WELLS — Wells High faced third-and-2 in the third quarter last Saturday, and there was little doubt who would get the ball. Quarterback Michael Wrigley handed off to 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior fullback Nolan Potter.

Potter was hit at the line of scrimmage – or more accurately, Potter hit the defender. Potter’s legs didn’t stop, following hit after hit. He broke four tackles and gained 8 yards.

“He likes to be physical and just keep going,” Wrigley said.

Sounds like a tough kid? Yes, in some ways.

In other ways, Potter is a gentle soul.

After Wells completed its 34-12 win over Madison/Carrabec in the Class D South title game, Potter soon had his helmet off, and was smiling and talking to children. He signed autographs, posed for photos and kept engaging the young fans.

“I like talking to the younger kids, be a good role model, give them something to work for as they get older,” Potter said.

While he hopes to play football in college, Potter thinks he may study to be a teacher. He worked as a camp counselor last summer.

A role model.

“A great kid,” said Wells Coach Tim Roche.

And Roche could add that Potter, 17, is a fine football player, one who will be counted on heavily Saturday when the Warriors (11-0) go for a second straight state championship – they won in Class C last year – against North champion Foxcroft Academy (8-2) at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland. The kickoff is scheduled for 2:36 p.m.

A three-year starter on defense at inside linebacker, Potter became a regular on offense for the first time this fall. The result: 207 carries for 1,390 yards and 26 touchdowns.

“He just goes through you,” Roche said. “He doesn’t avoid contact. He can run. He’s fast.”

Madison knew all about Potter.

“He’s a big part of what they do,” said Coach Scott Franzose. “Not a guy you want to tackle high. You want to gang up and tackle him low.”

One on play early in the fourth quarter, Madison blitzed up the middle, expecting a Potter run. But Wrigley kept it and scampered outside for 29 yards.

“He draws the attention,” Wrigley said. “Sometimes he gets down when he’s not getting a whole lot of yards, but I tell him it opens things up for other people.”

Against Madison, Potter gained 138 yards and rushed for four touchdowns. Halfback Tyler Bridge was also effective, running for 92 yards.

With Potter leading the way, Wells’ offense grinds down opponents, much to the delight of the fan base – a hearty mixture of students, alumni and the community.

“They just give you so much energy,” Potter said. “It’s special.

Potter grew up in Wells. He began playing Pee Wee football in 2011 while watching the high school team win a state title.

“The entire town of Wells came out for that state game,” Potter said. “I’d watch them play. The players were celebrities. They were bigger than life.”

Potter remembers looking up to them. Now that the younger kids are raising their eyes to him, he enjoys the moment while giving back.

Among the Wells fan base are his parents, Adam and Tasha, younger brothers Jonah and Eli, and four grandparents – including grandfather Bob Walker, a former coach at Noble and Kennebunk who influenced Nolan’s hard-nosed style.

“That’s how I was taught to play the game,” Potter said. “Be aggressive and never shy away from contact.”

He is plenty busy during games, but when Potter can, he turns to the crowd.

“My family has a specific spot in the bleachers where they sit during home games,” Potter said. “I can look up and see them all. It’s nice to have that support.”

The family can watch him one more time, as will his young fans. The Foxcroft Academy players also will be paying attention. They know that stopping Nolan Potter is Job 1, and that’s not such an easy task.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

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