Throughtout the 2014 football season, Madison Area Memorial High School football coach Scott Franzose and senior captain Cody Soucier joked about how things were back in the day. It was a lighthearted acknowledgement of Madison’s strong football past, while this year’s Bulldogs went about bringing some of that back.

“We’re serious about our tradition. That’s big. It’s a huge part of our community,” Franzose, who graduated from Madison in 1986, said. “For our kids now, it’s about building our tradition.”

Under Franzose this season, the Bulldogs won four games and reached the playoffs for the first time in almost 20 years. For his work in helping the Bulldogs to their best season in a generation, Scott Franzose is the Morning Sentinel Football Coach of the Year.

“He knew we had the talent this year,” Soucier said. “He had a lot of faith in what we were doing.”

Also considered were Mike Siviski, who led Winslow to the Class C state championship, Tom Bertrand, who coached Maine Central Instutute to its first Little Ten Conference title in 14 years, and John Hersom, who led Lawrence to the Pine Tree Conference Class B championship game.

Madison started the season 1-3, including a wild 82-60 home loss to Belfast. After that game in Week 4, Franzose stressed to his team it could move on, improve, and make a playoff run.

“He told us (the Belfast game) was a fluke thing. He said ‘Don’t let it determine what’s going to happen the rest of the season,'” Soucier said.

“You win by executing,” Franzose said. “We played well at times in our first three games… As coaches, we just said ‘Don’t panic.’ We knew we were a small school with small numbers, but no excuses.”

The Bulldogs followed the Befast game with a 26-13 win over Mt. Desert Island, and that game began the three-game win streak that earned Madison a spot in the Eastern Class C playoffs.

Franzose counts among his coaching influences Art and Carl Rudman, the father-son coaching duo who led Madison to four state titles in the 1980s and ’90s.

“Everything they did was meticulous. They detailed practice right down to the minute,” Franzose said. “When I played for him, I saw Art as a father figure. I still see him like that to this day.”

In 2012, Madison’s football field was named Rudman Field in their honor. Before the season, Franzose gathered the team around the memorial dedicating the field to the Rudmans, and talked about Madison football tradition.

“We asked, what do we want to do to be a part of that,” Franzose said.

Soucier said Franzose’s hard work rubbed off on the team. On bus rides home from road games, Franzose would be on his laptop, burning discs of the game film for assistant coaches. By Saturday morning, players would have information packets on the next opponent waiting, Soucier said.

“He puts in more time than anyone I know,” Soucier said. “He’s a big role model for a lot of kids.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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