Greg Stilphen, who was Jamie Ross’ head coach at Deering High, played football for South Portland and the University of New Hampshire.

Ross’ college coach played for the same teams.

Ross said Thursday he signed a letter of intent to play football for Coach Paul Gorham at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.

Gorham and Stilphen not only played for the same school, but were teammates.

Still, Ross, a quarterback, punter and kicker, said his decision came down to the feeling he got when he visited the school, and the scholarship offer. Ross also looked at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., and Maine and UNH on a lesser scale.

“The Sacred Heart coaches and players all played a role in my decision,” said Ross. “I thought I interacted well with them on my visit. When I stepped on the campus, there was definitely a feeling there.”

Sacred Heart runs a pro-style offense, meaning it likes to pass. Ross did a lot of passing last season in Deering’s no-huddle, spread offense.

“Their style of play just fits me,” he said.

Ross wasn’t the only local football player signing.

Nate Pingitore of Yarmouth, a running back-linebacker for the Class C state champion, committed to Robert Morris University of Moon Township, Pa., a Pittsburgh suburb.

Sacred Heart and Robert Morris are Football Championship Subdivision teams — the same division as Maine — who play in the Northeast Conference.

Robert Morris, coached by Joe Walton, a former New York Jets head coach and NFL tight end, won the Northeast Conference last fall and fell to North Dakota State 43-17 in the first round of the NCAA playoffs.

“I’m happy with my decision,” said Ross, who was a finalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy. “I’m glad it’s over.”

Ross was the only quarterback Sacred Heart signed.

“He’s very good,” said Gorham, a seven-year head coach. “You have to be a good athlete to do all the things Jamie does. We like to throw the ball and Jamie can make all the throws. He has enough of an arm to throw from the hash mark to the sideline, which is a pass we use a lot.”

Gorham said he evaluated Ross on tape, which is how all of his recruits are judged.

He also relied on his former teammate.

“We went to New Hampshire together. I trusted (Stilphen’s) evaluation,” said Gorham.

Sacred Heart’s record-setting quarterback, Dale Fink, is graduating. Two juniors also will compete for the job next season.

“If we find a quarterback, I feel we’ll be all right,” said Gorham. “We have a lot of kids back at other positions. It’s difficult for a first-year quarterback to start right away because there’s just a lot to learn. It’s tough to start coming out of fall camp.”

Ross passed for 1,874 yards and 20 touchdowns, and ran for 988 yards and 21 touchdowns last fall.

At 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds, Pingitore has the power to break tackles and the speed to avoid them.

He was a four-year starter for the Clippers.

Pingitore led Yarmouth with 13 touchdowns and rushed for 491 yards. He returned the opening kickoff 60 yards in the state final and scored three touchdowns on only five carries.

“Nate played all the backfield positions for us,” said Coach Jim Hartman. “He was our quarterback for one season.”

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

[email protected]