SCARBOROUGH – Scarborough football coach Lance Johnson was talking recently about a move that contributed to the team’s breakout season in Class A.

Johnson moved a wide receiver to fullback and the offense started to click. That wide receiver was Scott Thibeault, who ended up rushing for more than 500 yards and scoring seven touchdowns in the last five games. Scarborough finished with an 8-2 record and reached the regional semifinals where it lost to Cheverus, the eventual state champion, 21-14.

“Scott was a third-string wide receiver,” said Johnson. “We had injuries and were really thin in the backfield. It was more a move of desperation than great coaching. But with Scott at fullback, the offense improved immediately. His presence opened both the running and passing games. He’s a natural running back and a really good blocker.”

Johnson may have downplayed the move, but in Thibeault he saw a hard-nosed player he felt would fit in at fullback. The results were immediate.

Now Thibeault has moved to tailback and the team is hopeful it will work out well again. Thibeault, who also plays linebacker, is excited.

“I thought they might switch me to tailback so I did a little extra running last spring and this summer,” he said. “The positions are a little bit different. I’ll have some adjusting to do.”

Whatever position Thibeault, a senior, ends up at, he knows only one way to play.

“I like to play 100 miles an hour,” he said.

That’s one of the many things Johnson likes about Thibeault, one of the team’s six captains.

“He’s one of the toughest and hardest workers we have,” said Johnson. “He’s a pretty quiet kid. He leads by example. He didn’t play a spring sport and spent all his time in the weight room getting stronger. We had a lot of players in the weight room.”

When Thibeault moved to fullback, it wasn’t entirely new.

“I played fullback in the eighth grade,” he said.

Scarborough’s eighth-grade team won the southern Maine championship that season. Now those players are seniors, 17 strong, and buoyed by last season, looking to contend again in Western Class A.

“We gained a lot of confidence last season,” said Thibeault.

Under the new Western Class A setup, Scarborough faces a tough schedule. It will open with Windham, then play consecutive games against Bonny Eagle, Cheverus, Deering and Thornton Academy later in the season.

“That’s the way we like it,” said Thibeault. “We want to show we’re one of the best teams around.”

In his 17 years, Thibeault’s body shape has changed from stocky to slim and back. When he started playing football in the fourth grade, he was one of the biggest kids in his class.

“I played nose guard,” he said.

He slimmed down enough to play fullback, then moved to wide receiver when he slimmed down even more as a freshman and sophomore.

“I think Scott was into wearing the receiver’s gloves,” said Johnson.

At 5-foot-11, Thibeault is a solid 185 to 190 pounds. He has the speed to take it to the end zone, as he showed in the quarterfinal playoff victory against Biddeford. Thibeault scored on a 53-yard run and on a 23-yard screen pass, and finished with more than 100 yards rushing.

Against Kennebunk in the regular season, he scored two touchdowns and gained 120 yards.

“Scott is excellent at finding the hole,” said senior guard Logan Mars. “He did a great job at fullback last season and I know he’s anxious to show what he can do at tailback.”

Mars is one of the three starters back in the line, so the holes should be there for Thibeault and the other backs.

“We have a lot of speed in the backfield and at wide receivers,” said Johnson. “I feel we’re ahead of where we were at this point last season.”

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

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