Hoffer photo

Cape Elizabeth senior Nick Laughlin, joined by his parents, Phil and Christine, and several teammates, signs his National Letter of Intent Thursday to attend and play football at the University of Maine in Orono. Laughlin becomes the first player from the Capers program to play at the Division One level.

Laughlin, who earlier in the day learned he is one of three finalists for the prestigious Fitzpatrick Trophy, given to Maine’s top senior high school player, said he had several schools interested in his services, but wanted to stay home.

“It’s great to finally make the decision,” said Laughlin, who expects to redshirt his first year, then hopes to play receiver and on special teams. “I was deciding between Maine, Colby, Sacred Heart and other schools, but I felt most comfortable staying in Maine. I’ve made a great relationship with the coaches and some of the players up there too. It’s great to feel wanted and to be invested in by Coach (Jordan) Stevens.”

Laughlin played an integral role as a junior (scoring 28 touchdowns and leading the team in tackles) when Cape Elizabeth won the Class C state title, the program’s first championship, and this fall, he stuffed the stat sheet. Laughlin wound up with 1,087 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns, 852 receiving yards with 10 scores and two kickoffs returned for TDs. He also had 84.5 tackles (38 solo) and four interceptions. He wound up with 2,165 all-purpose yards and 29 touchdowns.

“Playing here made me fall in love with football even more,” said Laughlin, who also plays hockey and lacrosse for the Capers. “Last year was the best team I ever had and this year, the team we had was great.”

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