardenhire, who turns 60 in two weeks, missed time early in the season after surgery for prostate cancer. His relationship with Dombrowski dates back to when the Twins and Tigers battled for the American League Central title.


DeMarlo Hale

Finished his fifth season as bench coach for Toronto. A former Red Sox minor leaguer (1983-86), Hale managed in the Sox system (1993-99) and later was a major league coach in Boston (2006-2011), the last two seasons as bench coach. He was a third base coach for Baltimore for a year before moving to Toronto.




Mike Redmond


Finished his first year as the Rockies bench coach. Redmond managed the Marlins in 2013-14, and part of 2015. A 13-year major league catcher, Redmond came up through the Marlins system (Portland, 1995-96) when Dombrowski was the general manager.




Joe Girardi

In his 10th year as the New York Yankees manager. So, this may be the biggest longshot, but it’s fun to think about Girardi coming over from the dark side. He took heat for his mismanaged Game 2 in the ALDS and there is speculation he’s on the hot seat. If he can handle the Bronx, he can handle Boston.

PLENTY OF OTHER NAMES have surfaced as candidates, including Sandy Alomar, 51 (Indians first base coach), Gary DiSarcina, 49 (current Red Sox bench coach), and Jason Varitek, 45 (special assistant to Dombrowski).

– Kevin Thomas

]]> 0, 11 Oct 2017 19:44:46 +0000
Messalonskee’s revamped line is no grounds for concern Wed, 11 Oct 2017 22:32:59 +0000 OAKLAND — To watch the Messalonskee High School football team go up and down the field most of this season, grinding out drives and scoring quickly, one can forget that this was an offense that looked completely lost not too long ago.

“We didn’t look like a team at all,” Messalonskee coach Brad Bishop said about his team’s inability to click in a preseason blowout loss to Winslow. “I knew that before the ball was even snapped.”

That game can draw chuckles from the Eagles now, because it counted as nothing more than an important lesson, and is now an outlier rather than the season’s normal effort. At 4-2, Messalonskee sits in second place in the Pine Tree Conference Class B standings, a point and a half behind top-ranked Lawrence.

“We knew we had some work to do. Everyone put their heads down, and we did what we needed to do,” said Matt Trembly, the senior right tackle and only returning starter to Messalonskee’s line from 2016.

In last week’s 36-33 win over Brewer, Messalonskee ran for 392 yards, and that success on the ground opened up the 58-yard go-ahead touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter. Fullback Austin Pelletier gained 256 yards and two touchdowns, this coming three weeks after the Eagles line helped Pelletier run for 341 yards and seven touchdowns against Skowhegan. Backs Alden Balboni and Tyler Lewis also have had 100-yard games behind the Messalonskee line. Questions about experience and inability have been answered. The Eagles enter Friday’s game against Cony averaging just under 34 points per game. In Pine Tree Conference Class B, only Skowhegan has scored more points.

“It’s a process. Everyone’s coming out here and putting in as much work as we can. I think we’ve come a long way since the first game,” senior left tackle Colin Kinney said.

Injuries have forced Bishop and his staff to continue to mix and match on the line. Junior Colton Chavarie, a backup running back, played left tackle last week against Brewer. This week against Cony, Chavarie will play center.

“Our JV center, DJ Lorrain, did a heck of a job when he came in in the fourth quarter last week. He did a fantastic job, but we want him to get some more seasoning,” Bishop said.

The lone returning starter on Messalonskee’s offensive line, Trembly is described by Bishop as a selfless, quiet leader.

“Matt will do anything you ask. He works very hard. During preseason, he would leave practice at nine in the morning and go put trusses on with his dad, then come back for the night session,” Bishop said. “He’s just a tough kid. He’s a throwback. He’s a worker.”

Trembly said as training camp began, he wasn’t concerned with whether the Eagles would be able to open holes for the talented group of backs.

“We had a lot of big kids coming up through,” Trembly said. “They have the right mindset to get the job done.”

Then there was the awful exhibition game at Winslow, followed by what Kinney called “the worst week of practice” in the days before the regular season opener at Brunswick.

“We had to stop practice early a few times and have a discussion, a senior discussion before the game on Thursday,” Kinney said, adding that what was said will stay with the team members. “What we said got to us. It was definitely inspirational and pulled some emotions out of us.”

