November 11, 2012

Football Playoff Notebook: Coach with pedigree brings Hawks back

From staff reports

Alex Rotsko came to Marshwood High this year as its first-year football coach with an impressive resume -- and legacy -- that included 11 Super Bowl championships in Massachusetts while coaching Longmeadow High for 19 years. He also led the Lancers to four other Super Bowl appearances

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It didn't take long for him to start building a legacy in Maine.

Rotsko led Marshwood to its first state championship game since 1989, when the Hawks won the Class A title.

Marshwood held off York 21-20 to win the Western Class B championship Saturday.

"Right guy, right place, I guess," he said. "Had a lot of experienced kids back.

"The kids have worked hard. It's been a lot of fun. Hope it never ends."

Rotsko has said that Marshwood's championship pedigree was a factor in his decision to leave Massachusetts. He was convinced to apply for the job by John Caverly, his predecessor at Marshwood.

"We talked about the community and how they loved football," he said. "It was awesome."

And the players accepted him.

"They were ready from Day One," he said. "They listened to me from Day One; I don't know why."

Sophomore Brett Gerry said, simply, "He's a great coach, the best I ever had."

Marshwood will play for its second Class B championship, last winning it in 1988.

The Hawks, who also have 13 state titles in Class C and one in Class D, will play Mt. Blue of Farmington for the championship next Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

"To be honest, I can't wait," said quarterback Cameron Roll, who scored two touchdowns and passed for another in the Hawks' 21-20 win over York on Saturday.

"We're taking it one step at a time but whatever it takes to win."

THORNTON ACADEMY fans arrived early for Saturday's Western Class A championship game at Cheverus. The Golden Trojans' faithful occupied one side of the hill by the 12:30 p.m. start. Cheverus' Boulos Stadium doesn't have bleachers, so the large hill that overlooks the field is where the crowd watches.

PORTLAND'S BACK COVE and skyline in the background provides a beautiful setting at Cheverus, especially on a sunny day. It was a perfect day for football and a bargain just before Veterans Day, with temperatures touching 50. A brisk wind added a slight chill.

THE THORNTON fans came prepared, waving their white handkerchiefs whenever the Golden Trojans made a big play, which was often.

ALTHOUGH THE ENTIRE hill was packed with spectators, Cheverus Athletic Director Gary Hoyt said it wasn't the largest crowd at the facility. Hoyt said the regular-season game against Bonny Eagle and the Western Class A final against Deering two years ago had the largest crowds.

DAKOTA TARBOX, Thornton's linebacker/defensive end, had an outstanding game. Tarbox, a senior, pressured Cheverus quarterback Liam Fitzpatrick throughout.

"Cheverus brought a lot of heart but we brought more," he said.

"Our upfront people outplayed their upfront people."

The win was sweet revenge for Thornton, which lost to Cheverus in last year's regional final at Cheverus, and again a month ago in the regular season at Thornton.

"We played with a lot of emotion," said junior Andrew Libby.


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