HEBRON — Eight months after the football sailed a few feet off its intended path, Jamie Ross replays the kick. Not as often as he once did, but he won’t forget what everyone tells him to forget.

“I hear that a lot. People tell me I played in one of the greatest high school games they ever saw and I should remember that. Well, that helps. It was a great game. But we lost.”

Ross is a winner, a keeper. He will share quarterbacking duties Saturday, playing for the West in the annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford.

He had an outstanding senior year at Deering High, throwing winning touchdown passes, hitting winning shots in basketball, and winning games on the mound and from the batter’s box in baseball.

For all the games he’s won, he remembers the one he didn’t. At one of his first practices at the weeklong training camp at Hebron Academy, Ross worked on his place-kicking.

“The coach talked about kicks hitting the left (goal post). I don’t think he was talking about that kick but it made me remember.”

That kick was for a 36-yard field goal. It had plenty of distance and just enough misdirection in the closing seconds of the Cheverus-Deering game for the Western Class A title last November. Cheverus won, 35-34.

Cheverus went to the state championship game and beat Bangor at Fitzpatrick Stadium. Ross was at that game as a spectator.

It is human nature to play the what-if game and Ross is very human. So many things might have been different.

He saw Carli Lloyd of the U.S women’s soccer team boot her penalty kick over the crossbar in Sunday’s loss to Japan in the World Cup final. He could put himself in her shoes as she stood in disbelief.

He feels for Hope Solo, the U.S. goalie who couldn’t make that last great save on the great shot by Japan that would send the game to penalty kicks. A few inches or a few feet can change so much.

He watched Deering High classmate Kayla Burchill miss foul shots that might have beaten McAuley in the Western Class A final.

“We talked a little. It’s easy for others to say, ‘How did they miss?’ She makes those shots hundreds of times in practice. I make those kicks in practice. But practice doesn’t simulate a real game all the time.

“I felt worse for my teammates. I know how much winning meant to them.”

Ross also understands the sobering reality of life away from sports. He listened to Ed Warren and Caitlin Bazinet at this year’s Lobster Bowl banquet. Warren was born with deformed legs and is a Shriner’s Hospital patient from infancy. Representing Sacopee Valley in last year’s game, Warren kicked an extra point of nearly 40 yards after penalties were walked off against his West team.

Bazinent, of Winthrop, was trapped and screaming in a burning car that crashed into a utility pole and overturned two years ago. She lost both hands and feet. After more than two dozen surgeries and months of rehab, mostly at Shriner’s Hospital, she walked down the aisle to receive her high school diploma five months later.

“What both had to say was deep, very deep,” said Ross. “How we persevere is what’s important.”

So he missed a field goal. So his life was altered a little. He doesn’t minimize it, but certainly gets the difference between his loss and their experiences.

Ross spent much of his early summer at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., getting an early start on classwork and working on his conditioning. He’s listed on the depth charts at quarterback and place-kicker for the Northeast Conference school – an FCS league, just like UMaine plays in. He chose football over basketball and baseball.

“Success had a lot to do with staying with football. The friends, too. Even here. I didn’t want to like any of their (East team’s) guys. You notice that they’re not all these animals just because they’re your opponents. They’re good guys. This has been a lot of fun. I know it’s only a week, it’s a charity game and when it’s over, everyone gets on with their lives.

“I know it’s a game I want to win.”

 

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: SteveSolloway