Friday, December 13, 2013
By Tom Chard email@example.com
BRUNSWICK - Jared Jensen of Brunswick recalled seeing open spaces of green.
Jared Jensen did the running for Brunswick, gaining 428 yards Friday night in a 36-28 victory against Bangor, but he was quick to credit his teammates on the line who opened gaping holes.
Photos by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer
Jared Jensen of Brunswick is not only a proven football player, whether at running back or defensive back, but is a two-time wrestling state champion.
Green as the green turf of a football field. Last Friday night, Jensen, a senior running back, ran the equivalent of four football fields and then some in yardage, and scored five touchdowns as the Dragons beat Bangor, 36-28.
Jensen finished with 428 yards, which must be some kind of a record.
"It has to be a record," said Brunswick Coach Dan Cooper.
Unfortunately, individual high school football records, particularly in Maine, aren't kept like they are for basketball and track.
Other than the list of yearly state champions, records are left to conjecture.
Going into the season, Jensen was a bit of an unknown as a running back -- Friday night was only his third varsity start at the position. Jensen was an all- Eastern Maine Class A cornerback last season.
"No one knows about me in football," said Jensen.
That all changed in the first half when Jensen ran for four touchdowns as Brunswick, after trailing 15-0, took a 29-15 lead at halftime.
"The holes were huge. The line deserves the credit," he said.
Jensen is a two-time Class A state wrestling champion. Every year he gains weight for football and sheds it for wrestling. He weighs 175 pounds this fall but figures he will wrestle this winter at 160. He won a state title at 132 pounds his sophomore year and at 152 last winter. Both sports feed off each other and help him prepare for the two seasons.
"I knew I was going to get the ball against Bangor so I needed to be in shape," said Jensen.
"I do wrestling year-round and it carries over to football by getting me in shape. And football helps with wrestling because you have to be mentally prepared, which definitely is true in wrestling. In football I get the feeling of being part of a team. There's nothing like the atmosphere for Friday night football."
Because Brunswick doesn't have a wrestling team, Jensen wrestles for Mt. Ararat, which is coached by his father, Eric, who is a former Michigan State wrestler.
Jensen's performance against Bangor was even more impressive given his relative inexperience.
He started at fullback for the first time against Mt. Ararat in last year's regular-season finale. He got his second start against Bangor in the Eastern Class A quarterfinals and scored on an 80-yard run in a loss.
When Jordan Rysdam, a starting running back for the Dragons last season, moved to California, Jensen became the featured back. Bangor knew of his talent and contained him early when he was at fullback, taking that 15-0 lead. Brunswick regrouped with Cooper moving Jensen to tailback. The game turned quickly when Bangor couldn't stop him.
"Jared would have split carries with Rysdam if he had stayed," said Cooper.
Now the Dragons will get the ball in Jensen's hands as much as they can. They want to take advantage of his speed and will do that by moving him around in the backfield.
"He may even be at quarterback at times," said Cooper.
With sophomore fullback Alex Bandouveres often the lead blocker and the line, led by veterans Nolan Robbins and Brett Lancester, moving the Rams out of the way, Jensen had gaping holes. He was free to run wild.
"Once I got past the line of scrimmage, my vision and speed guided me where I was going to go," said Jensen who scored on runs of 55, 48, 84, 6 and 75 yards.
Even though Jensen had seen limited action on offense before last week, Cooper knew he had talent. The coach was content with keeping him under the radar.
"I didn't (tout him) this summer," said Cooper. "I knew Jared was tough and fast."
Jensen can no longer fly under the radar.
Asked if he feels he'll be a marked man from here on, Jensen said: "That's my bet. Anyone who carries the ball 37 times is going to have a target on his back."
Jensen has confidence in his teammates and the possibilities for the team the rest of the season.
"We opened a few eyes," he said.
A good student, Jensen wants to continue his athletic career in college at the Division I level.
"Football is really what I want to do, but wrestling is what could get me a scholarship," he said.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:
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