This much is known: The winner of the 40th James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy will be a quarterback.

The three finalists for the prestigious award, which goes annually to the top senior football player in the state, are Peter Gwilym of Cheverus, Cam Kaubris of Mountain Valley and Jamie Ross of Deering.

They were the top vote-getters among 13 semifinalists by the state’s football coaches and members of the media who cover high school football on a regular basis.

The winner will be announced at the Fitzpatrick Trophy banquet Jan. 16 at Holiday Inn the Bay in Portland.

Gwilym and Kaubris led their teams to 12-0 records, winning state titles last month at Fitzpatrick Stadium, which is also named for the trophy’s namesake — a legend as an athlete at Boston College, then as a coach at Portland High.

Gwilym’s Stags throttled Bangor 46-8 for the Class A title and Kaubris’ Falcons shut out Leavitt 20-0 in Class B.

And Ross? His team came within 2 feet of making it to the Class A final.

That was the margin that his 36-yard field-goal attempt went wide with 6.9 seconds left in the Western Maine final against Cheverus. The Stags triumphed 35-34 in one of the most exciting playoff games in years.

Ross led Deering from a 29-6 deficit to a 34-29 lead. Gwilym then guided the Stags on a 70-yard drive for the winning touchdown with 30 seconds left.

While his team didn’t make it to Super Saturday, Ross had eye-popping statistics. He passed for 20 touchdowns and 1,874 yards, and ran for another 21 touchdowns and 988 yards for the Rams, who finished 8-3.

While quarterback was their primary position, all three contributed in so many other ways.

Gwilym and Kaubris were outstanding defensive backs. Ross didn’t play defense because Deering wanted to protect him, but he punted and did the team’s kicking. His strong leg got off several booming punts during the season and he regularly booted kickoffs into the end zone.

Gwilym had a knack for delivering the big play. He returned an interception 106 yards against Deering and made the key run on the winning drive.

Gwilym already has won the Dave Allen Award as the SMAA’s MVP, and the Gatorade Player of the Year Award. As a quarterback, he carried 120 times for 705 yards and 13 touchdowns. He completed 52 of 88 passes for 763 yards and nine touchdowns. He threw only two interceptions.

On defense he had 81 unassisted tackles, five interceptions and three forced fumbles.

Kaubris, who has shown big- play potential throughout his career, passed for 847 yards and 11 touchdowns, and scored eight touchdowns. He also had 10 interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. He also knocked down nine passes and had 35 tackles.

Of the previous 39 Fitzy winners, 12 have been quarterbacks.

What will be a first is one of these schools will have their first winner.

Cheverus and Deering have never had a winner. Neither has Mountain Valley, although the second winner of the trophy, Marty Milligan (1972), was from Rumford. The towns of Rumford and Mexico, which had separate high schools, merged to form Mountain Valley High in the fall of 1989.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

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