Joe Esposito of Portland High was selected as the Maine Gatorade high school football player of the year.

Esposito sparked the Bulldogs to the Class A North title. Portland lost to Thornton Academy, 24-14, in the state championship game. For the season, Esposito rushed for 1,795 yards on 256 carries. He scored 26 touchdowns rushing and four more on receptions. As a linebacker, he recorded 126 tackles and had two fumble recoveries, two interceptions and three sacks.

“Joe was the heart of our team,” said Coach Jim Hartman.

“Everything we did revolved around him,” he said.

Esposito is the third Gatorade player of the year to be selected from Portland.