The Eagles won at Brunswick, 23-0, beating the Dragons for the first time since 2014. Success comes down to time spent in practice working on blocking assignments, Typically, the Eagles will run a play 40 times in practice in the week leading up to a game, Bishop said. Whether it’s at full speed or a walk through, any play called in a game has been practiced dozens of times.

“It’s just a lot of repetition and a lot of walking through things,” Bishop said. “It’s a lot of work for those kids, but it pays off. We move the ball.”

Added Trembly: “We run plays for a long time. Coach gets after us if we don’t know our jobs.”

The blocking schemes used in Messalonskee’s wing-T offense are old school, but effective. Kinney tapped his left arm in explaining the fin and shoulder blocking technique the Eagles use.

“We do a lot of prioritizing, who’s going to make the tackle at that time? I’m not going to hit the guy right in front of me if he’s not going to make the tackle. I’ll typically hit a (line) backer if he’s the guy in my gap,” Kinney said. “It gets the job done. We’ve seen plenty of points on the board so far.”

Reaping the benefits of Messalonskee’s rebuilt, and rebuilt again, line are those backs. Pelletier entered the season as the top returning rusher in the conference, and Lewis and Balboni quickly established themselves as breakaway threats. The Eagles linemen know they don’t need to make a gaping hole. Messalonskee’s veteran backs are adept at reading where the hole is, and taking it.

“All you have to fit through is your waist and your shoulder pads. Any good back will tell you that. You lower your shoulders and run north and south, and that’s what we teach them,” Bishop said.

Added Kinney: “We have great backs. We knew coming into the season they were going to be great. They just need a sliver of a hole, and if we can get it for them, we can put six on the board.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

]]> 0 Messalonskee offense huddles prior to running a play during a Pine Tree Conference Clas B game last Friday in Oakland.Wed, 11 Oct 2017 18:48:22 +0000
Mt Ararat, Cony high schools investigating racial incident at boys soccer game Wed, 11 Oct 2017 21:50:53 +0000 Cony and Mt. Ararat high school administrators are investigating a reported racial incident that took place during a Sept. 28 boys varsity soccer game in Topsham.

“I’m aware of an issue that came up,” Mt. Ararat athletic director Geoff Godo said. “The administration at Cony made us aware of it. We take these types of situations very seriously. We are investigating accordingly.”

The incident reportedly involved a racial slur directed at one or more players at Cony, whose boys varsity soccer team features a number of players from diverse ethnic backgrounds, including Haitian, Iraqi and Czech families.

Brad Smith, superintendent of Topsham-based School Administrative District 75, said Wednesday that the investigation is nearing completion.

“We are still waiting to hear from one or two more students before deciding on what disciplinary action should be taken,” he said. “From our end, we are trying to determine what happened. We are trying to sort everything out.

“I do know that any form of discrimination is unacceptable. We take this very, very seriously. When people make decisions to make discriminatory comments to others, it’s completely unacceptable. This is a lesson we don’t want our high school students to learn — that they can treat people differently based on ethnicity or religious beliefs or their sexual orientation. It’s very disappointing.”

The reported incident comes at a time when racial tensions are heightened nationwide. Several players in the National Football League have also protested racial injustice in the country by kneeling during the national anthem.

Godo would not say how many students in his school were involved in the incident, but acknowledged that a Mt. Ararat soccer player and at least one spectator were being investigated.

“We don’t condone these types of comments,” he said. “We don’t tolerate them. We will investigate them. We are working to find a resolution, because this is not the kind of thing anyone wants associated with their community or school. It’s unfortunate.”

According to the Maine Association of Soccer Officials, no players were issued red cards in that Sept. 28 game — which Mt. Ararat won 1-0 — for unsporting behavior. Red cards can be issued for insulting or abusive language and trigger an automatic ejection from the game. Two yellow cards were issued for reckless challenges.

The coaches and athletic directors “have communicated about the game and the Mt. Ararat school department is dealing with the situation,” Cony athletic director Paul Vachon said.

Cony soccer coach Jon Millett declined comment and Vachon would not say what prompted Cony to report the incident to Mt. Ararat. Several phone calls to parents of Cony soccer players were also not returned.

Karen McCormick, whose son, Simon, is black and plays on the team, said in a Facebook message that she wasn’t comfortable discussing the situation, but remained confident the schools were handling it.

“From what I know the coaches, (athletic directors) and principals are dealing with the issues,” Karen McCormick wrote in response to a Facebook message seeking comment on the incident. “I trust it will be taken care of.”

In a Sept. 28 Facebook post to the Cony boys soccer page, Millett praised his team with how it handled the game.

“I’m proud of our guys tonight of the way they played through a multitude of adversity,” Millett wrote at 9:48 p.m. on Sept. 28. “Like life, there were many things like fans and refs we couldn’t control and despite this the boys persevered as a team to the end.”

Smith, the schools’ superintendent, said there are ultimately lessons to be learned.

“This is serious and it will be dealt with,” he said. “Discrimination of any kind is flat-out off limits.”

Sports editor Bill Stewart contributed to this report.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621


]]> 0's Vlastimil Horaki chases after a ball during a Class A North game last Friday against Messalonskee in Augusta.Fri, 13 Oct 2017 21:41:46 +0000
On Baseball: Red Sox were in need of a new voice to lead team Wed, 11 Oct 2017 20:58:58 +0000 Dave Dombrowski fired manager John Farrell but did not offer a reason why. “I’m not going to share facts,” Dombrowski said at a press conference Wednesday at Fenway Park.

But the Boston Red Sox president must believe that Farrell cannot take this team of mostly young talent any further.

“John did a nice job for us,” Dombrowski said. “We won divisions. We won a world championship. He’s a good baseball man … I think it’s time for a change.”

After two straight division titles?

“You can weigh success in a lot of ways and that (two division titles) is very successful,” Dombrowski said. “The ultimate success is win the world championship … and I feel very strongly about that.

“That’s not the reason this change (firing Farrell) was made.”

Don’t believe it.

Do you think that, if the Red Sox finished this postseason with a champagne bath in late October, Farrell would have been fired?

But Boston exited early from the playoffs. Dombrowski took his share of the blame – “I didn’t supply the players that would give us enough runs” – but he also lost faith in Farrell’s ability to lead.

Dombrowski talked about “a lot of different factors” and watching the team “day in and day out.”

“We can always get better,” he said. “We will look to get better.

“A new manager coming in will provide an overall different dynamic.”

Go ahead and Google the definition of dynamic: “A force that stimulates change.”

Change was needed.

By why? How come a manager of a 2013 World Series champion is no longer qualified to manage the team?

Because these current Red Sox don’t resemble that 2013 team at all. Dustin Pedroia is the only leftover from the 2013 Opening Day roster.

Back then, there was veteran presence, leadership and respect. Coaches said their jobs were easy because the players “went about their business” the right way.

When then-coach Arnie Beyeler organized a pregame workout for a group of young outfielders, Jonny Gomes would grab a glove to join them – leading by example. David Ortiz was obviously a big presence, but so was Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew and Jon Lester.

Today’s clubhouse features mostly young players. Pedroia is still around, but you wonder about his influence, especially after the Manny Machado incident in April. Machado spiked Pedroia while sliding into second base. Matt Barnes later threw a pitch behind Machado’s head. As Barnes was ejected, Pedroia yelled to Machado, “That’s not me. That’s them,” and later criticized his own team for a “mishandled situation.”

Farrell said the incident did not cause a rift in the clubhouse. “This is a team that’s got one another’s back. And we handle it as a team.”

Still, you had to wonder.

The worst incidents, by far, were the David Price tantrums. In June, Price instigated two loud and angry exchanges with reporters.

Then in July, on the team plane, Price publicly mocked and cursed Dennis Eckersley, a Hall of Fame pitcher and popular Red Sox TV analyst.

That would never had happened in 2013. Maturity and respect has been replaced by thin-skinned and embarrassing actions.

This is not the example of “going about your business” that will build a championship environment. If there are not enough veterans to lead the way, then the manager must set the tone.

So, yes, a “different dynamic” is needed.

Give Farrell credit for guiding a division champion this year, despite such distractions (and the lack of a run-producing offense). And he does not get all the blame for a flawed team.

But, despite its young talent, there is the sense that Boston won’t keep up with the contenders. The young Astros has already surged past, and the young Yankees should be the AL East favorites next year.

Moves must be made, and the first one arrived Wednesday.

]]> 0 John Farrell seems unconcerned about the number of road games the Red Sox have had to play of late. "This is what we've been dealt. You just let it roll off your back," he said.Thu, 12 Oct 2017 21:54:37 +0000
Dombrowski on Farrell firing: ‘It was the appropriate time to make a change’ Wed, 11 Oct 2017 13:34:28 +0000 BOSTON — John Farrell racked up a lot of wins and a World Series title with the Boston Red Sox. But past success wasn’t enough to save his job after consecutive early playoff exits.

Boston fired Farrell on Wednesday after the team’s second straight loss in the American League Division Series.

The Red Sox announced the move less than 48 hours after they were eliminated from the World Series hunt with a 5-4 loss to the Houston Astros. Farrell’s contract had been scheduled to run through the 2018 season.

Boston won back-to-back American League East titles for the first time in franchise history this season despite losing the bat of retired slugger David Ortiz. It also did it despite starting the season with $217 million pitcher David Price on the disabled list and watching as 2016 Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello stumbled to an 11-17 record.

“I thought it was the appropriate time to make a change for the betterment of the organization,” said Dave Dombrowski, president of baseball operations for the Red Sox.

Farrell managed the team to its eighth World Series title in 2013, his first season in charge of the club.

Farrell went 432-378 over five seasons with Boston. He began his coaching career with the Red Sox as a pitching coach from 2007-2010. Farrell also was part of the team’s 2007 World Series title. He began his major league managerial career with Toronto and went 154-170 over two seasons.

“Despite an end to this season that we all wanted to be different, I am proud of this ballclub and the resiliency shown,” Farrell said in a statement released by the Red Sox. “I have enjoyed every moment of this job — its peaks and its valleys. There are few, if any, positions in life that create so much passion on a daily basis.”

He also thanked the organization for its support “through a challenging and scary period in my own life,” referring to when he was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2015.

“I remain forever indebted,” Farrell said.

Dombrowski wouldn’t go into specifics on his thought process, but said “a lot of different factors” went into the decision to make the move. He said the team plans to move swiftly on its next hire and that the next manager would “most likely not” be a member of Farrell’s current coaching staff.

Dombrowski said it would be important to be comfortable in front of media and relatable to the team’s current young core.

Farrell leaves with a win total that ranks sixth in club history and he is second in postseason appearances (three) behind Terry Francona (five). He is also the only manager in in club history to finish in first place in the division three times.

Dombrowski said the baseline for success in Boston is different.

“I think you can weigh success in a lot of different ways and that’s very successful. … For me, the ultimate success is winning the world championship,” Dombrowski said.

Farrell said after losing to the Astros that the team didn’t meet its goals but had some good young players continue to develop.

“We had a number of challenges thrown our way from individual injuries to performance,” he said. “But as a team they stuck together.”

The offense slumped after Ortiz retired, even though the team had baseball’s third-highest payroll. Several players also had health issues, including second baseman Dustin Pedroia and pitcher Drew Pomeranz.

There also was an off-field incident in June when Price confronted Hall of Fame pitcher and current television analyst Dennis Eckersley on a team flight.

Price was upset Eckersley didn’t make himself available to the players after what they felt were critical comments about the team. Farrell later said the team had “moved on” from the incident, but the way it lingered raised questions about his control of the clubhouse .

Dombrowski reiterated that the organization was past that incident and said his personal relationship with Price is “fine.”

But Dombrowski conceded that being able to thrive as a manager under Boston’s unrelenting spotlight is a must. He said he’s talked to quality managers in the past that he respects that won’t manage in Boston.

It will make his search tougher, but he believes he can find the right person.

“You have to be prepared to take it,” Dombrowski said. “This is a great baseball city. …But there’s a lot of scrutiny. …I think it’s for some people and it’s not for others.”

]]> 0 John Farrell has won a World Series and led the Red Sox to the AL East title last year, but some suggested he be replaced after a frustrating start this season.Thu, 12 Oct 2017 08:17:25 +0000
World Series collection including items from Koufax, Berra, Mays a big hit at Colby Wed, 11 Oct 2017 08:00:00 +0000

This photograph signed by Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, showing him pitching against the Minnesota Twins in a 1965 World Series game, is part of the collection donated to Colby College. Staff photo by David Leaming

WATERVILLE — It all started when a friend gave Kurt Cerulli a baseball signed by Yogi Berra.

Over the next 15 years, Cerulli collected a treasure trove of baseball memorabilia, much of it focused on autographed World Series programs, ticket stubs and baseballs. He wanted each piece of memorabilia to tell a story. Nearly every signature includes a statistic or phrase evoking a notable achievement.

“I was after particular inscriptions,” said Cerulli, 60, a 1978 graduate of Colby College. “I’m really not a sports fanatic despite the fact that I have a lot of sports stuff.”

Cerulli is the CEO of Cerulli Associates, a financial data analysis firm in Boston. He and his wife, Mary, recently decided to downsize from their home of 25 years. So he called to see if the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, would be interested in his collection, but they wanted only 50 or 60 items. The New England Sports Museum in Boston seemed a suitable place – until Cerulli mentioned the collection to someone in Colby’s development office.

David Greene, president of the college, called Cerulli the next morning.

These 1963 World Series posters and a ticket are part of the memorabilia collection donated to Colby College by alumnus Kurt Cerulli. Staff Photo by David Leamin

“The (sports museum) folks in Boston, they were basically about ready to grab this collection,” said Richard Uchida, Colby’s vice president, general counsel and secretary. “We jumped in and said, ‘We think we can do with this collection something much more marvelous than the sports museum can.’ ”


Within a month, the collection had been photographed, catalogued and sent to Waterville, where the college plans to put it on display for the public on Oct. 20, a day after a trustees meeting, and during homecoming weekend on Oct. 28-29.

Colby College Vice President Richard Uchida and Patricia Burdick, assistant director for special collections, look over signed World Series posters and baseballs from Cerulli’s collection on Tuesday. Uchida said he hopes “to work some of the (items) into the curriculum.” Staff photo by David Leaming

The collection is as much a part of America’s social history as it is about baseball. Uchida spoke of using the collection in American Studies courses in the context of its times – World War II, the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement. He cited the important roles played by Curt Flood in challenging baseball’s reserve clause and by Marvin Miller, baseball’s first union leader, in the country’s labor movement.

On Tuesday afternoon, Uchida and Patricia Burdick, assistant director for special collections, showed a sampling of the memorabilia inside Miller Library. Set out on a long table were six open-topped white boxes, each with 16 compartments containing a Rawlings major league baseball inscribed with one or more signatures.

Box No. 1 held a ball signed by Mickey Owen and Tommy Henrich above a date (10/5/41) that linked them in history. The Brooklyn Dodgers led the Yankees by a run with two out in the top of the ninth in Game 4 of their 1941 World Series. Henrich swung at strike three, but the pitch got past Owen and skipped all the way to the backstop, allowing Henrich to reach base. The Yankees went on to win, took a 3-1 Series lead and the Dodgers wouldn’t return to the Fall Classic until 1947 and wouldn’t win it until 1955.

Uchida picked up a program from the 1965 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins.

“Some of the advertisements in these programs are remarkable,” he said, “not just in terms of American Studies, but in terms of economics and culture in the ’60s and in the ’50s and in the ’70s and in the ’80s that really tell stories about America.”


The 1943 World Series program (Yankees-Cardinals) barely gives a nod to baseball with a round black-and-white photo taken from deep in right field, surrounded by artistic renderings of young men serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

A photograph of Willie Mays is part of a 600-item collection of baseball memorabilia donated to Colby College in Waterville by alumnus Kurt Cerulli, a Boston businessman. Staff photo by David Leaming

It can be enlightening to “be able to look through the programs and figure out, what was America thinking during times of strife?” Uchida said. “How were we thinking about baseball as America’s pastime at a time when we’re at war?”

“It’s really amazing,” said Kate Carlisle, Colby’s communications director, “how these programs reflect, subtly and unsubtly, the backdrop that the games are being played against.”

Cerulli framed the 1956 (Dodgers-Yankees) World Series program cover festooned with signatures and stats of the players, including New York’s Don Larsen (WS MVP, PG 10-8-56), Yogi Berra (3 HRs, 10 RBI), Whitey Ford (Game 7 Win) and Moose Skowron (Grand Slam GM7), and Brooklyn’s Duke Snider (’56 NL HR CHAMP 43), Don Newcombe (’56 Cy Young, NL MVP, 27-7), Carl Erskine (No-hitter May 12, 1956), Clem Labine (Game 6 win, 10 innings 1-0), Ralph Branca and Johnny Podres.


A baseball signed by Boston Red Sox’ Ron Jackson is part of a 600-item collection donated to Colby College by alumnus Kurt Cerulli. Staff photo by David Leaming

Alongside, also under glass, is a ticket stub and photo of Berra leaping into the arms of Larsen at the conclusion of his perfect game, the only one in World Series history. Both men signed both items.

There is more, so much more, upward of 600 items to explore. Sandy Koufax, notably reticent with autographs, signed several items. Cerulli said he nearly always worked through intermediaries to build the collection.

