Kennebunk’s Tripp Bush, left, and Zackary Sullivan celebrate after Bush scored a touchdown on Saturday against Marshwood during the Class B South football fina at Waterhouse Field. (Staff photo by Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer)

KENNEBUNK — The Kennebunk High football team saw its season come to an abrupt end last Saturday when the rival Marshwood Hawks picked up a 14-13 win over the Rams in the regional final.

It was a disappointing end for the Rams, especially for the team’s 18 seniors who have been an integral part of Kennebunk’s success over the past three years.
“Certainly we are all disappointed and it’s going to take a while to get over it,” said Kennebunk coach Joe Rafferty, whose team finished with a 10-1 record. “Basically (my message to the team) was it doesn’t change who we are or what we are, it’s just disappointing.”
Rafferty, who just completed his 40th season as head coach, was heartbroken for his players.
“You never think about what if we lose? What are we going to do? You never think that way. It’s really tough. You put every ounce of who you are and what you’ve got into coaches preparing, kids practicing and just everyone’s working for a common goal. We were fortunate we could do it 10 times and then we came up short on the 11th,” Rafferty said. “I’m hurt and sad for the kids. You always want more.”
The senior class — led by quarterback Tripp Bush, running back Derek Smith, fullback/linebacker Dante DeLorenzo, wide receiver Zack Sullivan, linebacker Chase Lamontagne and defensive tackle Brede Gibson — lost just four games over the past three seasons.
“A lot of seniors and guys who have contributed right from the get-go. Everything we’ve ever asked of them, they have done,” said Rafferty of the senior class, which also included key contributors like Alden Shields, Cam Lovejoy, Evan Schindler and Thomas VanDeinse.
The Kennebunk seniors certainly proved they could play on the field, but Rafferty was also impressed with the group off the field.
“If you look, they have a tremendous amount of talent, but the type of kids they are — they are just fun to be around all the time. I never worry about what they’re doing, where they are, I just know they’re doing the right thing,” said Rafferty. “Those guys are just winners. They (bring) a great energy to our school. Kids follow them, they are leaders, you know they kind of create a whole different atmosphere in terms of the environment … these are those kids that don’t come along too often.”
Despite the loss of 18 seniors, which also includes Nick Robinson, James Colby, Jacob Cook, Anthony Baptista, Dustin Chambers, Lucas Brown, TJ McNally and Holden Johnson, Rafferty is expecting the program to reload next season.
“Our expectation is to compete to win. We’re going to lose some great kids, but I’ve got juniors and sophomores and some freshman that will have to fill in, but we’re going to expect to compete for the title,” Rafferty said.

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