KENNEDY CHARLES, Senior – Football

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• SMAA Class B South Co-Player of the Year
• SMAA Class B all-star, first-team
* Willie Greenlaw Award winner (team MVP)
* Captain

There aren’t many players who can step into an unfamiliar position and not only excel, but change the direction of their team’s fortunes in the process.

Kennedy Charles did exactly that this fall, moving into the quarterback position and helping the Bulldogs bounce back from a 1-3 start and make it all the way to the Class B state final, turning heads with dazzling play after dazzling play along the way.

Charles, who is also a talented basketball player, made a big impact as a junior at running back/wide receiver, earning league all-star mention while helping Portland to an undefeated regular season and trip to the regional final.

This fall, Charles’ play was breathtaking, as he ran for 1,809 yards (10.1 yards per carry) and developed a nice rapport with Remijo Wani in the passing game as well, throwing for 590 yards overall. Charles also had 171 yards receiving early in the year and tallied 341 return yards on punts, kickoffs and interceptions. He finished with 2,911 all-purpose yards (likely a program record), 25 touchdowns and six two-point conversions.


Charles, who also was a force on defense with 68 tackles and one interception while always covering the opponents’ top receiver, had an abundance of highlights.

Charles started the season with a bang, running the ball 14 times for 110 yards and a touchdown and catching a TD as well, but Bulldogs’ senior quarterback Sam Esposito was injured in the victory at Kennebunk. Portland then lost to eventual Class C champion Leavitt, perennial Class A contender Bonny Eagle (Charles had a touchdown run) and eventual Class A champion Oxford Hills in succession and that led to Charles being inserted as the team’s ‘Wildcat’ quarterback.

And from there, the Bulldogs caught fire, with Charles sparking an almost unstoppable attack. He ran for 238 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries, and threw for a TD as well, in a win at Biddeford, gained 151 yards and scored three times on 15 rushes in a revenge victory over Marshwood and picked up 194 yards with a touchdown on 21 carries, and threw for a score as well in a win at South Portland in the regular season-ending “Battle of the Bridge.”

Charles and his teammates weren’t finished, as they earned the top seed for the Class B South tournament and rolled to the regional crown. In a 42-13 quarterfinal round victory over Noble, Charles had TD runs of 60-, 47-, 80- and 80-yards in the first half alone, then he threw for a score in the second half. Portland dispatched Kennebunk, 40-20, in the semifinals, as Charles ran for four more scores and 292 yards total. The Bulldogs were pushed by South Portland in the regional final, but managed to advance, 29-20, as Charles ran for 203 yards and three TDs on 33 carries. Portland then lost a tough one to Skowhegan, 20-14, in the state game, but Charles bowed out with 151 hard-fought yards on the ground with two more TDs.

Charles received several postseason honors and will likely be in the discussion for the Fitzpatrick Trophy. He has a great chance to play football at the next level as well.

Kennedy Charles, Portland’s Fall Athlete of the Year, truly did it all this season and he nearly led his team to the Promised Land in the process.


Coach Jason McLeod’s comment: “Kennedy put the team on his back and was our leader through our road to the state title game. I’ve seen very few players who have done what he has and vaulted a team to the success we had. And, he did it all while never missing a practice, being a consummate leader and displaying ultimate sportsmanship along the way. Kennedy’s a special player and a special kid. When he touched the ball, good things happened more often than not.”

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Prior winners:

• 2021 Brandon Boyle (football)
* 2020 Bennett Berg (golf)
• 2019 Alex Millones (soccer)
• 2018 Zack Elowitch (football)
• 2017 Quinn Clarke (soccer/football)
• 2016 Dylan Bolduc (football)
• 2015 Joe Esposito (football)
• 2014 Jeremiah Copeland (football)
• 2013 Justin Zukowski (football)
• 2012 Tate Gale (football)
• 2011 Tim Rovnak (soccer)
• 2010 Fazal Nabi (soccer)
• 2009 Fazal Nabi (soccer)
• 2008 Fazal Nabi (soccer)
• 2007 Matt Methot (cross country)
• 2006 Chris Treister (football)
• 2005 Josh Wang (cross country)
• 2004 Ayalew Taye (cross country)

SAMANTHA MOORE, Sophomore – Cross country

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• All-New England
* SMAA all-star, first-team

Moore built on a terrific debut season with an even better sophomore campaign and made history in the process, leading the Bulldogs to their best state meet finish in years.


As a freshman, Moore placed 10th at the Class A state meet, helping Portland place seventh as a team, its best showing this century, and was named PHS Fall Athlete of the Year.

This season, Moore led the pack almost every time out. She placed first at season-opening meet in Sanford, was first by almost two minutes at a five-team meet at Smiling Hill Farm and came in first at a city meet.

The postseason was even better. Moore came in second to Bonny Eagle’s Addy Thibodeau with a time of 19 minutes, 44.56 seconds at the regional championship meet and was second again to Thibodeau at states (19:47.38). The Bulldogs placed fourth as a team, their highest finish since 1984. Moore then posted the 20th-best time at the New England championship meet (19:15.20) and was named to the All-New England team.

Moore is on to indoor track, where she placed fourth in the two-mile a year ago. She also runs outdoor track and was fourth in the mile last spring.

It’s only a matter of time until she finishes atop the heap. Samantha Moore, Portland’s Fall Athlete of the Year, keeps raising the bar and the fun is just beginning.

Coach Frank Myatt’s comment: “Samantha took her racing to a new level this year. She had two great track seasons last winter and spring and that just spring-boarded her into this cross country season. For most of the regular season, my biggest concern was that she paid attention on the pre-race course walk, because she was pretty much guaranteed to be in the lead from wire to wire. In the postseason, Samantha continued to raise the bar and is just the second girl in PHS history to earn All-New England recognition. She puts in the work, does it with a smile and best of all, is a fantastic teammate.”

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Prior winners:

• 2021 Samantha Moore (cross country)
* 2020 Lydia Stein (soccer)
• 2019 Lucy Medd (cross country)
• 2018 Grace Stacey (soccer)
• 2017 Sophia Silva (volleyball)
• 2016 Taylor Crosby (soccer)
• 2015 Chessa Hoekstra (soccer)
• 2014 Madison Bolduc (soccer)
• 2013 Emma Stehli (soccer)
• 2012 Leanne Reichert (field hockey)
• 2011 Raechel Allen (field hockey)
• 2010 Effie Drew (field hockey)
• 2009 Sophia Nappi (soccer)
• 2008 Casey Monaghan (soccer)
• 2007 Nicole Place (soccer)
• 2006 Cilla Knox (soccer)
• 2005 Molly Radis (soccer)
• 2004 Brianna Shepard (field hockey)

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

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