December 16, 2012

All-State Football: The Trojan work horse

Andrew Libby, Thornton Academy's Mr. Everything, is the Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year.

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

SACO — Thornton Academy Coach Kevin Kezal pointed out that star player Andrew Libby didn't gain the most yards in the SMAA, catch the most passes or make the most tackles.

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Andrew Libby played every backfield position, and safety, for Class A champion Thornton Academy, rushing for 23 touchdowns and scoring seven others – and he’s only a junior.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

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Andrew Libby

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TELEGRAM ALL-STATE TEAM

OFFENSE

Jordan Whitney, Mt. Blue, quarterback, senior

Whitney led the Cougars to the Class B state championship. A gifted passer as well as a runner, he was a three-year starter with a career 29-5 record. Whitney completed 102 of 148 passes for 1,755 yards, 29 touchdowns and threw only five interceptions. He rushed for 658 yards. For his career, he threw for 4,924 yards and a school-record 65 touchdowns.

Andrew Libby, Thornton Academy, running back, junior

The key offensive player for the Class A state champions, Libby is our Player of the Year. He carried the ball 182 times for 1,092 yards and 23 touchdowns, and caught 17 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Libby returned four punts for touchdowns and had an interception return for a touchdown. He finished with 30 touchdowns and four 2-point conversions for a total of 188 points. He also punted and returned kicks.

Alex Shain, Sanford, running back, senior

A top college prospect, the 6-foot-1, 207-pounder carried the ball 204 times for 1,434 yards and 28 touchdowns. He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and one interception for a score. On defense, Shain had 37 solo tackles and 17 assisted tackles. He is a semifinalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy and a two-time All-SMAA first-team selection at running back.

Donald Goodrich, Cheverus, running back, senior

Goodrich is a repeat all-state selection. Last year, he made the team at defensive end. The Stags had another powerful running game, and Goodrich was the featured back with 199 carries for 1,722 yards and 28 touchdowns. He played defensive end and made 43 solo tackles and had seven QB sacks. He also returned punts and kicks. He is a semifinalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy.

Jared Jensen, Brunswick, running back, senior

Jensen was selected as co-Player of the Year for Eastern Class A. He was the leading rusher in the state with 2,351 yards on 243 carries. Against Bangor, he scored five touchdowns and gained 428 yards. Jensen got the ball 80 percent of the time. On defense, he had six interceptions and 53 tackles.

Chandler Shostak, Cony, wide receiver, senior

A top offensive weapon for the Rams along with QB Ben Lucas, Shostak set school receiving records for catches (56), yards (853) and touchdowns (12). He was both a possession receiver and a deep threat. As a defensive back, he led the state in interceptions with 11, another school record. Shostak is a two-time all-Eastern Class A selection and a semifinalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy.

Bobby Begin, Thornton Academy, center, senior

Begin called all the blocking schemes for the line that enabled the offense to average 255 yards per game rushing. As a linebacker, he led Thornton in tackles with 99. Begin returned a fumble 75 yards for a touchdown against Scarborough. He is a Fitzpatrick Trophy semifinalist.

Ben Castellano, Traip Academy, tackle, senior

Castellano is a repeat all-state selection on offense. He was named the Western Maine Conference´s Class C Player of the Year. The 6-foot, 260-pounder used excellent footwork to be proficient in all types of blocks. A four-year starter, he moved to guard at times. He also called the defensive signals at tackle.

Jack Lucy, Orono, tackle, senior

Orono Coach Bob Sinclair called Lucy "the engine behind our resurgence." With Lucy at left tackle, the Red Riots amassed 7,000 rushing yards in two seasons with a 16-5 record. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Lucy was called the best lineman Sinclair has coached in his 32-year career. Lucy is a semifinalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy and ranks first in his senior class with a 98 grade-point average.

David LaPauloue, Thornton Academy, guard, senior

A two-way stalwart for the Class A state champions, LaPauloue made the switch from tackle to guard at the start of the season. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound standout was instrumental in the team´s successful ground game. LaPauloue is a two-time all-SMAA selection. On defense, he was credited with 51 tackles and three sacks, and he a fumble recovery in the state final.

Caleb Champagne, Lawrence, guard, senior

Champagne is a repeat all-state selection who battled back from an offseason knee injury to have another outstanding year. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound standout got off to a slow start but found his old form before too long and got better as the season progressed, with another strong postseason. Champagne is a two-time all-Eastern Class A selection. His blocking enabled the Bulldogs to rack up big rushing numbers.

Donnie Boyer, Foxcroft Academy, utility, senior

A running back/defensive back, Boyer led the Ponies to the Class C state championship. He scored all three of his team´s touchdowns on short runs and rushed for a two-point conversion after the second touchdown in the 22-20 win over Winslow. He was named Player of the Year in the Little 10 Conference. Boyer scored 21 touchdowns, rushed for 1,229 yards and was 6 for 6 on 2-point conversion rushes.

DEFENSE

Dakota Tarbox, Thornton Academy, end, senior

Tarbox, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound standout, led the Golden Trojans in QB sacks with seven. He had 59 tackles, 12 pass deflections and one interception. Tarbox´s strong play on defense in the Western Class A final against Cheverus was a key in the 20-13 win. As a tight end, he caught 22 passes for 478 yards and seven touchdowns. He made the all-SMAA first team after being on the second team during his sophomore and junior seasons.

Zak Kendall, Mt. Blue, end, senior

Kendall was a key at defensive end for the Class B state champs, registering 71 tackles and five sacks. Opponents made a practice of running the opposite way from him. He was a three-year starter at defensive end and a two-year starter at tight end. A force at 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, Kendall was a two-time all-league selection at defensive end.

Eriq Stewart, Lawrence, tackle, senior

Stewart had an outstanding year on both sides of the ball, but really shined on defense where Coach John Hersom called him "our anchor." A former basketball player, he was very agile for 280 pounds. Stewart made all-Eastern Class A for the second straight year.

Colin Richards, Mt. Blue, tackle, junior

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Richards was the Cougars´ third leading tackler with 87 and was instrumental in his team winning the Class B state title. At offensive tackle, he was effective on all types of blocks. They used him on a lot of trap plays. Richards played on all special teams and was an All-Eastern Class A selection.

Chad Luker, Mt. Blue, linebacker, senior

Luker proved a versatile player. He played linebacker except on passing situations, when the Cougars moved the 6-foot-3, 220-pound standout to defensive end. He had 114 tackles, four sacks and three interceptions. As a fullback, he rushed for 780 yards on 71 carries. Luker scored five touchdowns, all from 4 yards, in the Class B state championship. He´s a two-time all-KVAC Class B selection.

Ryan Casale, Cheverus, linebacker, senior

Casale used outstanding lateral movement to make plays from end to end. He was the leader of Cheverus´ stout defense, making 98 tackles. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Casale was known for his big hits. He was a key contributor on offense, as he caught several big passes, most notably in the regular season win over Thornton Academy. "Ryan was definitely the leader of our defense," said Coach John Wolfgram.

Luke Lawrence, Lawrence, linebacker, senior

A tri-captain, Lawrence was the Bulldogs´ defensive leader. He led the Bulldogs in tackles with 80 solos and was the team´s most improved player. He also started at tight end, proving a very effective blocker. Lawrence was a first-team all-Eastern Class A selection.

Brian Bedard, Leavitt, defensive back, senior

Bedard was an all-purpose player for the Hornets. He was used at receiver, slot, tailback and quarterback. On defense, he played safety and led the Pine Tree Conference with seven interceptions, and also had 50 solo tackles. He scored 11 rushing tackles and seven receiving touchdowns. Bedard finished with 1,500 all-purpose yards. He is a semifinalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy

Spencer Carey, Lawrence, defensive back, senior

Carey makes the all-state team on defense for the second straight year. A quarterback on offense, where he guided the Bulldogs to another Eastern Class A title, Carey was selected as co-Player of the Year in Eastern Class A. He´s a three-year starter at strong safety and was the Bulldogs´ second leading tackler. He had five interceptions this year, including two interceptions in the Eastern Maine final, and 15 for his career. He´s a semifinalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy.

Kenny Sweet, Deering, defensive back, senior

Sweet was an outstanding defensive back who had 85 solo tackles, seven interceptions and many hard hits. A hard-nosed player, he moved to quarterback in the third game because of an injury to the starter and helped turn around Deering´s season, leading the Rams to the playoffs. He scored 18 touchdowns and rushed for 1,387 yards, often on second and third efforts. A four-year starter, Sweet is a semifinalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy.

Dillon Russo, Scarborough, defensive back, senior

Russo was an outstanding quarterback and defensive back for the Red Storm. He was the leading tackler from free safety, averaging 10 per game. Showing a real nose for the football, he had two interceptions and caused two fumbles. He is a Fitzpatrick Trophy semifinalist.

Svenn Jacobson, Greely, utility, senior

Jacobson won the Bruce Campbell Award as the Western Maine Conference´s Class B Player of the Year. A running back/linebacker, he averaged just over 10 yards on 65 carries and 18 yards on 19 receptions. He had 41 solo tackles and 19 assisted. He was a four-year starter for the Rangers, who went 7-2 this season. He returned one kickoff for a touchdown. The 5-11, 195-pounder was the team´s emotional leader.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Alex Rotsko, Marshwood

Rotsko arrived at Marshwood this summer after a championship career at Longmeadow (Mass.) High. The Hawks didn´t have a quarterback, two of their best players were out for the season with injuries and the team was rife with inexperience. All Rotsko did was direct Marshwood to a 10-2 record and a berth in the Class B state title game, where the Hawks came within three points of winning against favored Mt. Blue.

 

But when it came to all phases of the game, there was nobody better.

"Andrew's a big reason why we were successful," said Kezal.

Libby would be the first to tell you he couldn't have had the season he had without his teammates. He had a great supporting cast. But Libby, a junior, 6-foot, 195-pound running back/safety, hardly left the field, particularly in the playoffs, as Thornton captured the Class A state championship.

Libby moved around in the backfield -- at times lining up at halfback, slot back and as quarterback, taking the snap in shotgun. He was the starting safety. He returned kickoffs and punts. He was the punter.

And Libby put up some impressive statistics even if they weren't first in every category. The body of work was what was impressive. Libby was named Maine's Gatorade Player of the Year two weeks ago and now he can add a second honor. Libby is the Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year in Maine high school football for 2012.

Libby will be honored next June at the Maine Sunday Telegram's MVP banquet.

Libby played in the secondary his freshman year with some time in the backfield. He started both ways his sophomore year with similar responsibilities this season. Libby was named to the Maine Sunday Telegram All-State team as a sophomore.

Having just finished his 13th year as head coach, Kezal said Libby ranks right up there with some of the top players he has coached.

"What separates them is their hard work," said Kezal. "Andrew had essentially the same role this year as last. His role next season remains to be seen."

There was no question of Libby's value to the Golden Trojans this season.

"Andrew was the focal point," said Kezal.

"We wanted the ball in his hands as much as possible."

Because the Golden Trojans (11-1) had talent surrounding Libby, the offense spread the ball around. Libby averaged 12 touches a game during the regular season, but that number steadily increased late in the season and more than doubled in the playoffs. The Golden Trojans had their horse and they were going to ride him in the playoffs.

In the Western Maine final against Cheverus (20-13) and a week later in the state final against Lawrence (37-23), Libby carried the ball 34 and 31 times respectively. He scored three touchdowns against Cheverus and two against Lawrence.

"It was a lot of fun being able to play a lot of different positions," said Libby.

"The team playing together and becoming a family was special," he said.

Libby, who recently began workouts for next season, said the team is still receiving congratulations.

"It's been awesome. We were honored by the Red Claws at a game last week," he said.

Libby carried the ball 182 times for 1,092 yards and 23 touchdowns. He caught 17 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. He returned four punts (57, 57, 62 and 48 yards) for touchdowns and had an interception return for a touchdown. He finished with 30 touchdowns and four PATs for a total of 188 points.

In the offseason, Libby said he will work on improving his speed, agility, his explosiveness and pass catching while lifting weights.

With several players graduating, the Golden Trojans will have a new look. Libby could have even a bigger role in terms of the number of carries, if that's possible. What won't change are the goals.

"We want to come out strong, win our first game, make it to the playoffs and defend our state title," he said.

"We'll have a good team. We'll be confident because of what happened this year, but we won't be cocky."

A good student, Libby wants to play in college, but said it's too early to know where.

"I'm still researching schools," he said.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: TomChardPPH

 

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Additional Photos

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A fine two-way player, Andrew Libby was a force in the Thornton Academy defensive backfield as well, returning one pick for a touchdown in addition to 29 others he scored.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

  


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