A combination of fate, talent, and good teammates put Dylan Bolduc into select company he never expected.

Bolduc, a running back and linebacker at Portland High, was one of the 11 semifinalists announced Wednesday for the 46th James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy, presented annually since 1971 to the top senior high school football player in Maine.

Other semifinalists selected by the Fitzpatrick Trophy Committee are Keenan Collett, Orono; Joey Curit, Biddeford; Cameron Day, Bonny Eagle; Riley Dempsey, Wells; Jesse Devereaux, Brunswick; Ben Ekedahl, Cape Elizabeth; Michael Laverriere, Thornton Academy; Francis McSweeney, Skowhegan; Makao Thompson, Mt. Blue; and Trey Wood, Brewer.

“I never really thought about the Fitzy,” said Bolduc, who started the season as a defensive back and fullback. “I was more worried about the state championship. That was really the goal.”

Portland came up one win shy, losing to Bonny Eagle 34-14 in the Class A championship game. Bolduc’s ability to shift roles after starting tailback Nick Archambault was injured in the third game of the season was essential to the Bulldogs’ success.

“It just shows how talented the team was as a whole,” Bolduc said. “You can’t excel as a single player. You have to have a good team.”

The state’s head coaches and media members have until Dec. 12 to vote for their top three choices. The top three vote-getters will be announced soon after and invited to the award banquet, where the winner will be announced Jan. 15 at the Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland.

“I’ve been to the dinner every year in high school,” said Laverriere, Thornton’s hard-running quarterback. “My freshman year I went home that night knowing I wanted to be in that position when I was a senior. It was a good goal to look forward to and hopefully to be there by my senior year.”

“It’s just something you can work toward,” said Curit, Biddeford’s quarterback. “Obviously you have team goals. You aspire to win championships and games but a goal like this helps you to drive the rest of your team because you need a strong team to be considered for individual awards.”

Jack Dawson, the general chairman of the Fitzpatrick Trophy committee, said nominees were judged on on-field performance, academics, and service within school and the community. Football performance, judged through 10 statistical categories, accounts for 70 percent of a nominee’s valuation.

Last season’s winner was Joe Esposito of Portland.

Bolduc was at the dinner to cheer on Esposito. Now he’s a candidate for a spot at the Fitzpatrick front table.

“I didn’t really think that would be the scenario coming into the season but it would be a great honor,” Bolduc said.

Here’s a closer look at each semifinalist:

• Bolduc rushed for 1,257 yards and 15 touchdowns, and made 106 tackles. He also added 400 receiving yards with two scores, intercepted five passes and played on special teams. Bolduc has a 96 (out of 100) grade-point average, is a member of the Key Club, has volunteered at the Preble Street soup kitchen and been a peer tutor.

• Collett, a fullback/linebacker, rushed for 1,009 yards (7.5 per carry) and 23 touchdowns, and caught 35 passes for 723 yards and nine TDs. On defense he made 97 tackles, 67 solo. Collett has a 93.3 GPA, is president of Orono’s National Honor Society, a member of the math team and French club, received a volunteer with distinction award and represented Orono at Boys State.

• Curit, the Tigers’ quarterback and safety, and Class B South Player of the Year, completed 55 percent of his passes for 1,015 yards and 10 touchdowns, and rushed for 701 yards and five scores. He made 56 tackles, intercepted three passes and recovered two fumbles. He also helped on special teams. Ranked fourth in his class of 191 students with a 4.16 GPA (on a 4.0 scale), Curit is a member of the student council, National Honor Society, Interact, and plays hockey and baseball.

• Day led the Scots to the Class A championship as a dual-threat quarterback and played safety. He completed 65 percent of his passes for 733 yards and 12 touchdowns, and rushed for over 940 yards with 12 scores. Day carries a 2.92 GPA, is on the lacrosse team and does volunteer work with various groups.

• Dempsey, a running back, defensive back and key special teams contributor, rarely came off the field for the Class C champion Warriors. He rushed for over 700 yards and 19 touchdowns. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound captain was also the team’s long-snapper. He has a 92 academic average and is a busy community service volunteer.

• Devereaux, a running back/linebacker and the Class B North Player of the Year, rushed for 790 yards (9.0 yards per carry) and 10 touchdowns, and also threw for two scores while adding 100 receiving yards. The defensive leader for the Class B champion Dragons, he made 20 of his 76 tackles behind the line, including four sacks. Devereaux has an 84 GPA, plays basketball, and has done considerable community service through Action Team, a program sponsored by Major League Baseball.

• Ekedahl, a wide receiver/safety, rushed for 295 yards and four touchdowns, and gained 610 receiving yards with six touchdowns. He also returned a kick for a score and made 62 tackles with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He has an 88 academic average, plays lacrosse and hockey, and is a youth sports volunteer.

• Laverriere, a quarterback/safety, rushed for 1,384 yards and 20 touchdowns, and scored a receiving touchdown. He completed 49 of 86 passes for 813 yards and another seven scores in his first season as Thornton’s quarterback. He was in on 63 tackles, five for loss and intercepted three passes. A 3.5 GPA student, Laverriere is ranked in the top 10 percent of his class of 391 students, is a Key Club member, a peer tutor, and volunteers in youth sports and fundraisers.

• McSweeney was a prolific passer, completing 168 of 319 attempts for 2,433 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also rushed for 457 yards and six scores, and was the kicker and punter. In the last four games at defensive back, he led Skowhegan in tackles. McSweeney is involved in a variety of activities, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, drama, music, Key Club and peer tutoring.

• Thompson, a tailback and cornerback, rushed for 780 yards and seven touchdowns, and caught 10 passes for 116 yards and a score. He was in on 23 tackles with one interception. With a 96.7 academic average, Thompson plays baseball and basketball, is a member of the National Honor Society and is active with Special Olympics.

• Wood, a bruising tailback/linebacker, rushed for 2,014 yards and scored 27 touchdowns, and eight 2-point conversions. He made 83 tackles with an interception and three fumble recoveries. Wood plays hockey, runs track, and volunteers with fundraisers, youth sports and other outdoor projects.

CORRECTION: This story was updated on Dec. 2, 2016 at 1:48 p.m. to clarify the extracurricular and community service activities for Brunswick High’s Jesse Devereaux.


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