As he did on so many scoring drives, Owen Garrard put the finishing touch Sunday on the greatest season in Scarborough High football history.

Garrard was named the 47th winner of the James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy, given annually in recognition of the state’s top senior high school football player.

Garrard is the first player from Scarborough to win the award. He rushed for 1,204 yards and 24 touchdowns and also caught two TD passes to lead the Red Storm to their first Class A championship. As a hard-hitting fast-reacting linebacker he made 76 tackles, 10 for loss. Scarborough went 10-1 in 2017 and dominated down the stretch. In a 57-0 state championship win against Windham, Garrard scored five touchdowns.

“It really is an honor but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, my offensive linemen,” Garrard said. “They’re really the reason I’m here and I really consider this a team award.”

He was selected in a vote among the state’s head coaches and media members from a list of 12 semifinalists.

Garrard, Falmouth quarterback Jack Bryant and Wells running back/linebacker Nolan Potter emerged as the three top vote-getters. At Sunday’s dinner they sat together at the head table, getting to know each other and prepping for their individual speeches.

“Obviously everyone wants to win but I’m just happy to be here,” said Potter. “I didn’t think I’d be a semifinalist. I didn’t think I’d be a finalist. Just to being able to be there and sit at that table with those guys and to be able to give my speech and let everyone know what football means to me, having that platform was really cool. It’s just a memory I’m going to remember for a really long time.”

“With all the great players in Maine this year to be one of the finalists meant a lot,” said Bryant, the first player from Falmouth to be a finalist. “There couldn’t have been a more deserving player than Owen. He was such a great player for Scarborough this season and they had such a great season. I think this was a year when any of the three finalists were deserving candidates and he definitely deserved to win.”

When Garrard’s name was announced as the winner by guest speaker and former U.S. congressman Tom Allen of Portland, some teammates in attendance bounced from their seat and let out a raucous cheer, adding a burst of energy to the festivities at the Holiday Inn by the Bay.

“I knew they would do that,” Garrard said. “I’m glad they came, glad they got to be a part of it. They’ve been cheering me on all season and we’ve been cheering each other on.”

Garrard previously had been named the state’s football Player of the Year by the Maine Sunday Telegram.

He said individual and team success really began in the summer with weight training and conditioning.

“I changed my summer job so I could get a job that allowed me to get to the morning workouts,” he said.

That was important because, “if you’re connected with those who you’re out there with you want to fight for them more, play for them more, and so you just play better if you have better chemistry.”

Scarborough’s only previous Fitzpatrick finalist was Neal Demena in 2002.

The Fitzpatrick Award also incorporates a scholastic ranking into the application process. Garrard, Bryant and Potter each excel in the classroom and participate in community and volunteer activities.

Bryant passed for 1,509 yards and 17 touchdowns and also ran for 1,036 yards and 18 scores, leading Falmouth to an 8-3 record. In three seasons as Falmouth’s starting quarterback he threw for 38 touchdowns and rushed for another 27. He has been accepted at Bates College where he intends to continue to play football.

Potter rushed for 1,550 yards and 28 touchdowns while making over 100 tackles at linebacker as Wells rolled to an undefeated Class D championship. He also started at linebacker as a junior on the Warriors’ Class C title team. Potter is undecided about his college destination but does intend to continue playing football.

Garrard intends to major in criminal justice and is visiting larger schools. He said while his football playing days are “sadly” at an end, the lessons in leadership and responsibility learned from playing football will stick with him.

And, perhaps, Scarborough 2017 successes, including Garrard’s Fitzpatrick Trophy, can inspire future Red Storm players.

“Maybe it sets a precedent for Scarborough football,” Garrard said. “In the past we really weren’t considered a powerhouse at all and in recent years we’ve gotten more recognition and maybe it can pave a little pathway to more championships in the future.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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Twitter: SteveCCraig


Correction: This story was revised at 10:43 a.m., Jan. 16, 2018,  to reflect that Neal Demena was the first Scarborough finalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy.