Ten high school football players were named as semifinalists for the James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy on Monday.

The award has been given annually to the top senior in Maine high school football since 1971. This season’s winner will be announced at a banquet at the Holiday Inn by the Sea in Portland on Jan. 15.

Last season, Cape Elizabeth quarterback Caden McDuffie was the winner of the award.

Each coach from across the state is allowed to nominate one player from his team to the Fitzpatrick Trophy selection committee, which considers on-field performance – as well as academics and citizenship – in paring down the list to semifinalists. Following a vote of Maine coaches and media, three finalists will be named after the Dec. 20 voting deadline.

The semifinalists include eight players from 11-man football teams and two from eight-man squads. They are:

Eli Bigelow, Lewiston running back/safety: Bigelow, who carries a 3.8 grade-point average, averaged more than 18 yards per carry and a touchdown every fourth time he carried the ball. Bigelow also plays basketball and lacrosse, and is a member of the National Honor Society, the National Tech Honor Society and works on community food drives.


Finn Caxton-Smith, Falmouth quarterback/running back/wide receiver: Caxton-Smith took over as quarterback in the third game of the season, and gained 964 yards rushing and 600 passing yards while completing 56% of his passes. He has a 3.6 GPA, runs track, volunteers at school event, and is a member of the Stock Market Club.

Kennedy Charles, Portland quarterback/wide receiver/defensive back: Charles has a 3.7 GPA, and became the Bulldogs’ quarterback midway through the regular season. He ran for 1,583 yards, an average of 8.8 yards per carry. He ran for 20 touchdowns, caught five touchdown passes and threw nine TD passes. On defense, Charles had 53 tackles and an interception. Charles also plays basketball, and is a soup kitchen volunteer. He helped Portland win the Class B South title.

Shea Farrell, Mt. Ararat running back/linebacker: Farrell carries a 3.3 GPA. He ran for 1,025 yards and 32 touchdown, adding six more scores on kick returns. On defense, Farrell had 68 tackles, four sacks, and two interceptions to help the Eagles advance to the eight-man Large School South championship game. He also competes for Mt. Ararat’s wrestling and baseball teams, and volunteers with community activities.

Isaac Hainer, Mattanawcook Academy quarterback/defensive back: Hainer, who has a 3.95 GPA, carried the ball 267 times for 2,795 yards, scoring 39 touchdowns and 15 PATs, helping the Lynx advance to the eight-man Small School North semifinals. He also passed for 483 yards and six touchdowns. On defense, Hainer made 72 solo tackles and assisted on 40 to go with five sacks, six forced fumbles,and an interception. He plays baseball and is a state champion wrestler.

Parker Higgins, Lawrence running back/linebacker: Higgins has a 4-plus GPA, and ran for 1,874 yards and 24 touchdowns on 199 carries. He also caught three touchdown passes. Higgins led the Bulldogs with 111 tackles. A member of the National Honor Society, Higgins also plays basketball and baseball, and is active in the community food pantry and Humane Society, while also working with youth sports.

Jaelen Jackson, South Portland quarterback/wide receiver: Jackson has a 3.3 GPA, and accounted for 2,644 yards of offense (1,422 rushing and 1,222 passing) while running for 29 touchdowns and throwing for 13 to lead the Red Riots to the Class B South regional final. In addition to 100 yards gained on kick returns, Jackson made 45 solo tackles, assisted on 56, and had three interceptions. He also plays basketball, and gives his time to youth sports.

Nick Laughlin, Cape Elizabeth wide receiver/defensive back: Laughlin ran the ball 103 times for 1,087 yards, averaging 10.6 yards per carry with 17 touchdowns. A 3.7 GPA student, Laughlin also had 57 catches for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns. He returned a pair of kicks for a touchdown, and defensively made 39 solo tackles, assisted on 47, and had four interceptions. Laughlin plays ice hockey and lacrosse, and volunteers as in youth football and lacrosse programs.

Dom Napolitano, Cony quarterback/safety: Napolitano, who has a 3.8 GPA, gained 2,000 all-purpose yards, running for 13 touchdowns and passing for 11. He contributed 49 tackles, with three interceptions and a pair of defensive touchdowns, and was a key player for Cony’s special teams. Napolitano also plays basketball, and is active in the Key Club. He volunteers with youth football and basketball.

Eli Soehren, Oxford Hills quarterback/safety: Soehren led the Vikings to the Class A state championship, the first in program history. A 4.0 student, Soehren threw 24 touchdown passes and ran for six more. He gained 2,125 all-purpose yards. On defense, Soehren had 18 tackles and two interceptions. He also plays basketball, baseball and golf, and serves as a mentor at Oxford Hills. He also volunteers with the school’s Unified basketball program.

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