Ben Lucas of Cony led his team to its first state championship in 81 years and became the most prolific passer in Maine high school football history.
He added one more noteworthy accomplishment Sunday afternoon when he was named the winner of the 43rd James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy as the state’s top senior high school football player.
Also in the running for the award, announced at the Holiday Inn By The Bay in Portland, were Nicco DeLorenzo of Kennebunk and Justin Zukowski of Portland.
Lucas, previously named Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year and the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, said he was nervous before his speech Sunday and while awaiting the announcement.
“I knew the caliber of the players Nicco and Justin are,” said Lucas.
“Any of us were very deserving of this award.”
When he heard his name called, Lucas said to himself: “Wow, it actually happened.”
“The Fitzpatrick Trophy is something you always think about when you start playing football in Maine. You want to win it. It’s really special and it means everything to me. It’s something you really can’t describe briefly.”
Lucas is just the fourth player from a non-Class A school to win the Fitzpatrick Trophy.
Cony dropped from Class A to Class B for the 2013 season as part of the state’s new four-class system, and Lucas led the Rams to the Class B championship.
“There have been a lot of great Cony football players over the years,” he said. “It’s awesome to be the first Cony player to win it.”
Cony Coach Robbie Vachon said it was an emotional day as he looked around at the large Cony delegation that made the trek down from Augusta.
“We’ve been very fortunate with the state title and now Ben winning this,” he said.
“It’s a great way to wrap the season up. We’re so proud of him. It says a lot about Ben as a person when you look around at the turnout for him.”
In three varsity seasons, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Lucas passed for 89 touchdowns and 7,700 yards, both state records. As a senior, he had 41 touchdowns and 3,400 yards passing in 11 games.
“We knew we had something special his sophomore year,” said Vachon.
“His size jumped out right away. Ben matured every year, got better and better, and remained a great kid. And today, he punctuated it with the Fitzpatrick Trophy.”
In the Class B state final, Cony was held scoreless by Kennebunk in the first half and trailed 16-0 late in the third quarter before Lucas got hot, rallying his team to a 30-23 victory.
“Ben passed for 307 yards and three touchdowns in the second half in the biggest game of his life,” said Vachon.
Vachon is still looking at colleges and said he will make a decision next month. High on his list are the University of Maine, Bentley, Wagner and Rhode Island.
DeLorenzo, a running back/linebacker, sparked Kennebunk to the Western Class B title. He plans to attend Colgate.
Zukowski, a running back/linebacker bound for Bates College, led Portland to the Eastern Class A final. He was the top rusher in Eastern Class A and was named the conference’s Player of the Year.
MARTY RYAN, president of the Maine Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, announced that the Harold Alfond Foundation has pledged a $250,000 grant to the Richard MacPherson Coaching Fund to further advance coaching quality and football programs in Maine.
The grant will also provide additional funding of annual scholarships to deserving Maine high school football players. Scholarship recipients will be honored at the Chapter’s annual banquet in May.
MacPherson, an Old Town native, is a former New England Patriots head coach who also was a college head coach at Massachusetts and Syracuse. He was inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 2009.
Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: