Forty-four has been a good number for Brett Gerry in his four seasons playing for Marshwood. It’s the number he wore while he churned out close to 5,000 yards rushing and scored 60 touchdowns.

The number came up big for Gerry again Sunday when he was named the 44th winner of the James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy, receiving the prestigious bronze trophy that goes to the top senior high school football player in the state.

The other finalists were Chris Carney of Wells and Joe Fitzpatrick of Cheverus. To extend the good vibes a step further for Gerry, his selection was announced by Steve Knight, the only other Fitzpatrick Trophy winner from Marshwood. Knight spoke at the banquet on the 25th anniversary of his award.

Much like Knight did in 1989, Gerry helped spark Marshwood to a state title. The Hawks went 12-0 and captured the Class B championship.

“I didn’t think I would win it being from a Class B school,” said Gerry. “All of us had similar statistics.”

Carney played in Class C, while Fitzpatrick played in Class A.

In his introduction of Gerry, Marshwood Coach Alex Rotsko said he and Gerry are alike in many ways. “We’re both competitive, hard-working and quiet. We tend to listen more than we speak, but one thing we’re not alike in – I’m a stickler for neatness and Brett, well …”

Asked about his plans for keeping the trophy dust-free, Gerry said: “I guess I’m going to have to build a trophy case.”

Rotsko said Gerry set a strong example for his teammates with his work ethic.

“Whenever Brett would run a play in practice, he would run an extra 15 to 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage,” said Rotsko. “Pretty soon the linemen were doing the same thing. He brought that to the team as a sophomore leader.”

Gerry’s sophomore season was Rotsko’s first with Marshwood after coaching at Longmeadow High in Massachusetts for 19 seasons.

Gerry rushed for 2,263 yards and scored 32 touchdowns as a senior. Because the Hawks won by big margins in all but one game, Gerry saw little playing time after halftime and didn’t carry more than 18 times in a game. Rotsko cited a game in which Gerry rushed for 244 yards on only eight carries. He averaged 12.3 yards per carry this season.

At linebacker, Gerry was one of the team’s top defenders. He was a two-year captain.

“That’s only happened twice in my 23 years as a high school head coach,” said Rotsko.

Each of the finalist gives a speech, and Gerry admitted later that it was a lot easier running straight ahead with the football than talking in front of a crowd.

Gerry’s football and wrestling teammates (he’s a two-time state champion at 182 pounds) came out to support him. Athletic Director Rich Buzzell said Marshwood had 50 people in attendance.

Family, friends, teammates and banquet officials patiently waited to have their pictures taken with Gerry.

“This season was a whole community effort,” said Gerry. “It takes one to win a state title.”

Gerry said he will attend the Hyde School in Bath for a postgraduate year before he heads to college.

Carney and Fitzpatrick also put up impressive numbers. Both led their teams to the regional finals.

Carney was biding to be the first winner from Wells, while Fitzpatrick was hoping to become the third Fitzy winner from Cheverus in five years, joining 2010 and 2012 winners Peter Gwilym and Donald Goodrich.

Also honored at the banquet were 10 semifinalists: Kevin Barrett of Thornton Academy, Peter Boyer of Foxcroft Academy, Tayler Carrier of Cony, Kyle Flaherty of Oak Hill, Tyler Frost of Dirigo, Milani Hicks of Scarborough, Maurice Johnson of Westbrook, Ryan Ruhlin of Portland, Matthew Stewart of Bucksport, and Zach Davis of Windham.

Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or:

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