One thing is certain: The 47th winner of the James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy showed he could make an impact in more than one way on the football field.
One of the three finalists will be announced as the winner at a noon luncheon Sunday at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland. The trophy goes annually to the top Maine high school senior in football.
Jack Bryant of Falmouth was a dual threat quarterback who guided his team to an 8-3 record and about 10 yards shy of a state title berth. Owen Garrard of Scarborough and Nolan Potter of Wells, each of whom played running back and linebacker, overpowered opponents on both sides of the ball while leading their teams to state championships.
“I think in the past you’ve seen guys who play on both sides of the ball and do more things are considered more for the award,” Bryant said. “If you want to be considered the best football player in the state you have to be able to do a lot of things.”
That Bryant, Garrard and Potter emerged as the three finalists from the group of 12 semifinalists was not a surprise.
Of the five quarterbacks on the Fitzy semifinalist list, Bryant produced the most total offense and touchdowns, passing for 1,509 yards and 17 touchdowns, and rushing for 1,036 yards and 18 scores.
Garrard, the Maine Sunday Telegram’s Player of the Year, averaged 8.7 yards per carry en route to 1,204 yards and 24 touchdowns, and made 76 tackles (10 for loss) as Scarborough roared to its first Class A championship.
Potter led Wells to an unbeaten season and the Class D title, rushing for 1,550 yards and 28 touchdowns while making more than 100 tackles and forcing four fumbles.
No Class D player has won the award. In 31 of the previous 46 years of the Fitzy, Maine high school football was a three-class system. Class C players Lee St. Hilaire of Winthrop (2001) and Nick Tymoczko of Bucksport (2004) won when Maine had a three-division format. Only Class A players were considered for the award until 1996.
The Fitzpatrick Trophy was first awarded in 1971, and honors former Portland High coach and educator James J. Fitzpatrick.
It is supported through a trust established by Julius “Yudy” Elowitch.
This year’s finalists represent three schools without a past winner. Only Wells previously had finalists, including Chris Carney in 2014 and Louie DiTomasso in 2011.
The other nine semifinalists are also invited to attend the award banquet with family and friends. They are Leavitt quarterback Tim Albert, Foxcroft Academy quarterback Nick Clawson, Edward Little quarterback Grant Hartley, Thornton Academy linebacker Cameron Houde, Mount Desert Island running back Colby Lee, Cony wide receiver Jordan Roddy, Bonny Eagle quarterback Connor Sirois, Cape Elizabeth running back Ryan Weare and Madison running back Sean Whalen.
This year’s guest speaker will be Tom Allen, a former six-term U.S. Representative, who was captain of his football teams at Deering High in Portland and Bowdoin College, and a Rhodes scholar.
Tickets for the luncheon and ceremonies can be purchased at the door for $25.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:
Source: Portland press47th Fitzpatrick Trophy winner to be announced Sunday