PORTLAND — Donald Goodrich recalled a moment when he visited Cheverus High with his father prior to transferring there for his junior year.
Goodrich, a sophomore at York at the time, told the story during his speech Sunday as one of the finalists for the James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy.
Goodrich saw Peter Gwilym’s Fitzpatrick Trophy in the trophy case at the school.
“I want one of those,” Goodrich said to his father, Jerry.
“Don’t you even think about it,” said his father. “You have to make the team first.”
Goodrich did make the team and embarked on a starry two seasons with the Stags.
His remark turned out prophetic, as the Maine Sunday Telegram All-State running back was named the winner of the Fitzpatrick Trophy as the top senior football player in the state in a ceremony at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.
Goodrich’s statement to his father was perhaps more youthful exuberance than anything else.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Goodrich said about the move from York, a Class B school, to Cheverus, a Class A powerhouse.
“I knew I was moving up. I had heard good things about Cheverus because one of my cousins had graduated from there. But I didn’t expect to play,” said Goodrich.
“Spencer Cooke was a great running back. There was no way I was going to play ahead of him. I was going to accept my lot as a backup player. I was surprised when Coach Wolfgram inserted me at defensive end.”
Goodrich had all the football credentials as well as the academic and character requisites to become the 42nd winner of the trophy named for a legendary Portland High teacher, coach and Boston College athlete.
His fellow semifinalists, Alex Shain of Sanford and Chandler Shostak of Cony had equally impressive credentials. The three were seen chatting it up during the ceremony.
Goodrich said he was surprised, and yes, shocked when his name was called.
“Alex and Chandler had tremendous seasons. They or any of the 12 semifinalists could be the ones holding this trophy,” he said.
“This trophy means everything to me. I couldn’t have won it without my teammates and coaches.”
Goodrich joins Gwilym, the 2010 winner, as the only Cheverus players to receive the bronze statue.
Goodrich is a two-time All-State player. He was selected as defensive end as a junior and as a running back this past fall.
He was the go-to player for the Stags (10-1), who set a Class A record with 34 consecutive wins over three seasons before losing to Thornton Academy in the Western Maine final. Goodrich was instrumental in 22 of those wins, including a Class A state championship his junior season. He scored 28 touchdowns as a senior and rushed for 1,722 yards. As a defensive end, he had 43 solo tackles and seven sacks.
Last year, Goodrich took over as the starting running back late in the season after an injury to Cooke, who also was a Fitzy finalist.
In the Class A state final against Lawrence, Goodrich ran for five touchdowns.
Cheverus’ bid to win a third straight state title ended when Thornton beat Cheverus 20-13 in the regional final.
While winning the Fitzy was a special moment for Goodrich, he said it doesn’t make up for Cheverus falling short of winning another Gold Ball.
“Team first,” said Goodrich. “Always the team.”
Goodrich said he enjoyed his time at York and learned a lot playing for Coach Randy Small.
“(The transfer) wasn’t for sports,” he said. “It was for the opportunities Cheverus offers and the Catholic religion, which is important to me. York is a great school.”
Goodrich’s sister, Abigail, is a sophomore at Cheverus.
Goodrich said he is considering several colleges and would like to continue playing football.
He’s looking at a wide range of schools — Holy Cross, Boston College, New Hampshire, Wagner, Colby, Trinity and others.
“I haven’t decided yet,” he said.
Brian Seguin of Scarborough, the 1987 Fitzy winner from Lewiston High, was the guest speaker. Each year, the 25th anniversary winner is invited to speak.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:
CORRECTION: This story was updated Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2012 to reflect that Cheverus played Lawrence in the Class A state final.