One thing is certain when it comes the 47th annual Fitzpatrick Trophy.

A school will have its first winner.

Falmouth High quarterback Jack Bryant and running backs Owen Garrard of Scarborough and Nolan Potter of Wells are the three finalists for the James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy, given annually to the top senior in Maine high school football.

Wells has had finalists in the past, including Chris Carney in 2014 and Louie DiTomasso in 2011, two players that inspired Potter.

“If I were to be the first Wells player to win it would be unbelievable,” Potter said. “I watched Chris Carney from the sidelines when I was a freshman when he was gaining over 2,000 yards and to think this year I’m in the same spot that he was is surreal.

“And when I was first starting in youth football Louie DiTomasso came to our practice and taught me how to do the correct stance as a linebacker. He probably doesn’t remember that but I do.”

Bryant is Falmouth’s first Fitzy finalist.

“It’s definitely a different feeling being one of the last three, and being the first person from Falmouth to be in the final three is a real honor,” Bryant said. “It really means a lot to represent all the work that your team and your program has done all the years.”

This year’s winner will be announced at a banquet on Sunday, Jan. 14 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.

“It feels really good,” Garrard said of being one of the finalists. “It’s a personal award but honestly for me I think of it as a team award. I wouldn’t have done it without the team. The offensive line, especially the seniors Ben Hughes, Alex Bryer and Anthony Griffin, did a great job and (quarterback) Zoltan Panyi did a great job, too. Without them I wouldn’t be here.”

The Fitzpatrick Trophy, named for former Portland High coach and educator James J. Fitzpatrick, was first awarded in 1971 and is supported through a trust that was established by Julius “Yudy” Elowitch.

The finalists were chosen by a vote of the state’s high school head coaches and media, from the list of 12 semifinalists nominated by a committee, headed by Jack Dawson. The semifinalists were chosen based on football and academic performance, with football counting for 70 percent.

“These three are among the top four students nominated so that speaks well for the coaches’ value of academic performance,” Dawson said. “That meets up with the purpose of the award.”

Bryant, who also played safety, has a 94.5 GPA. This season he completed 86 of 154 passes for 1,509 yards and 17 touchdowns while throwing two interceptions. He also carried the ball 171 times for 1,076 yards and another 18 touchdowns in leading Falmouth to the Class B South championship game. He recently was accepted at Bates College where he plans to attend and play football.

Garrard, who has a weighted GPA of 96.2, was the offensive and defensive leader for Scarborough, which won the Class A title. As a running back he carried 138 times for 1,204 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also had two receiving TDs. As a linebacker he made 76 tackles, 10 for loss. Garrard does not expect to play football in college.

Potter, like Garrard, was a two-way leader for Wells, which went undefeated and won the Class D championship. He rushed for 1,550 yards and 28 TDs and made over 100 tackles and forced four fumbles. Also a state champion wrestler, Potter has a 90.9 GPA. Potter is pursuing college options and would like to continue to play football.

The other nine semifinalists are also invited to attend the award banquet with family and friends. They are, Leavitt quarterback Tim Albert, Foxcroft Academy quarterback Nick Clawson, Edward Little quarterback Grant Hartley, Thornton Academy linebacker Cameron Houde, Mount Desert Island running back Colby Lee, Cony wide receiver Jordan Roddy, Bonny Eagle quarterback Connor Sirois, Cape Elizabeth running back Ryan Weare and Madison running back Sean Whalen.

This year’s guest speaker will be former six-term U.S. Representative Tom Allen of Portland, who was captain of his football teams at Deering High and Bowdoin College and a Rhodes scholar.

Until the award is announced, only the accounting firm in charge of counting the votes knows who will win.

“That’s the best part of this whole thing,” Dawson said. “I never know. I like the drama of it. I’ve chosen never to know. It’s just more fun this way.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: SteveCCraig

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