After losing most of its top scorers from a year ago, two-time Class B boys’ champion Falmouth needed someone who could step in and control the offense and take pressure off the defense.
The Yachtsmen got just what they needed when IV Stucker enrolled last fall.
“After losing so many guys from our attack position, just to have him come in and be able to settle the ball down, and allow our middies to come down and get involved in our offense, to be able to control the ball and possess the ball, is really a big thing,” Falmouth Coach Mike LeBel said.
Stucker learned to play in Baltimore. Two years ago, when he was a freshman, Stucker played for the junior varsity at Calvert Hall, ranked among the nation’s top four high school teams by the LAXPower web site. Last spring he played for Plano West, a top program in north Texas.
“His experience level is just head and shoulders above anyone on my team,” LeBel said. “He’s seen the sport (played) at a higher level, and he knows what he takes to get there.”
“Playing with so many good kids and learning from some of the best coaches I’ve ever been around just makes you better,” Stucker said. “They expect you to be the best you can be and they make you better.”
“He’s an offensive asset,” said Charlie Fay, a senior midfielder, “Having him out there opens up the field for a lot of us. (Other teams) are hearing about him and that puts a lot of pressure on them.”
Stucker said his family looked into moving to Maine near the end of his sophomore year in Texas.
“When we came up here last spring, we found a house on the water, one to fix up, and my parents fell in love with it,” he said.
THE BRUNSWICK boys have gotten off to a 6-0 start with perhaps the youngest, most inexperienced lineup in the state.
The fast start has made the Dragons the top-ranked team in Eastern Class A.
“We have a younger group that came through that is working really hard, so I knew we would be pretty good but that there would be a lot of question marks,” Brunswick Coach Don Glover said.
A lot of those questions have been answered in the first three weeks of the season.
“We graduated pretty much all of our defense, and we graduated a lot of our scorers and playmakers from last year, so it was kind of a blank slate,” Glover said.
“We took some chances in the tryouts and we’ve had a good start to the season so far.”
During the course of the regular season, the Dragons play home-and-home series with a number of teams on their schedule.
Coming up are repeat matches against solid squads from Edward Little, Lewiston, Messalonskee and Mt. Ararat.
“By no means can we take any games for granted for the rest of the season. We’ve been pleasantly surprised in the first half of the season, and the kids realize that the things we’re putting into play are fitting together nicely, so they’ve got to keep the work ethic up and see how far we can push into the playoffs.”
THE KENNEBUNK boys also have gotten off to a 6-0 start to rank behind only South Portland and Scarborough in Western Class A.
Kennebunk Coach Dan Seavey isn’t surprised how well the young Rams have been doing.
“I am impressed with the way we’ve been playing,” he said. “It’s a great group of guys, a young group of guys who are playing very well. They’ve really stepped up. We lost of a lot of seniors last year.”
As a member of the SMAA, Kennebunk plays each team on its schedule once.
Coming up in the near future are games against Scarborough and South Portland, as well as a Class B power in Cape Elizabeth.
“Every game is a challenge,” Seavey said.
Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at [email protected]