Zach Maturo dives into the end zone for Bonny Eagle’s final touchdown in its 34-21 victory over Thornton Academy in the Class A state championship game. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

STANDISH — If there is one thing that defines Zach Maturo even more than his quickness, his athletic ability and his toughness, it’s that he is a competitor.

A few days before the Class A football championship game, Maturo was asked about facing Thornton Academy. Was he worried about meeting the defending state champions, owners of a 22-game winning streak and a team that had worn down Bonny Eagle in a 21-14 regular-season victory?

Hardly.

“Since we lost to them, we’ve been thinking, we’ll see them in states. It’s definitely like the perfect situation,” Maturo said.

In the championship game, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior known more for his basketball acumen led the Scots to their own perfect ending – a 34-21 victory.

Maturo was electric. He rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns. He returned a kickoff 71 yards to set up a touchdown, moments after blocking an extra-point kick.

After that performance, Bonny Eagle Coach Kevin Cooper touted Maturo as the best player in Maine.

We agree. Maturo is our choice as the Varsity Maine Football Player of the Year, edging the top player in Class B, fullback/linebacker Justin Bryant of Marshwood.

What set Maturo apart was his diverse abilities, combined with an intense will to win.

Maturo rushed for 1,264 yards. He caught 21 passes. A former quarterback, he also was 2 for 2 on option passes. He scored 25 touchdowns. When the game was on the line, as in overtime of Bonny Eagle’s hard-fought semifinal win against Scarborough, Maturo got the ball, scoring the winning touchdown on a direct snap.

“We’re going to put the ball in the hands of our best player and let him try to get into the end zone,” Cooper said.

Maturo was also a shutdown cornerback, a return man on punts and kickoffs, and the team’s rugby-style punter with a knack for kicking away from dangerous return specialists.

His triumphs came following an eventful junior year. In football, Maturo and Bonny Eagle were off to a 5-0 start. But he injured his shoulder in a loss at Oxford Hills and the Scots didn’t win another game.

“I thought I was going to have this sort of season my junior season, but it got cut short because I hurt my shoulder,” Maturo said. “Going into this season, I was ready for a good season, a crazy season.”

Now Maturo’s focus shifts to basketball, his best sport. He is a returning Varsity Maine All-State player who last season spearheaded the Scots’ to a surprising 18-4 season and the Class AA South title.

“I think I’m a basketball kid that just excels at football, too,” Maturo said. “It’s just as fun, but I’d have to go basketball. I want to play basketball (in college). That’s my goal right now.”

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: