BIDDEFORD – Nick LeBlond grew up watching Biddeford High football. His favorite player was Phil Bourassa, who won the Fitzpatrick Trophy after the 2003 season. LeBlond envisioned himself playing quarterback for the Tigers, like Bourassa.

That day happened sooner than expected. LeBlond was thrust into the starting lineup as a sophomore during the playoffs two seasons ago. The Tigers lost their Western Class A quarterfinal to Scarborough. Last season the Tigers lost all eight games, then the first one this year, all with LeBlond at quarterback. The 10-game losing streak ended two weeks ago with a 23-7 win over South Portland.

LeBlond is no longer the 150-pound sophomore who was asked to keep the Tigers’ season alive two years ago. He’s grown into a 6-foot-2, 180-pound standout with a strong arm and quick feet. The Tigers (1-2) play at Noble (2-1) on Friday night.

While football is important to LeBlond, he has many other interests. He plays football and baseball. LeBlond ranks fifth in his class and is Biddeford’s student body president. He is a mentor in the school’s mentoring program.

“Nick is as first class of a kid as they come,” said Coach Scott Descoteaux. “Nick is involved in everything here at Biddeford. He does things the right way. Everyone on the team looks to what Nick is doing.”

During the week leading up to the South Portland game, LeBlond missed the stretching part of practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. He had gotten his shoulder tweaked in the opening game against Bonny Eagle and was in the training room getting treatment.

“The players didn’t have the same spunk when Nick wasn’t there,” said Descoteaux. “I told Nick he had to see the trainer earlier so that he could be out here for stretching. The kids really look for him to lead.”

A few days later, LeBlond did just that as he passed for two touchdowns in the win over the Riots. He was 16 of 22 for 217 yards.

Through three games, LeBlond has completed 42 of 90 passes for 668 yards and three touchdowns.

He has scored two touchdowns.

While the 10-game losing streak was tough to go through, LeBlond was philosophical about it.

“Life’s going to throw things at you when you’re facing adversity,” he said.

“You want to use it as a catapult to make you a better person. Those are the things you’re going to learn from.”

The Tigers couldn’t sustain the momentum from their win over South Portland, losing last week at home to Kennebunk, 19-6.

The loss has put more importance on the Noble game. The Knights are off to a fast start under veteran coach Tom Daubney, who is in his first year at Noble.

Despite last week’s loss, LeBlond said the Tigers are a different team than a year ago.

“We’ve improved in all areas,” he said. “The tone is much different. The pace and tempo are a lot quicker. We’re doing things the right way the first time.”

Tight end Connor Morrison and wide receiver Matt Cote, two of LeBlond’s favorite targets, see the improvement in their quarterback.

“Nick’s game has really broadened,” said Morrison. “He sees the whole field and understands the game. Nick can scramble or pull up and hit the pass.”

LeBlond feels Cote has some of the best hands he’s seen in a receiver while Morrison has really taken to football after converting from soccer.

“Nick has gotten a lot more comfortable with everything he’s asked to do since last season,” said Cote.

LeBlond’s dedication to improving has been shown by his attendance at quarterback camps this summer and by hiring a personal trainer.

“I’ve been working with Rick Sirois of Saco Bay Physical Therapy. He’s given me a nutritional plan and quarterback-specific exercises,” said LeBlond.

LeBlond likes to be a leader. As student body president, he said: “I want to make myself as visable as possible so that students will approach me and talk about what’s on their minds.

“My job is to bridge the gap between students, teachers, the administration and the community.”

LeBlond’s quarterback coaches with the Tigers are Ron Cote and Gerry Gelinas.

“I have two of the best,” he said.

LeBlond and his teammates hope to have a few more games like they did two weeks ago, and return to the playoffs.

That would be a great turnaround for the Tigers, a program accustomed to playing into November.

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

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Twitter: TomChardPPH