Wednesday, December 11, 2013
From staff reports
Portland High football coach Jim Hartman smiled Friday night, watching his players rush over to the visiting bleachers and celebrate with fans who made the trip to Standish. Those fans watched the Bulldogs win in overtime, 13-7 over Bonny Eagle.
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"I think it's the first time we've won here since 2005," Hartman said.
And for the first time since 2009, the Bulldogs could enjoy a third win. Portland was 2-6 in each of the two previous seasons.
"It's a learning process for these kids," said Hartman, in his first season at Portland after guiding Yarmouth to back-to-back Class C state championships. "They've had a rough few years and now they're learning to win.
"Hopefully this is a big step."
The next step will be just as difficult. Portland plays host to Noble on Friday. The Knights, 1-7 last year, are another turnaround story, also with a 3-1 record.
LIAM FITZPATRICK certainly had big shoes to fill when he took over the starting quarterback position for Cheverus, the two-time Class A state champion.
After four games, the senior is doing quite well. Fitzpatrick has quarterbacked the Stags to a 4-0 record, and the team is looking every bit like a championship club once again. We'll know more about that in three weeks when Cheverus plays at Thornton Academy in what could be a battle of 6-0 teams.
Fitzpatrick has a strong supporting cast, no doubt, but he's has stepped in and given the program a dependable leader.
His predecessors, Peter Gwilym and Cam Olsen, left their considerable marks on the program, but Fitzpatrick is doing his own thing and it's highly effective.
Against Windham on Friday night, Fitzpatrick rushed for 74 yards in the first half and threw a 20-yard touchdown pass in a 47-0 win.
Fitzpatrick also starts at defensive back. A year ago, Fitzpatrick was the second-unit quarterback but got a fair amount of playing time, as the Stags usually had games well in hand by midway through the second half, if not sooner.
This year, it's the same thing, maybe even faster. The Stags led the Eagles 41-0 at halftime.
Backup quarterback Ethan Jordan, a junior, is getting the same experience as Fitzpatrick last year.
Winning teams usually have capable, if not star quarterbacks, and Cheverus has been able to develop them. Fitzpatrick is the latest example.
-- Staff Writers Kevin Thomas and Tom Chard contributed to this report.