SACO — Thornton Academy Coach Kevin Kezal pointed out that star player Andrew Libby didn’t gain the most yards in the SMAA, catch the most passes or make the most tackles.
But when it came to all phases of the game, there was nobody better.
“Andrew’s a big reason why we were successful,” said Kezal.
Libby would be the first to tell you he couldn’t have had the season he had without his teammates. He had a great supporting cast. But Libby, a junior, 6-foot, 195-pound running back/safety, hardly left the field, particularly in the playoffs, as Thornton captured the Class A state championship.
Libby moved around in the backfield — at times lining up at halfback, slot back and as quarterback, taking the snap in shotgun. He was the starting safety. He returned kickoffs and punts. He was the punter.
And Libby put up some impressive statistics even if they weren’t first in every category. The body of work was what was impressive. Libby was named Maine’s Gatorade Player of the Year two weeks ago and now he can add a second honor. Libby is the Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year in Maine high school football for 2012.
Libby will be honored next June at the Maine Sunday Telegram’s MVP banquet.
Libby played in the secondary his freshman year with some time in the backfield. He started both ways his sophomore year with similar responsibilities this season. Libby was named to the Maine Sunday Telegram All-State team as a sophomore.
Having just finished his 13th year as head coach, Kezal said Libby ranks right up there with some of the top players he has coached.
“What separates them is their hard work,” said Kezal. “Andrew had essentially the same role this year as last. His role next season remains to be seen.”
There was no question of Libby’s value to the Golden Trojans this season.
“Andrew was the focal point,” said Kezal.
“We wanted the ball in his hands as much as possible.”
Because the Golden Trojans (11-1) had talent surrounding Libby, the offense spread the ball around. Libby averaged 12 touches a game during the regular season, but that number steadily increased late in the season and more than doubled in the playoffs. The Golden Trojans had their horse and they were going to ride him in the playoffs.
In the Western Maine final against Cheverus (20-13) and a week later in the state final against Lawrence (37-23), Libby carried the ball 34 and 31 times respectively. He scored three touchdowns against Cheverus and two against Lawrence.
“It was a lot of fun being able to play a lot of different positions,” said Libby.
“The team playing together and becoming a family was special,” he said.
Libby, who recently began workouts for next season, said the team is still receiving congratulations.
“It’s been awesome. We were honored by the Red Claws at a game last week,” he said.
Libby carried the ball 182 times for 1,092 yards and 23 touchdowns. He caught 17 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. He returned four punts (57, 57, 62 and 48 yards) for touchdowns and had an interception return for a touchdown. He finished with 30 touchdowns and four PATs for a total of 188 points.
In the offseason, Libby said he will work on improving his speed, agility, his explosiveness and pass catching while lifting weights.
With several players graduating, the Golden Trojans will have a new look. Libby could have even a bigger role in terms of the number of carries, if that’s possible. What won’t change are the goals.
“We want to come out strong, win our first game, make it to the playoffs and defend our state title,” he said.
“We’ll have a good team. We’ll be confident because of what happened this year, but we won’t be cocky.”
A good student, Libby wants to play in college, but said it’s too early to know where.
“I’m still researching schools,” he said.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: