Anthony Poole. Contributed photo.

MALE:

ANTHONY POOLE, Senior-Football

  • Class B South all-star, quarterback

  • Class B South all-star, defensive back

  • Captain

Poole was the engine that drove one of this fall’s most inspirational turnaround stories, as the Red Riots improved from one win to seven and got all the way to the Class B South semifinals in Coach Aaron Filieo’s first season.

Poole started out as a receiver and defensive back, then followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Jake Poole, and became the South Portland quarterback as a junior. That year, the Red Riots went just 1-7, but everything was different for South Portland and its star player this season.

Poole had prolific numbers, 2,061 yards and 28 touchdowns on offense and 45 tackles, six pass breakups, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on defense, but that only began to tell his story, as what he did best was simply unquantifiable.

“Anthony doesn’t show any signs of stopping,” said South Portland lineman Nate Ellington. “He just leads the team to victory. He’s an absolute animal.”

Poole’s highlights this fall included two fourth quarter touchdown runs and a TD pass to lead the Red Riots to their first win, 19-14, at Cheverus (Poole ran for 190 yards and threw for another 116 in the victory), two touchdown runs and a TD pass in a win over Noble, three TD runs and a scoring pass in a dramatic come-from-behind victory at Gorham, 116 rushing yards and three scores in a victory at Portland in the “Battle of the Bridge,” two TD runs and a scoring pass in a win at Westbrook and his most impressive performance, rushing for 234 yards and scoring four times in a regular-season ending victory over Sanford.

South Portland took the No. 5 seed in Class B South to Biddeford for the quarterfinals and sprung the upset, as Poole ran for four scores and passed for two more in a 41-19 victory. Poole was injured in the game and could only stand in the pocket and throw in the semifinals, when the Red Riots’ run ended with a 49-6 loss at eventual state champion Marshwood.

Poole will play baseball in college, at Southern New Hampshire University.

Anthony Poole, South Portland’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, certainly left his mark on the gridiron and in the history books of one of the state’s proudest programs. The Red Riots have returned to prominence and his brilliance was a huge reason why.

Coach Aaron Filieo’s comment: “Anthony is one of the best players in the state. He willed the team to win. Part of what makes Anthony great is mentally, he’s as tough as it comes. He’s more than just a very good football player. He’s a once-in-a-generation player. His level of leadership was as good as his level of play. He’s special, for sure.”

Anthony Poole. File photo.

Prior winners:

2018 Aleks Kaurin (soccer)

2017 Charlie Cronin (soccer)

2016 Khalid Suja (soccer)

2015 Gary Maietta (soccer)

2014 Henry Curran (soccer)

2013 Duncan Preston (football)

2012 Damjan Draskovic (soccer)

2011 Logan Gaddar (football)

2010 Nem Kaurin (soccer)

2009 Ryan Curit (football)

2008 Ryan Chapin (soccer)

2007 Nick Gaddar (football)

2006 David Knowland (cross country)

2005 Endy Carrera (soccer)

2004 Nolan Moon (cross country)

2003 Eric Giddings (cross country)

2002 Eric Giddings (cross country)

2001 Devin Shaw (cross country)

Ashlee Aceto. Contributed photo.

FEMALE:

ASHLEE ACETO, Senior—Volleyball

  • SMAA all-star, first-team 

  • Class A all-state, second-team

  • Captain

Aceto did a little of everything to lead the Red Riots to the best regular season (11-3) in program history this fall.

Aceto, who first earned notoriety in high school on the softball diamond, stepped on to the volleyball varsity team as a sophomore and as a setter, quickly turned heads with her ability to keep the ball alive and set up teammates as she was named an all-star, honorable mention. That season, the Red Riots made a surprising run to the Class A state final match before losing to Scarborough. As a junior, Aceto was an honorable mention again.

This fall, she really impressed and reached a career milestone in the process. Aceto finished the season with 405 assists, 132 digs, 31 kills, 22 aces and served at 96.6 percent.

She had 22 assists in a win over Cheverus, 28 assists in a victory over Portland, 22 assists in a win over Bonny Eagle, 27 assists in a victory over Sanford/Noble, 23 assists in a win over Thornton Academy, 26 assists in a victory over Brunswick/Mt. Ararat, 27 assists in a win over Biddeford and 26 assists in a victory over Massabesic.

In the Class A state quarterfinals, the fifth-ranked Red Riots had No. 4 Windham on the ropes, but dropped a five-set heartbreaker.

Aceto eclipsed the 1,000-assist mark for her career, becoming the first player in program history to do so.

“Ashlee has been one of the program’s hardest-working players,” South Portland coach Nicole Kane said. “When she first started, she had never played volleyball, let alone been a setter. She never brought up this milestone to her teammates because the success of the team was more important to her. She’s the first player in program history to reach 1,000 (assists).  I could not be more proud of her for reaching this milestone.”

Ashlee Aceto, South Portland’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year, came late to volleyball, but she was a quick study and turned into one of the finest setters around. She’ll be tough to replace.

Coach Nicole Kane’s comment: “Ashlee stepped into the role as starting setter in 2017 and has become more comfortable in controlling the team’s offense every year. She is a player that shows up every day to work hard. She has grown tremendously over the last three years, allowing herself to be confident in the decisions she makes on the court. She knew who to get the ball to when the team needed a point and how to get points effectively. Ashlee not only controlled our offense but led the team in serving percentage. When we needed a serve in, we could count on her. She also played great defense, knowing how important each person’s role is. Ashlee has been a part of teams that relied on one player for points and has now seen and helped the program grow to being one that can rely on multiple hitters. Ashlee was not afraid to hit the floor running or diving after any ball to keep it in play. She was able to get to balls most setters can’t and produce a hittable set for others or step up and play offense as well. Ashlee is a player that hustles no matter what we are doing. She comes into the gym and works hard. She leads her teammates in everything they do and encourages them to work hard.”

Ashlee Aceto. File photo.

Prior winners:

2018 Lydia Grant (field hockey)

2017 Molly Mawhinney (volleyball)

2016 Lydia Henderson (field hockey)

2015 Serena McKenzie (cross country)

2014 Casey Loring (cross country)

2013 Shannon Conley (cross country)

2012 Nyajock Pan (cross country)

2011 Nyajock Pan (cross country)

2010 Rebecca Roberts (field hockey)

2009 Karleigh Bradbury (soccer)

2008 Annelise Donahue (cross country)

2007 Annelise Donahue (cross country)

2006 Kristina Aceto (field hockey)

2005 Emily Haeuser (cross country)

2004 Courtney Albin (soccer)

2003 Christina Aceto (soccer)

2002 Andrea Giddings (cross country)

2001 Andrea Giddings (cross country)

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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