Marshwood running back Zach Doyon learned a lot last season playing in the same backfield with Brett Gerry, the Fitzpatrick Trophy winner, quarterback Luc Blanchette and Jackson Howarth on an undefeated team.

Doyon didn’t get to carry the ball much, which was fine with him because the team was winning.

“One of the things I learned from them was it’s not always about when you have the ball in your hand,” said Doyon, a senior. “They were great blockers. That’s something I’ve tried to improve on.”

Marshwood is still winning – this season with Doyon as the featured back. With the graduation of his backfield mates from the Class B state champions, Doyon has more than twice as many carries as he did last season. He has rushed for 1,742 yards and scored 22 touchdowns. In addition, he has caught 15 passes for 239 yards and six touchdowns.

Marshwood (9-2) and Brunswick (9-1) meet for the state championship for the second straight year at 6:06 p.m. Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium. A year ago the Hawks won, 44-18.

“Last year we had such a senior-laden team,” said Coach Alex Rotsko. “It’s probably the other way around this time. But we’re talking about the 12th game of the season. How important is experience anyway? I feel it’s going to be a great game.”

Doyon patiently waited for his chance and has made the most of it.

“Coming into the season, I kind of knew what to expect,” he said. “The coach has put me in good spots and the line has done a tremendous job. The line had its struggles early but once they figured it out, they’ve really been clicking. They’ve been opening some huge holes.”

Doyon is a three-sport athlete (basketball and baseball). Figuring he would be the Hawks’ primary runner this fall, he was in the weight room as much as possible.

“I tried to train in the offseason as much as I could, but playing three sports makes it a little tough,” he said.

At 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Doyon is a classic style running back, Fast with good power, Doyon can run past or through tacklers.

“I’m not at all surprised at the season he’s having,” said Rotsko. “Last year, Luc Blanchette might have been the fastest kid in the backfield but Zach was right there. In our conference (Class B South), there are four running backs who stand out. (Connor) Aube from Falmouth, (Cullen) McCarty from York, (Sam) Peck from Greely and Zach. Doyon is just as talented as those guys.”

Just over a month ago, Doyon showed his talents in a 61-14 win over Kennebunk, which was unbeaten at the time. Doyon scored three touchdowns in the first half on runs of 52, 14 and 74 yards. He had 199 yards on 10 carries in the first half and finished with 244 yards on 15 carries.

That was the game the Hawks shifted into high gear – and they have been running on all cylinders since.

They avenged a 22-20 overtime loss to Falmouth on Oct. 16 with a 48-22 win over the Yachtsmen for the Class B South title last Saturday.

“This season has been Zach’s time to shine,” said Zach Mitchell, a standout guard and linebacker. “It’s pretty amazing the season he’s having. He didn’t get a lot of reps last season because he was playing behind a great back.”

Rotsko said the key to getting back to the state final is building a strong program. Even though Marshwood lost 16 starters to graduation from last year’s team, the Hawks have been able to retool.

“You can have a talented class like we did last year and reach the state final, but it’s about having a good program where the younger kids are ready to step in,” Rotsko said. “I expect the players to come in and do the job. We’re proud of that.”

With its third appearance in the state final in the last four seasons, Marshwood has shown staying power.

“I don’t believe a ton of people thought we would be back here,” said Doyon.

“The players and the coaches believed it. It’s pretty awesome.”