The Bangor Christian boys soccer team’s drive to its second Class D state championship in five years was not without its challenges.
Perhaps most challenging was the state-final match against Richmond, in which the smaller, quicker Patriots were matched against a much bigger, more physical team in the Western Maine champions.
Then Bangor Christian had to survive being down one player for the final 21 minutes after the Patriots’ Nate Fowler made what turned out to be a pivotal play by preventing a sure goal by the Bobcats with a hand ball in the goal crease.
Instead of the goal, Richmond was awarded a penalty kick, which junior goalie Tyler Alexander denied by diving to his right to make the save.
Richmond eventually tied the game with its man advantage, but Bangor Christian persevered as senior Brandon Wilcox scored on a penalty kick with 2:20 left in the match to give the Patriots a 2-1 victory.
“That’s the thing with the team this year,” said Bangor Christian coach Aaron Wilcox, “that they’ve been able to keep their composure no matter what the situation was. They really built on that during the playoffs and I thought they kept their composure well [Saturday].”
Brandon Wilcox’s availability was unclear a the start of the season the result of a back injury that had sidelined him since last winter.
Wilcox returned to the lineup after missing his team’s first five games, but injuries and illness continued to nag Bangor Christian right up through the state final.
“This is the worst year we’ve had with injuries since I’ve been coaching,” said coach Wilcox. “I’d come down to practice some days and we’d have 10 kids sitting on the bench, so you’d just have to adjust what you’d do in practice.
“But kids stepped up and took other kids’ places when we needed them to and they did the job. It’s been an unbelievable process.”
Some credit for that, coach Wilcox said, was the inspiration derived by a song the team adopted before the season began, “The Motions,” by Matthew West, which in part said:
“I don’t want to spend my whole life asking, what if I had given everything instead of going through the motions.”
“I really stressed to them throughout the year that they couldn’t go through the motions, even in practice,” said Wilcox. “You’ve got to work at everything, even though it’s sometimes repetitious, and they’ve done that and it’s gotten them to this level.”
A family affair
Aaron Wilcox not only was excited to have the chance to coach his alma mater, Bangor Christian, to the Class D state title in boys soccer, but for the chance to coach both of his sons, Brandon and Bradley, to the championship platform.
“This is really special,” he said. “I get a little emotional about this one. At the beginning of the season it looked like my oldest son wasn’t going to be able to play, but to finally get him cleared and out there playing and seeing him get him back into form and help get our offense going was just special to see.”
Bradley Wilcox, a sophomore striker, led the Patriots with 21 goals and 12 assists during the season while Brandon, who missed the team’s first five games due to a back injury, scored eight of Bangor Christian’s 11 postseason goals, including the game-winner in the state final against Richmond.
“We’ve been looking forward to this year,” said Bradley Wilcox. “We definitely saw the potential at the beginning of the season, and we definitely wanted to do this as a team, and as a family.”
Coach Wilcox also credited his closeness with assistant coaches Jim Alexander and Darrell Peary, as an additional personal reward to his team’s championship run.
“To have one of my teammates from high school coach with me and my former coach in high school coach with me, it’s been a very, very special year,” he said.
Taub, Chasse Heisman winners
Chloe Taub of Ellsworth High School and Samuel Chasse of Community High School of Fort Kent have been named 2009 state winners of the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award.
Each fall, the WHSH recognizes the nation’s most esteemed high school senior men and women for excellence in academics, athletics, and community and school leadership.
Taub is a cheerleader and a member of the outdoor track and field team, while Chasse participates in soccer, skiing and track and field. Both are among the top students in their class, as well as involved in numerous other school and community activities.
Taub and Chasse are among 102 state winners — one male and one female for each state and the District of Columbia — who are now eligible for national recognition.
From the state winners, 12 national finalists — one male and one female from each of six geographic regions — will be selected. Those students will be invited to the Wendy’s High School Heisman National Awards Banquet on Dec. 11 in New York City, and will attend all Heisman Memorial Trophy Weekend festivities, and their high schools will receive a $2,000 monetary award in their name.
Two national winners, one male and one female, will be selected from among the national finalists and honored during ESPN’s national telecast of the college Heisman Trophy presentation.
Each national winner receives a trophy, a Heisman patch and $10,000 for his or her high school.
County soccer stars honored
Eight top high school soccer players from Aroostook County are the 2009 recipients of annual “Butch” Shaw Award.
The award is presented by the Northern Maine Board of Approved Soccer Officials in memory of Clyde “Butch” Shaw, an outstanding athlete, coach and official in Aroostook County who passed away in 1985.
Winners were selected by a vote of NMBASO members.
This year’s recipients are the following: Class B: Nate Ackerson of Presque Isle and Jenna Selander of Caribou; Class C: Thomas Levesque and Rebecca Martin, both of Fort Kent; Class D: Casey Cobb of Ashland, Curtis Picard of Wisdom of Saint Agatha, Brooke LaBelle of Ashland and Elizabeth Goodall of Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook.