After suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee in the first game of the 2008 football season that sidelined him for the rest of the fall, Nick Risser hoped to make up for lost time during his senior year with the Brewer Witches.
But another, unrelated injury to the same knee suffered during a preseason scrimmage against Mount Ararat of Topsham last week has sent the fullback-linebacker to the sidelines for a second straight year.
“I was heading in on a blitz off the strong-side corner,” said Risser, “and their tackle got me in the shoulder while I was planting my knee. Apparently I already had a slight tear in my ACL [anterior cruciate ligament], and when he hit me it finished the job.”
Risser did not feel any major pain at the time, but when he sensed soreness the next day he consulted with team trainer Phil Mateja. Mateja referred Risser to a doctor, and results of a subsequent MRI confirmed the ACL tear.
Risser, also a standout hockey player at Brewer, will meet with his doctor again this week, hopeful that his senior season with the Witches’ hockey team might be salvaged.
“There might be a chance that we can put off surgery until spring and brace it up and try to play,” Risser said.
Risser suffered a meniscus tear in his left knee during the first quarter of Brewer’s 2008 season opener against Lawrence of Fairfield, and subsequently had arthroscopic surgery on Oct. 3 to repair that injury.
He went on to play hockey for Brewer last winter, scoring 14 goals and dishing out 10 assists to help Brewer compile a 15-4-1 record and reach the Eastern Maine Class A semifinals.
Risser also competed in outdoor track for Brewer last spring with no ill effects from his knee.
“Not playing football last year was disappointing,” said Risser. “But I figured I had this year. I love the game of football and love the guys I play with.
“I’ll stay with the team, and I’ll be up in the booth with a head set during games, doing stats and anything I can to help.”
Joseph, Coutts recognized
Don Joseph of Orono and Mike Coutts of Deering of Portland have been named the 2009 Maine high school baseball coaches of the year by the Maine Baseball Coaches Association.
This marks the first time the MEBCA have presented these awards, whose recipients were selected by coaches in Maine who are members of the association.
Joseph guided Orono to a berth in the Eastern Maine Class C championship game. The Red Riots rebounded from a slow start to finish seventh in the final Heal point ratings, then upended No. 10 Fort Kent, No. 2 Stearns of Millinocket and No. 3 Calais in the playoffs before falling to George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill 1-0 in eight innings in the regional final.
Coutts, a veteran high school and college coach, took over the Deering program this year and guided the Rams to a 20-0 record and its third consecutive Class A state champion.
Deering’s 2-1 win over Cony of Augusta in the state final marked the Rams’ 50th consecutive victory, a streak dating back to 2007.
Other finalists for the award were Darren Eaton of Deer Isle-Stonington, Dan Kane of George Stevens Academy, Bob Blackman of Saint Dominic of Auburn, Derek Soule of Greely of Cumberland Center, Greg Rice of Lincoln Academy of Newcastle, Ray Bernier of Messalonskee of Oakland and Ray Vallee of Cony.
Joseph and Coutts will be recognized formally during the Maine Baseball Coaches Association’s annual clinic in February, as will previously announced 2009 Maine assistant coaches of the year Al Wilson of Skowhegan and Eric Higgins of Cape Elizabeth.