Football players at Hermon High School are gearing up toward their first season of competition, which begins with the start of preseason practices on Aug. 17.
Approximately 35 freshmen, sophomores and juniors are expected to turn out for Hawks’ coach Ken Frederick, who like many of his players has moved up the youth ranks that have forged the foundation for football in the community.
Many of the players took part in a press conference recently to accept two $1,000 donations for the football program — which is funded separately from the school budget.
One of the donations came from Danforth’s Down Home Supermarket and Douglass Photography, and the second came from the New England Patriots Foundation and team owner Robert Kraft.
According to Hermon athletic administrator Paul Soucy, the Hermon football program and the Friends of Hermon Football boosters group are hoping to raise an initial $20,000 to go with the $20,000 donated to the effort by the Town Council to help with various start-up costs, including helping to outfit approximately 35 play-ers.
The high school team, which plans to play at the sub-varsity level for at least the next two years with the possibility of applying for Maine Principals’ Association varsity status in 2011, has worked with the Pine Tree Conference and LTC to establish a seven-game schedule for the 2009 season.
After an Aug. 26 scrimmage at Calais-Woodland and a home exhibition game against Old Town on Aug. 29, the Hawks will open their season at Belfast on Sept. 7 Subsequent games have been scheduled against sub-varsity teams from Foxcroft Academy, John Bapst of Bangor, Washington Academy of East Machias, Brewer, Waterville and Hampden.
Hermon will play its home games at Pottle Field on the high school campus, while the Hawks will practice on the field behind the middle school that has been home to the town’s football program in recent years.
The addition of a high school team at Hermon is the latest step in the ground-up development of football within the community.
Three years ago, the Hermon Recreation Department began a flag football program for youths in grades 3 and 4, and a year later a tackle program for fifth- and sixth-graders was added. Last fall another tackle football program for seventh- and eighth-graders was established.
Through the three levels, an estimated 100 youngsters played football in the Hermon Recreation Department program last fall.
AAU 17-and-under teams shine
Several AAU boys basketball teams from around the state experienced success at various levels of national tournament competition this summer, including two 17-and-under squads who participated in the AAU Junior National Championships at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The MBR 17-and-under team coached by Carl Parker of Bangor compiled a 6-3 record in the tournament.
The team, led by Bangor Daily News All-Maine high school players Keegan Hyland of South Portland, Dominic Borelli of Westbrook and Indiana Faithfull of Cheverus of Portland and also getting key contributions by Jacob Moore of Hampden and Cam Shorey of Calais, went 2-1 in pool play – losing only in overtime – to ad-vance to the championship round.
MBR won its first game of championship competition before dropping a two-point game to a team from Florida that relegated it to the second consolation round.
MBR then won three straight games to advance to the championship round of that competition before falling 64-54 to the Illinois Kings. That team went on to finish 13th overall over more than 170 participating teams.
Another team, the Bangor-based Maine Express, placed second in the Classic Division of the AAU Junior National Division II tournament, also held at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.
That team, coached by Lon Winchester, went 5-3 during the 72-team tournament.
The Express, which finished second to MBR in the state 17-and-under tournament, lost its first two games of pool play and despite winning its final game of pool play in overtime fell into the Classic Division consolation tournament.
The team thrived in that tournament despite having its roster number dwindle from eight to five players (due to previous commitments) after the Express won its first Classic contest.
But those five players, Clark Noonan, Nate Henigan and Cal Winchester of Bangor, Brad Dolan of Hampden Academy and Dom Drake of Brewer, went on to win three straight games before being eliminated in the Classic championship game by the Fury, a team from Nashville, Tenn.
“We represented Maine very well, the kids were well behaved and the chemistry was just tremendous,” said coach Winchester.
Others on the Maine Express squad were Josiah Hartley of Bangor, Tyler Bessette of Brewer and Dakota Sleeper from Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook.