BOYS’ TEAM

JASON MCLEOD – Portland football

Head coach Jason McLeod, this fall’s Coach of the Year of a boys’ team, brings the players in to talk during Portland High School football practice on Aug. 24. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

Two years removed from a one-win season and one year removed from not playing at all, Portland’s football team stole headlines from start to finish in 2021.

The Bulldogs went undefeated, earned the top seed for the Class B South playoffs and advanced all the way to the regional final before losing to reigning and eventual champion Marshwood.

Portland’s program has returned to prominence and the Bulldogs did it in style and with that in mind, The Forecaster is naming Jason McLeod our Portland edition Fall Coach of the Year of a boys’ team.

McLeod played at Bonny Eagle and for a short time professionally overseas, then was the head coach at Westbrook in 2005 and 2006, spent eight years as an assistant at Windham before coming to Portland as an assistant to Jim Hartman in 2016. McLeod helped lead the Bulldogs to the state final in both 2016 and 2018, but after taking over as head coach in 2019, he inherited a squad that was talented, but very young and as a result, some growing pains ensued during a 1-7 season. Portland would have been competitive had there been a 2020 campaign and the Bulldogs returned to prominence this year.

Portland, led offensively by standout quarterback Grant Crosby, Deering transfer Brandon Boyle and several other key contributors, also featured a staunch defense. The Bulldogs opened with a key win at Kennebunk, then ran the regular season table, outscoring the opposition, 283-61.

Portland, ranked first in Class B South, dominated Biddeford and Noble in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, but in the regional final, had no answers for Marshwood and its season came to a bitter conclusion (the Bulldogs did play once more, handling Deering, 68-3, on Thanksgiving Day).

“The guys came to work all year and we got better,” McLeod said. “Not to look too far ahead, but we have a lot of guys coming back and we have a chance to build off this season and do something really great next year.”

Indeed, the Bulldogs will be right back in the hunt in 2022 and beyond as long as Jason McLeod, our Portland edition boys’ team Fall Coach of the Year, is leading the charge.

Prior winners:

• 2020 Brandon Salway (Waynflete soccer)
• 2019 Brandon Salway (Waynflete soccer)
• 2018 Brandon Salway (Waynflete soccer)
• 2017 Rocco Frenzilli (Portland soccer)
• 2016 Frank Myatt (Deering cross country)
• 2015 Jason Jackson (Deering football)
• 2014 Colin Minte (Cheverus soccer)
• 2013 Rocco Frenzilli (Portland soccer)
• 2012 John Wolfgram (Cheverus football)
• 2011 Brandon Salway (Waynflete soccer)
• 2010 Rocco Frenzilli (Portland soccer)
• 2009 John Wolfgram (Cheverus football)
• 2008 Billy Goodman (Deering golf)
• 2007 Andy LeFebvre (Deering soccer)
• 2006 John Simpson (Cheverus cross country)
• 2005 Jim Ouellette (Cheverus golf)
• 2004 Mike Bailey (Portland football)

GIRLS’ TEAM

THERESA HENDRIX – Cheverus field hockey

Hendrix

Cheverus’ field hockey program has produced some great teams over the years, but nothing like the juggernaut that was unleashed upon Class A this fall.

The Stags steamrolled the opposition to the tune of an 18-0 record and for the first time, captured a state title, handling perennial champion Skowhegan in the final game.

Orchestrating all of that, seamlessly blending seasoned veterans with talented newcomers, was a one-time program standout and now-coach Theresa Hendrix, who has returned to lead Cheverus to glory.

And with all of that in mind, The Forecaster is naming Theresa Hendrix our Portland edition Fall Coach of the Year of a girls’ team.

Hendrix first made her mark at Cheverus playing field hockey, basketball and softball, and three times was named Spring Athlete of the Year in the latter sport. Hendrix went on to star in multiple sports at St. Joseph’s College as well before beginning her field hockey coaching career at Westbrook with Beth Murphy. Hendrix returned to Cheverus in 2017 to take over the softball program, then moved over to field hockey in 2019. After leading the Stags to a 7-5-3 campaign and the quarterfinals her first season, they went 7-1 a year ago, but due to COVID, there was no postseason.

This fall, there would be no stopping Cheverus, which was led offensively by junior Taylor Tory, sophomore Lily Johnson and freshman Lucy Johnson, all of whom will return in 2022, by the way. The Stags started with an 8-0 win over Marshwood, then handily downed reigning regional champion Biddeford, 6-2, and never looked back. Cheverus was only tested twice during the regular season, edging longtime nemesis Scarborough, 1-0, and winning at Massabesic, 3-2.

As the top seed for the Class A South playoffs, the Stags had no trouble with Kennebunk in the quarterfinals and Falmouth in the semifinals, but they were pushed to the brink by Scarborough in the regional final. Cheverus managed to survive on a late goal from Tory, then faced the daunting task of playing Skowhegan for the title. The Stags were unfazed from the get-go, took the play to Skowhegan and a 4-1 victory was the end result.

“It’s a special group of girls,” Hendrix said. “Between their commitment, hard work and positivity, they’re great players, but they play so well as a team. I think that’s what made them so successful.”

This isn’t the last time Cheverus will make a run at the pinnacle. That’s because Theresa Hendrix, our Portland edition girls’ team Fall Coach of the Year, has put the pieces in place for sustained greatness. Something with which she’s long been synonymous.

Prior winners:

• 2020 Craig Roberts (Cheverus soccer)
• 2019 Curtis Chapin (Portland soccer)
• 2018 Amethyst Hersom (Deering field hockey)
• 2017 Larry Nichols (Deering volleyball)
• 2016 Craig Roberts (Cheverus soccer)
• 2015 Amy Ashley (Cheverus field hockey)
• 2014 Arthur Mosen (Portland soccer)
• 2013 Todd Dominski (Waynflete soccer)
• 2012 Todd Dominski (Waynflete soccer)
• 2011 Beth Arsenault (Portland field hockey)
• 2010 Noelle Surette (Waynflete field hockey)
• 2009 Amy McMullin (Cheverus field hockey)
• 2008 Ziggy Gillespie (Waynflete cross country)
• 2007 Patsy Fowler (Cheverus field hockey)
• 2006 Dave Levasseur (Portland soccer)
• 2005 Tim Donovan (McAuley cross country)
• 2004 Jon Shardlow (Waynflete soccer)

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

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