12 semi-finalists announced for Fitzpatrick Trophy

Justin Bryant of Marshwood High accepts the 2019 James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy at a banquet in Portland in January 2020. The Fitzpatrick Trophy was not awarded last year after the high school football season was canceled due to of the pandemic. Jill Brady / Staff Photographer

Twelve semi-finalists for the 50th Fitzpatrick Trophy were announced on Monday, and they represent the four classes of 11-player high school football plus the eight-man version of the sport.

The award is presented annually to Maine’s top high school student in football. The trophy was not awarded last season as tackle football was not played in the state in light of the pandemic.

This season’s banquet and awards ceremony at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland is scheduled for Sunday, January 16. All head coaches in the state are allowed to nominate one of their own players. Semi-finalists are selected by the Fitzpatrick Trophy Selection Committee, which also takes into account academic and civic qualities.

Head coaches and members of the media will now have the option to vote in ranking order for their top three picks. The three finalists will be announced in about two weeks, with the winner remaining unknown until the banquet on January 16.

Here are the 2021 semi-finalists in alphabetical order:

• Gabe Aucoin, running back / Morse linebacker: Aucoin, who has a 2.82 GPA, ran for 1,616 yards and 18 touchdowns, scored 24 total touchdowns and also made 83 tackles with two sacks and one interception for the shipbuilders who reached the final of eight. men from the North Division of the Grande École. He volunteers as a youth sports official.

• Jack Emerson, Thornton Academy quarterback: Emerson, who has a 2.7 GPA, led the Trojans to the Class A championship, completing 87 of 39 passes for 1,426 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was also an excellent runner, gaining 627 yards and scoring 13 more touchdowns. Emerson is a member of the Key Club, is an academic tutor and volunteer for the youth football program and a local animal shelter.

• Hunter Hayes, Leavitt / Security Quarterback: Despite injuries that limited him to six games, Hayes totaled 663 offensive yards and 10 touchdowns. In defense, he made 36 tackles with three interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. The 3.2 GPA student plays basketball, athletics and volunteers with several youth sports groups.

• Thomas Horton, Bonny Eagle guard / nose: A dominant blocker with a 3.9 GPA, Horton is considered by his coaches to be the best two-way lineman in Bonny Eagle history. In defense, he averaged 7.2 tackles per game with 13 tackles for a loss. Horton is a member of the National Honor Society and the Student Council, and a volunteer with various groups, including Special Olympics.

• Windham quarterback Robert “Will” Ledbetter: An exceptional student with an average of 102, Ledbetter led Windham to the Class B North Championship, completing 74% of his passes (114 of 154) for more than 1,700 yards with 20 touchdowns against just two interceptions. Also a basketball player, Ledbetter is a member of the National Honor Society and the Social Justice League.

• Cape Elizabeth quarterback and linebacker Caden McDuffie: McDuffie, who has an 83 GPA, led the Capers to their first football championship with a dominant effort in the Class C final, hitting five touchdowns and attempting a sixth. For the season, McDuffie completed 69 of 124 passes for 1,419 yards and 26 touchdowns against three interceptions and also ran for 1,005 yards and 19 scores.

• Cony’s tight end / defensive end Casey Mills: An excellent student with a 97.8 GPA, Mills had 12 catches for 202 yards and four touchdowns and was the team’s longest snapper. He is president of the student council and of the Key Club, a member of the National Honor Society and a wrestler.

• Camden Hills quarterback / linebacker Hunter Norton: Another representative of eight-man football, Norton has an academic average of 93. He ran for 1,623 yards and 23 touchdowns and threw six more touchdown passes. He had 84 tackles and three interceptions. A basketball player, he volunteers in local youth football and community clean-up projects.

• Isaiah Oufiero, Oxford Hills tight end / linebacker: A class A finalist squad star with an average of 3.2 GPA, Oufiero had 19 catches for 300 yards and six scores and had 57 tackles with four quarterback sacks. He also made 11 special teams tackles. He volunteers in youth football and basketball programs.

• Anthony Prak, Noble running back / free safety: A sneaky, strong runner who gained yards after contact, Prak has a GPA of 3.5 and is a member of the Orchestra, Chess, Baseball and Track programs. He ran for 1,462 yards with 18 touchdowns and added 200 extra yards on reception and 150 on returns. In defense, he made 56 tackles with three interceptions.

• Foxcroft Academy quarterback Austin Seavey: A 3.6 GPA student, Seavey led the ponies to the state championship and was the Class D player of the year. He completed 134 of 203 passes for 1,822 yards and 25 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He also ran for 399 yards and five scores. An athlete in four sports and a member of the Key, Debate and Spanish clubs, he volunteers in many youth and community activities.

• Waterville quarterback / linebacker Liam Von Oesen: A good student with an average of 86, Von Oesen led Waterville to the big school eight-man championship game against Cheverus. He ran for 1,992 yards and 26 touchdowns and also pitched for 686 yards and eight other scores. A basketball and baseball player, he competes in the Junior Classical League and teaches high school students.

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