“A big part of it is the energy and the effort involved in the hunt,” Cerulli said by phone Tuesday. “The amount I spent doesn’t add up to all that much. It’s more the sweat equity.”

His Boston office is not bereft of memorabilia. One conference room is adorned with English Premier League soccer items. Another features female athletes. A third is devoted to Hall of Fame pitchers.

But the World Series stuff? That’s all at Colby now.

“We’re not only imagining it here, but downtown (Waterville), and moving around to other venues including possibly to a sports museum in Boston, but also to work some of the (items) into the curriculum as well,” Uchida said. “One thing Kurt didn’t want to do was to have this collection put away in a museum where people could look at it but it would gather dust.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

]]> 0 the items in Colby College's new collection: a photograph from the 1965 World Series signed by L.A. Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, top, and a Red Sox baseball signed by Ron Jackson.Wed, 11 Oct 2017 11:56:24 +0000
High school roundup: Erskine girls soccer picks up big win over Winslow Wed, 11 Oct 2017 01:28:48 +0000 SOUTH CHINA — Kayla Hubbard scored midway through the first half and it held up as Erskine defeated Winslow 1-0 in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B girls soccer action Tuesday.

Taylor Shute made 10 saves to preserve the victory for Erskine (9-1-3).

Winslow dropped to 10-2-1.

MARANACOOK 0, MORSE 0: Skyeler Webb had 20 saves to help the Black Bears (6-3-4) earn a KVAC tie in Readfield.

Marissa Parks had 10 saves for Morse (7-3-2).

MESSALONSKEE 1, HAMPDEN 1, OT: Edin Sisson’s second-half penalty kick pulled the Eagles into the KVAC A draw in Oakland.

Hannah DelGiudice made four saves for the Eagles (8-1-3), who trailed at halftime.

Helen Shearer scored for Hampden (5-4-3).

OCEANSIDE 3, GARDINER 0: Hope Butler scored twice to lead the Mariners to the KVAC B win in Gardiner.

Claire Zittel added a goal for Oceanside (7-4-1) while Rachel Joyce stopped 10 shots in net.

Bri Perry made 25 saves for the Tigers (0-11-1).


GARDINER 5, OCEANSIDE 1: Casey Bourque scored three goals to lead the Tigers to a KVAC B win.

Garrett Lunt and Isaac Gammon had the other goals for Gardiner (3-8-1). Alic Shorey made two saves.

Uriah Thongsophaphone scored for the Mariners (0-11-1). Caleb Powell stopped eight shots.

RICHMOND 4, ST. DOMINIC 1: Zach Small scored three goals and Matt Rines addd a goal and two assists to lead the Bobcats in Richmond.

Michee Kikobo scored for the Saints (4-7-1).

Trystin Shea and Kyle Tilton combined to make three saves for Richmond (12-0-0).

MONMOUTH 3, WINTHROP 0: Wade Coulombe scored a pair of first-half goals to help lead the Mustangs to the Mountain Valley Conference win in Winthrop.

Avery Pomerleau also scored for Monmouth (11-0-1), which got a six-save shutout from Bradley Neal.

Ben Boulay made 14 saves for Winthrop (5-7-1).

MESSALONSKEE 2, HAMPDEN 1, OT: Ryan McCarthy scored with under a minute remaining in extra time as the Eagles kept their postseason hopes alive with the KVAC A win in Hampden.

Elijah Caret also scored for Messalonskee (5-5-2), and Chase Warren made seven saves.

Alex Ross scored for Hampden (3-8-1) on a penalty kick in the first half.


CONY 6, BRUNSWICK 1: Six different players scored as the Rams used a balanced attack to earn the KVAC a win in Augusta.

Faith Leathers-Pouliot, Cari Hopkins, Sophie Whitney, Allee Cloutier, Danielle Brox and Abbey Trow each scored to lead the Rams (6-6-1). Jessica Lee made six saves.

Erin Coughlin had the goal for the Dragons (5-8-0). Ainsley Harrower and Libby Felkay combined to make 11 saves.

MARANACOOK 3, LINCOLN 0: Abygail Jacques scored two goals and had an assist to lead the Black Bears to a win in Newcastle.

Erin Bonenfant added a goal for Maranacook (3-10). Alyssa Pratt had seven saves for the shutout.

Lincoln falls to 2-12.

]]> 0 Tue, 10 Oct 2017 21:32:23 +0000