Kennebunk senior Dante DeLorenzo rumbles for some yards during a game this past season. JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY

The semifinalists for the 48th annual James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy were announced on Wednesday and four local standouts made the cut for the state’s top high school football honor.
Kennebunk’s Dante DeLorenzo,Biddeford’s Carter Edgerton, Thornton Academy’s Anthony Bracamonte and Wells’ Tyler Bridge were among the 12 semifinalists for the award, which goes to the state’s top senior football player.
The winner is decided by a vote of the state’s coaches and members of the media. Voting will end on Dec. 14 and the three finalists are usually announced prior to the holiday break. The 2018 Fitzpatrick Trophy winner will be revealed at an awards dinner on Jan. 20 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.
Two of the most talked about players in the state this year have been Bracamonte and Bridge, who both led their teams to state championships in November.

Wells’ Tyler Bridge heads down the field on a long run during the Class D state final. Jason Gendron Photography

Bracamonte, who is a three-sport athlete and spends time volunteering, finished his senior campaign with 2,137 all-purpose yards and 27 total touchdowns. The standout ran for over 1,000 yards and 9 scores, while also catching 27 passes for 578 yards and 11 scores. The TA senior also made a huge impact on special teams as he returned seven kicks for scores.
“He had a great career for us and a great (senior) season. He ended up with over 2,000 yards of offense,” said TA coach Kevin Kezal.
The speedy wide receiver would step up when the Trojans needed him most as he accounted for 925 yards and 11 touchdowns during TA’s playoff run.
“He played his best in our biggest games and I think that’s kind of the mark that we always use with our players — you’ve got to play your best football against our best opponents and certainly he did that for us down the stretch,” said Kezal, who watched Bracamonte put up 100 rushing yards, five catches for 144 yards and four touchdowns — including one on a punt return — in the Trojans’ Class A state title game win.
Kezal, who has coached some incredible athletes over the past two decades, believes Bracamonte is a truly special player with a unique skill set.
“I just think he’s a really dynamic player. Since I’ve been the head coach I haven’t had a player like him. He is just different,” Kezal said. “It’s hard to get a big hit on him. He’s got really good speed, but people forget how hard he’s worked in the weight room to get strong. If you watched him this year and how he ran through tackles. He’s just tough to deal with.”
Bridge had a monster season for the Warriors as he helped them win their third straight state championship. The Wells senior ran for 2,390 yards and had 45 total touchdowns, including two on kick returns. He also had 48 tackles and four interceptions on the defensive side of the ball.
Bridge closed out his career with an impressive performance as he ran for 206 yards and five touchdowns, while also throwing a TD pass in the Warriors’ Class D state final victory.
While his 2018 stats are incredible, Wells head coach Tim Roche is even more impressed with how Bridge carries himself off the field — and he believes the senior can inspire future Warriors.
“We use him as an example and we should. What it does is build up our program. Kids see that and want to be Tyler Bridge,” said Roche of the three-sport standout and National Honor Society member. “As much as football is taking a little bit of beating at times numbers-wise and publicity-wise, a kid like him brings the kids out who want to be that kid. That’s great to see because not only do they see him being a football player, but they see him be a citizen and they see him being a student.”
The Warriors nearly had a Fitzpatrick Trophy winner last season when former WHS standout Nolan Potter was a finalist — and Roche would certainly love to see his standout bring the award back to Wells this year.
“It would be a big deal for us,” said Roche.
The longtime Wells coach believes if Bridge wins the prestigious award it could be a boost for players who compete in the state’s smaller divisions.
“I think him winning (the Fitzpatrick Trophy) would send a message to a lot (of people) that it is an award for all four classes,” said Roche. “I’ve seen things being posted ‘well, he plays Class D’ and ‘what would he be in (Class) A?’ And I don’t get that … then don’t make the award an all-class award. If you are going to weight Class A more than Class B then it shouldn’t be an all-class award.”
Roche believes Bridge could have been a star in any program in the state.
“I don’t care what team, whether it’s Thornton, Portland, Bonny Eagle, name one, if I had Tyler Bridge, Tyler Bridge would have 2,000 yards rushing,” Roche said. “I’m sorry, he just would. He’s that kind of kid. I don’t care what team you put him on, he’s going to be your leading rusher.”

Biddeford quarterback Carter Edgerton scrambles away from pressure during a game this past season at Waterhouse Field. TAMMY BELANGER PHOTOGRAPHY

Bracamonte and Bridge will get a lot of the attention, but Edgerton also put up impressive numbers in his senior campaign — and the standout had to lead an extremely young squad.
The Biddeford quarterback threw for over 1,000 yards and 12 scores, while also running for 850 yards and four touchdowns as he led the Tigers to the Class B South playoffs.
“We’re thrilled. I really believe that he’s certainly one of the best 12 in the state and he’s a fantastic kid,” said Biddeford coach Brian Curit of Edgerton, who is a member of the National Honor Society and volunteers in the community. “When a guy throws for a thousand yards and runs for 900 — he threw 12 touchdowns, he ran for four — any way that you slice that, it’s a pretty impressive season.”
Curit watched Edgerton and Marty Martel, Biddeford’s other senior captain, step up this season when the Tigers needed leadership.
“One thing I don’t think you can overstate is we were so sophomore-laden and one of the things I told (Edgerton) and Marty Martel is they had to get out of their comfort zone and they had a very unenviable task,” said Curit. “They had to lead a very, very young, inexperienced group in a very tough league with the likes of Marshwood and Kennebunk.”
The longtime Biddeford coach was impressed with guys like Bracamonte and Bridge, but he believes Edgerton had a tougher road this season.
“I saw Bracamonte play and he deserves to be where he is. Tyler Bridge is as good as any player regardless of class, but they were fortunate. Both of those guys played amongst seniors and that’s why they ended up winning state championships,” said Curit. “With Carter, it was a whole different ball game. I’m sure it was very trying for him at times and Carter’s attitude throughout the whole season was just incredible. Carter by nature is not terribly vocal, and he became incredibly vocal and he did everything we asked of him and more.”

Thornton Academy’s Anthony Bracamonte turns the corner on a run during the Class A state championship game. JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY

DeLorenzo earned his way onto the semifinalist list by dominating on both sides of the ball. The senior led the Rams in tackles from his inside linebacker spot, while also running for 775 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.
The senior, who is a member of the National Honor Society and plays lacrosse, helped the Rams go undefeated in the regular season and reach the Class B South final.
The other semifinalists are Skowhegan quarterback Marcus Christopher, Portland running back Zack Elowitch, Dirigo fullback/linebacker Alex Gorham, Marshwood quarterback Tommy Springer, Bucksport running back Carter Tolmasoff, Hermon quarterback Garrett Trask, Bonny Eagle running back Will Whyte and Cony wide receiver Matthew Wozniak.
— Sports Editor Pat McDonald can be reached at or at 780-9017. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.

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