Thursday, December 12, 2013
By Tom Chard email@example.com
At Thornton Academy, there's a tradition of talented kickers. The latest is senior Brandon Briggs.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Damien Shepard, Windham: In his first start at quarterback, Shepard led the Eagles to a 47-13 opening- game win over South Portland. Shepard ran for four touchdowns and passed for another. He finished with 146 yards rushing.
Tyson Goodale, Bonny Eagle: Goodale, the Scots' quarterback, scored three touchdowns apiece rushing and passing in a 42-14 win over Biddeford. Goodale had 131 yards rushing on 15 carries and was 13 of 23 passing for 283 yards.
D'Vaughn Myers, Morse: Myers ran for two touchdowns and 100 yards in leading the Shipbuilders to a 39-6 win over Camden Hills. He also caught a 63-yard touchdown pass from Kevin McKellar.
Justin Zukowski, Portland: Zukowski scored three touchdowns and gained 144 yards on 23 carries as the Bulldogs opened the season with a 45-14 win over Massabesic.
In Saturday's victory against Deering, Briggs was 5 of 5 on PATs and kicked a 26-yard field goal. Just as important, his booming kickoffs sailed into the end zone three times in the first quarter.
When a team makes an opponent start from the 20 time and again, it's a big advantage for the defense.
"It's hard to have an 80-yard drive in high school football," said Thornton Coach Kevin Kezal. "It creates a long field and helps in the battle of field position. The good thing about Brandon's kicks is he gets a long hang time. He's very accurate on PATs and field goals."
Briggs joined the Golden Trojans' football team last season after playing soccer as a freshman and sophomore.
As a junior, he was 29 of 30 on PATs and 2 of 3 on field goals. He had 14 touchbacks on kickoffs last year and was chosen the all-SMAA kicker.
Preceding Briggs as kickers for the Golden Trojans were Alex Howard and Chris Gennaro.
Gennaro did some kicking for the University of Maine and is now a graduate assistant at Yale.
"Chris kind of took Brandon under his wing and worked out with him. He's also worked with Chris Camire, who we're grooming to be the kicker after Brandon graduates," said Kezal.
When the Golden Trojans get in the red zone, they know they have an excellent shot to at least come away with three points, like they did in their second drive against Deering. Briggs has excellent range, so that even when they are outside the red zone, the Golden Trojans could strike.
"He's very consistent from 35 yards and in. During practice and warmups, Brandon has kicked field goals from 45 and 50 yards out," said Kezal.
Kickers are often the last defender to have a chance of tackling the ballcarrier on kickoffs. In Briggs, the Golden Trojans have someone they can count on to make the play.
Dominic Lauture of Deering had a good return on a kickoff with a chance of breaking it, but Briggs was there to make the tackle.
"Brandon is a good athlete. He plays on the baseball team. We like having him back there," said Kezal.
Briggs has another good quality that helps in being a kicker.
"Brandon is happy-go-lucky. Nothing bothers him," said Kezal.
Briggs has attended kicking camps and would like to kick in college.
SPEAKING OF kickers, Cheverus looks to have a good one in Patrick Mourmouras.
Mourmouras was certainly busy last Friday. He was 3 of 4 on PAT kicks in the Stags' 43-6 victory against Sanford. His only miss was blocked.
In the afternoon he played for the Cheverus soccer team in a 3-1 home win over Sanford.
For the last two seasons, Louie DiStasio handled the kicking for the Stags. DiStasio is a freshman at the University of Rhode Island, where he is playing baseball.
WESTBROOK COACH Jeff Guerette cautioned against reading too much into his team's 30-0 victory against Mountain Valley, the defending Western Class B finalist, last Friday night.
Mountain Valley's numbers are down, running back Matt Hosie was sidelined and the Blue Blazes recovered all five of their fumbles in addition to being intercepted twice.
"I expected a dogfight," Guerette said. "I expected a grind-it-out, low-scoring affair."
Westbrook played well enough to hold Mountain Valley to one first-half first down and to keep the Falcons outside of the red zone until the final minutes of the game.
"I think we wore them down a little bit toward the end," Guerette said. "They're a very good football team. They're going to be there at the end."
THE TOP GAME Friday night in high school football will take place in Fairfield, where Lawrence, the defending Eastern Class A champion, will be home aginst Bangor.
Bangor will be looking to rebound after losing to Brunswick 36-28 on opening night. Lawrence defeated Edward Little, 39-16.
In Western Class A, Bonny Eagle at Scarborough is a match of 1-0 teams. Sanford at Deering is also a key game as both teams look to rebound from opening losses.
Headlining Western Class B on Friday night will be Westbrook at Wells, the defending state champion; and Cape Elizabeth at York, who are both looking to bounce back after Week 1 losses.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: