Junior Indi Backman will handle the ball a lot this fall for Falmouth’s promising football team. File photos.

Coach: John Fitzsimmons (15th year, 82-60 overall record)

2022 record: 7-4 (Lost, 28-20, to eventual state champion Skowhegan in Class B North Final)

Top returning players: Will Gale (Senior), Indi Backman (Junior), Luke Roy (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 1 MESSALONSKEE, Sept. 8 @ Lawrence, Sept. 22 PORTLAND, Sept. 29 @ Deering, Oct. 20 @ Skowhegan

Coach’s comment: “I love this team, they’re working so hard. It’s going to be a challenging year. We have a small group with just two seniors and four juniors. That’s an anomaly. We lost several starters to transfer and injury and playing lacrosse year-round and my defensive coordinator of nine years is out. We do have a big, strong line. We’ll be overlooked until we prove ourselves. By the time we get to the end of the year, we’ll be a serious contender.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth made a deep playoff run a year ago and believes it will be in the hunt again in Class B North by the time all is said and done, even though the Navigators have a lot of obstacles to overcome.


Sophomore Tre Walker takes over the quarterback position. Walker was the backup a year ago and has engendered so much respect in a short time that he’s been named captain. Backman, an all-star in 2022, will also serve as a captain, as well as the workhorse running back after gaining 1,100 yards in 2022, when he was named All-Conference. Sophomore Matthew Grace will also see some carries. Through the air, Walker will look for Roy (another sophomore captain), senior Tony Severino and speedy sophomores Peter Kearns and Abram Wintersteen. Falmouth’s biggest strength is its line, which is led by a standout tackle in Gale, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 290 pounds. Gale, a first-team all-star a year ago on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball and a captain this fall, is being recruited by the likes of Dartmouth and the University of Connecticut. He’s joined by junior center Owen Bombardier (5-11, 220) and sophomores Eli Bush (6-3, 220), Thomas Gale (6-2, 225) and Thomas Willoughby (6-1, 330). Juniors Jack Frautten and Richie Koutinis and freshman Max Belliveau are in reserve roles. Freshman Owen Ross will handle punting duties while Kearns is the placekicker.

On the defensive side, the line is fronted by Bombardier, Bush and the Gale brothers. Backman and Kearns are top linebackers. In the secondary, look for Grace, Roy and Wintersteen to fluster the opposition.

While Falmouth is young, a lot of those players do have varsity experience. Nothing will come easily this fall, but by season’s end, the Navigators will be a team that no one wants to face and the future is brighter still.


Senior captain Michael Christman will play a pivotal role this season for Falmouth’s boys’ soccer team.

Coach: Dave Halligan (37th year, 423-113-51 overall record, 12 state championships)

2022 record: 8-6-2 (Lost, 2-1, to Scarborough in Class A South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Michael Christman (Senior), Griffin Parr (Junior), Sam Yoon (Junior)


Pivotal games: Aug. 31 DEERING, Sept. 5 @ Gorham, Sept. 7 SOUTH PORTLAND, Sept. 12 @ Portland, Sept. 14 MARSHWOOD, Sept. 26 WINDHAM, Sept. 28 @ Scarborough 

Coach’s comment: “We’ve been beset by injuries and transfers. Nine of our projected starters aren’t with us anymore. We’ll be young, but we’ll be fine. We have a lot of hard games early. We need to find scoring. We’ll hope that a lot of people score. We try to get better every year and that’s a huge goal for us this year. If we can get in the playoffs, we can compete with anybody.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth isn’t the team it expected to be this autumn, but the Navigators will still be very good. Their legendary coach will put the pieces together and the team you see at the start of the year will look very different by the end, when it figures to be very tough to beat.

Christman, a captain, will be a top scoring threat up top. Yoon will be a force in the midfield. Parr returns to anchor the back line. He’ll get help from senior Alex Bezanson. Sophomore Caden Berry and senior Theo Kowalsky will both see time in goal. After that, there are a lot of question marks, but the answers will become clear in the weeks to come.

Falmouth won’t have an opportunity to ease into things, as its early schedule is brutal. If the Navigators can tread water early, they’ll be in position to again finish strong and be a team that no one wants to face in the postseason.


Senior Mallory Kerr will be in the middle of the action for Falmouth’s girls’ soccer team.

Coach: Ben Johnson (second year)


2022 record: 9-7 (Lost, 2-0, to Gorham in Class A South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Josie D’Andrea (Senior), Eve Gallagher (Senior), Mallory Kerr (Senior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 1 @ Scarborough, Sept. 8 @ Thornton Academy, Sept. 18 WINDHAM, Sept. 25 @ Marshwood, Oct. 13 @ Gorham, Oct. 18 SCARBOROUGH

Coach’s comment: “We have a horrible schedule regarding Heal Points this year unless we’re able to upset a (top) team. We play Scarborough twice and don’t have Portland or Cheverus on the schedule which is typically two competitive games win or lose. It’d be great to host a preliminary playoff game or better depending on our regular season results.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth has a tough schedule, but this is a team that can’t be overlooked in the weeks to come.

The Navigators project to be strong in the back, as Kerr (a first-team all-star last season) and Gallagher (second-team) return in front of senior Eve Chace, who is back in goal after missing last year with a knee injury. Junior Madison VerLee will also see time between the pipes. Up top, D’Andrea and junior Mackenzie VerLee project to be top scorers. A group of promising sophomores, Margo Hesson, Afton Mick, Ella Morse and Finley VanTil, look to make a big impact as the season moves along.


Falmouth will get an immediate idea of where it stands when it takes on reigning state champion Scarborough in the opener. The slate doesn’t get much easier from there, but before the season is done, the Navigators will serve notice that they’re a program on the rise. Falmouth hasn’t missed the playoffs in a non-COVID season since the program’s inaugural campaign in 1990. Look for this year’s group to continue that trend.


Senior Coco Bruder made the SMAA All-Rookie team last season and will be a key player for the Navigators this fall.

Coach: Robin Haley (29th year, 245-162-21 overall record)

2022 record: 8-7-1 (Lost, 9-0, to Cheverus in Class A South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Coco Bruder (Senior), Macy Bush (Senior), Tess McNally (Senior), Jenna Nunley (Senior), Valerie Rand (Senior), Zoe Weisenfluh (Senior), Allison Sweetser (Junior), Keira Kelly (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 19 @ Biddeford, Oct. 9 @ Cheverus, Oct. 11 SCARBOROUGH, Oct. 17 @ Gorham

Coach’s comment: “It’s an excellent group. The chemistry is great. We graduated seven, but we have a lot back. I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen in the preseason. We have a great core group and underclassmen who have done a nice job in the offseason. The girls are eager and energetic to play. We hope to stay healthy and the goal is to go further than the year before.”


The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth, like everyone else in Class A South, had no answers for powerhouse Cheverus last season, but the Navigators managed to reach the playoffs for the 25th consecutive season. Look for Falmouth to be in contention again this fall as some key players return.

Rand was an All-State selection last season. She’ll be a factor both in the midfield and up front and should score her share of goals. Macy Bush, a second-teamer, is another versatile player, who will play midfield and on defense. Bruder, who made the SMAA All-Rookie team a year ago, is another top midfielder. Up top, look for Kelly, Sweetser and junior Elizabeth Brown to all be in the scoring mix. The defense is led by McNally and Weisenfluh. Nunley returns in goal.

Falmouth will have a chance to measure itself against all of the favorites over the course of the season. If all goes well, the Navigators will show steady improvement, win a few more games than last year and make it deeper in the playoffs.


Coach: Larry Nichols (fifth year, 45-20 overall record, two state championships)

2022 record: 6-9 (Lost, 3-2, to Hampden Academy in Class A state preliminary round)

Top returning players: Erin Andrews (Senior), Olivia Dickhaut (Senior), Kani Gutter (Senior), Rhyse Sholl (Senior)


Pivotal matches: Sept. 6 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 19 GREELY, Sept. 26 BIDDEFORD, Oct. 10 GORHAM, Oct. 16 @ Scarborough

Coach’s comment: “Following the MPA‘s guidelines for enrollments and classifications, we’re moving to Class B, which is known for its high-level volleyball. Last season, the program experienced a steady period of injuries that started at the beginning and continued right through the playoffs. This year, the program’s goals are to remain healthy and to bring a quality performance to every match right into the playoffs.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth is coming off the program’s first sub-.500 season since 2007, its very first of varsity competition. Rest assured that was an aberration, caused largely by injuries. This time around, the Navigators are primed to return to form and their first year back in Class B could end with a deep run.

Falmouth’s offense will be jump-started by Sholl, a setter. Junior Hannah Roche will also see time at that position. Andrews and Gutter are outside hitters. Dickhaut is a defensive specialist. Senior Sophie Mayhew Flores, junior Sofia Asbjornsen and sophomore Julia Young are also outside hitters, while classmates Annika Asbjornsen and Joanna Rudenberg will be blockers in the middle, along with freshman Olive Clark. Senior Isabel Filler will see time at defensive specialist. Junior Avery Bakke is a libero.

Falmouth will be pushed by the best teams in Classes A and B in the regular season. Look for this group to achieve cohesion as the year goes on and be primed to make noise in the playoffs. The Navigators could be best equipped to end Yarmouth’s four-year title reign in Class B.



Junior Maeve Ginevan, left, and sophomore Hannah Martin are two reasons Falmouth’s girls’ cross country team expects to excel this fall.

Coaches: Jorma Kurry and Danny Paul (20th year, three state championships)

2022 results: (Boys) 15th @ Class A state meet(Girls) 3rd @ Class A state meet 

Top returners:(Boys) Daniel Kim (Senior), Andrew Nalchajian (Senior), Chris Jaynes (Junior), Olin Johnson (Junior), Sean Lowery (Junior), Connor Lund (Sophomore), Wyatt Sholl (Sophomore), Eli Sidhu (Sophomore)(Girls) Bella Koepsell (Senior), Sydney Young (Senior), Haley Barrett (Junior), Zora DeSilva (Junior), Maeve Ginevan (Junior), Eli Tardiff (Junior), Hannah Martin (Sophomore), Sara Tennent (Sophomore)

Coach Kurry’s comment: “The girls’ team returns a lot of strong performers and put in a good summer of work. They are eager to get to competition and we’ll be competitive and deep throughout the season. Some promising newcomers are here as well and will compete for varsity spots. This team is self-motivated and works well together. The boys’ team has been hit hard by graduation for a couple years now but we have a group that is putting in the work. They will make the most of their ability and are well ahead of where they were last year at this point. Hopefully the team will stay healthy and continue to improve as the season goes on.”

Coach Paul’s comment: “ I love our attitude and willingness to work. If we can stay healthy, both teams should have strong seasons. The girls’ group has the potential to be one of the deepest we have worked with.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth’s program is coming along nicely this fall and will be a factor in both the regular season and postseason.


The girls are coming off a 10th consecutive top-five state meet finish and have the pieces in place to excel again. The Navigators return three runners who were in the top 30 at last year’s state meet: Ginevan (16th), Martin (19th) and Young (30th). Tardiff and Koepsell will move up this season, while Barrett, DeSilva and Tennent are experienced as well. Three promising freshmen join the fun: Parker Fox, Georgia Moon and Luisa Simpson. It all adds up to a very competitive squad.

On the boys’ side, Jaynes (62nd), Kim (76th), Lund (86th) and Lowery (89th) all scored at states a year ago and return, hoping to improve. Johnson, Sholl and Sidhu seek bigger roles, while freshmen Jonathan Kearns and Boi Boi Nguyen look to make an immediate impact. This is a squad that should show steady improvement in the weeks to come and will be a factor by season’s end.


Junior Carley Iannetta will make a run at the girls’ individual state title this autumn.

Coach: A.J. Simokaitis (fifth year, one state title)

2022 results: Tie-2nd @ Class A state match

Top returning players: Andrew Belliveau (Senior), Johnny Hwang (Senior), Brennan Rumpf (Senior), Carley Iannetta (Junior), Isaac Laliberte (Junior), Clayton Casey (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “I’m very excited about this crew this year and with some younger but quality players added to the mix, we should remain competitive for the next few seasons. We expect a competitive season within the SMAA. Our division always provides for an exciting and competitive regular season that sets the stage for Natanis. At the moment, the entire team is capable of low scores, so we just need to stay in the moment and take it one match at a time. If we put the work in, we should be able to make a solid run in October. As always, we want to be playing our best golf going into the end of September. Like years past, all eyes are on states for us. Runner-up finishes bookend our state title over the last three seasons. We’ve had a taste of success and a couple close calls over the years and I believe we can find ourselves in a similar position come October. Hopefully with a title.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth is always at or near the top of the league and state standings and this year should be no different.

Hwang is the lone returning scorer from last year’s state match where he tied for fifth with an 18-hole round of 76. He’ll be in the top spot this season. Iannetta will make a push for the girls’ title after shooting a 93 last season and placing fourth. Rumpf and Laliberte competed at states last season, but their scores weren’t factored in. Belliveau is another veteran who will play a key role, while Casey hopes to make a name for himself as well. Senior Ethan Hendry and juniors Brandon White and Owen Woolworth are new to varsity. They’re joined by promising freshman Anthony Graceffa and Dante Iannetta.

The Navigators will be tested during the regular season, but should again post a very strong record. This team has its eye on the big prize and presuming it takes care of business at the qualifier, Falmouth has to be viewed as one of the favorites to win it all.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

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