Christian Napolitano and Kordell Menard could point to the exact spot in the bleachers at Fitzpatrick Stadium where they watched the Bonny Eagle football team win its fifth Class A state title in 2013.

Both were eighth graders, and both said they dreamed of the day they would be on the field winning the Gold Ball. On Saturday, that became reality for the two juniors, who each grabbed an interception in the Scots’ 34-14 win over Portland.

“I think our guys get used to seeing success at the high school level,” Bonny Eagle Coach Kevin Cooper said. “Then, the ones that want to be part of Bonny Eagle football know they’re coming into a pretty good program.”

Defense was a strength all season for the Scots (11-0), who forced 33 turnovers. Bonny Eagle had three interceptions, recovered a fumble and had five sacks against Portland (9-2) while giving up just 140 yards.

Three of those turnovers led to Bonny Eagle touchdowns. Alexander Smith recovered the fumble that led to an Alex Sprague score, and a Cam Theberge interception set up Nick Thorne’s second touchdown.

Menard’s interception in the second quarter set up a Bonny Eagle drive on which quarterback Cam Day scored, cutting Portland’s lead to 7-6 before halftime. Menard also had two catches for 43 yards and a 13-yard touchdown.


“Kordell (Menard) is a great player – his hands are incredible,” Cooper said. “We said during preseason that Kordell was going to make a couple unbelievable catches during this year, and we’d walk away saying, ‘Oh my God, how did he catch that?'”

Menard said he has been a Bonny Eagle fan since he was 8. He remembers attending games in 2008 to watch quarterback Nate Doehler, who led the Scots past Skowhegan 26-6 for their fourth state title in five years.

“Now, I’m playing in it,” Menard said. “I just never thought I would be in this position right now.”

It was Napolitano who put the game away for the Scots with an interception with two minutes left. Despite the sunlight in his eyes, he managed to read the play and make the catch.

“I jumped (the route) and got my arms under (the ball) just enough,” Napolitano said. “You got to go all out in the state game.”

Napolitano said he has been attending Bonny Eagle games and cheering for the Scots since he was in second grade.


“Ever since then, I’ve wanted to get one of these Gold Balls,” Napolitano said. “Watching them do it just inspired me and every single one of us out here to play like a championship team.”

So what does it feel like to win a Gold Ball?

“I’m speechless,” Menard said. “I’m at a loss for words.”

“It’s indescribable. Never could have …” a smile stretched across Napolitano’s face. “It’s hard to say.”

In the last 13 seasons, Bonny Eagle has collected six Class A titles. Napolitano and Menard will both return next year for the Scots.

“We’re very fortunate that players before these guys have kind of made that program,” Cooper said. “We do talk about our tradition and protecting our tradition. The example that guys in the past have set for our players is really special.”


PARKER GAMMON, one of Bonny Eagle’s captains, said Cooper put pressure on his team at the 2015 year-end banquet.

“It was kind of known. Coop even called it,” Gammon said. “At the banquet, he said, ‘2016 state champions, here you are.'”

Bonny Eagle lost to Thornton Academy in the South final in 2014 and 2015 after winning the state title in 2013 when the current seniors were freshmen.

“It’s a great feeling leading them here and knowing they wanted it just as bad as me,” Gammon said.

COOPER HAS stressed in recent weeks how his team has always been able to make a play when needed, so he wasn’t worried too much when Portland grabbed an early lead.

“Our guys have a lot of pride. They’ve never failed to deliver when they’ve needed to this year,” Cooper said. “There was really no panic for us at halftime.”


IN THE FIRST HALF, Portland’s defense was consistently getting penetration and making big hits. Menard absorbed two blows on early pass attempts by Cam Day that went incomplete, including a perfectly timed hit by Vinnie Pasquali. Dylan Bolduc tackled Alex Sprague for a loss and then sacked Day with a hard hit.

The Bulldogs failed to capitalize on two first-half possessions.

A first-and-10 from the Bonny Eagle 19 after the Bolduc sack was wasted. Then, early in the second quarter, Bachelder scrambled away from pressure on third-and-7 and appeared to have room to run for a first down but decided too late to throw to Ethan Hoyt. The big tight end made a great one-handed catch that would have put the ball inside the 15, but Bachelder had crossed the line of scrimmage.

WELLS GAVE its fans plenty to celebrate. The block of red in the bleachers remained energized from start to finish in the Warriors’ 44-0 win over Mt. Desert Island for the Class C state title.

At the front of the rowdy pack was senior Bailey Marsh, who directed chants and kept the crowd alive – a role she took on at the beginning of the season. She hasn’t missed a game.

“I guess I just have a really loud voice, and people listen to me,” Marsh said. “It’s nerve-wracking for some people to talk to everyone, so I just stepped up and went for it.”


Marsh isn’t fazed by the spotlight. Her voice carried over horns and cowbells, and when she spoke, everyone listened.

The support doesn’t go unnoticed. When asked about their fans after the game, Wells Coach Tim Roche knew exactly who Marsh was.

“She’s just awesome,” Roche said. “Our whole student section is great. We’re just so proud to be able to represent them.

“I can’t wait to go over there and celebrate with them and say thank you to our crowd.”

Ethan Marsh, Bailey younger brother and a player on the team, also appreciates the support.

“I know how much heart she has and how much support she has for this team; knowing that she’s leading our fan section is great,” said Marsh, a junior. “It’s really incredible to have the whole town behind you like that. It’s something you’ll never experience anywhere else.”


Also helping Marsh lead the chants were fellow seniors Ally O’Brien and Hannah Moody. The trio wore Wells jerseys and streaks of black and red paint under their eyes.

“It’s definitely an awesome feeling,” said O’Brien, clad in Ethan Marsh’s jersey. “It’s so much fun that everybody shows so much support for our football team.”

Moody drummed on a bucket throughout the game, a role she took on after she got her tonsils removed toward the end of the regular season.

“I couldn’t yell, so I got a bucket,” Moody said. “It’s awesome, because the football team is something we could look forward to every Friday. The whole school was ready for this game.”

As time expired, fans filed behind Marsh and jogged to the fence surrounding the field. The Warriors immediately sprinted toward them with their Gold Ball.

“It’s really special,” Ethan Marsh said. “We’ve just got to take a bit to let this soak in and realize what we’ve accomplished.”


LATE IN THE FIRST HALF of the Class C final, Wells was leading 14-0 and MDI had the ball.

The Trojans tried a trick play, with quarterback Andrew Phelps pitching to receiver Drew Rich, and then Phelps went out for a pass in the left flat.

MDI had used the same play at the end of the first half in the North final against Winslow, producing a long gain to set up its first touchdown.

In the South final, Cape Elizabeth had used a similar play late in the game to score against Wells’ second-team defense.

This time, Wells was ready. Michael Wrigley read the play perfectly, and when Rich’s throw hung in the air, Wrigley cut in front of Phelps, intercepted it and returned it 39 yards for a TD that put Wells in front 21-0.

WELLS SENIOR GUARD Alex Holmes-Staples posed with the Gold Ball while standing next to a man in an Army uniform. Scott Staples, 23, surprised his brother by flying in from Fort Stewart, Georgia, for the game.

“I got a two-day pass. Flew in (Saturday) morning and fly out (Sunday),” said Staples, who graduated from Wells in 2012.

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