Rams’ Seccareccia nominated for All-American bowl

Posted May 04, 2010, at 10:43 p.m.

Joe Seccareccia, who led the Bangor High School football team to the Eastern Maine Class A championship last fall, is one of 400 nominees nationwide to participate in the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Of the 400 nominees, 90 will be selected to participate in the 11th annual all-star contest. The players then will be divided into East and West teams that will square off on in the nationally televised contest on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Final player selections for the game will be made this fall.

Seccareccia starred at quarterback and safety as a junior for Bangor while leading coach Mark Hackett’s team to the 2009 Class A state championship game, where the Rams fell to Windham 35-21 to conclude their season with an 11-1 record.

The 6-foot-6, 205-pound Seccareccia completed 83 of 151 passes for 1,260 yards with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions on offense during the 2009 season, his second as Bangor’s starting quarterback. On defense, he had seven interceptions — including one in each of the Rams’ four postseason games — and 61 tackles.

“Joe’s a star on both sides of the ball for us, and he can go out and play special teams, too,” said Hackett. “He could play in that game and not be out of place.”

Among players who have participated in previous U.S. Army All-American Bowls are current NFL stars Adrian Peterson, Reggie Bush and Mark Sanchez and 2010 first-round draft picks Ndamukong Suh, Tim Tebow and Eric Berry.

This marks the second straight year that a Bangor-area player has been nominated for this game. Former Hampden Academy standout Shawn Smith was a 2009 nominee.

The Crusaders are back

The Van Buren baseball team is back on the diamond after a one-year hiatus, bringing a 1-2 record into play this week.

The Crusaders sat out last season due to a lack of players, knowing that if they had started and been unable to complete their 2009 schedule, the team would have been sidelined for the following two seasons under Maine Principals’ Association rules.

But this year coach Jay Edgecomb’s club has a 13-player roster featuring just one senior, four juniors, two sophomores and an influx of six freshmen.

Van Buren posted its first victory since the 2008 campaign when it defeated Greater Houlton Christian Academy 8-4. A.J. Edgecomb, the coach’s son, struck out 15 batters while pitching a two-hitter, and also hit a double and three singles with two RBIs to pace the Crusaders’ 11-hit attack.

Derrick Rossignol added a home run and a single, while Marc LaJoie contributed a two-run single.

Van Buren, which hosted undefeated Wisdom on Monday, returns to action Friday against Class C Madawaska.

Sleeper on target for SAHS

Few — if any — baseball players statewide are off to a faster start this spring than Dakota Sleeper.

The senior righthander from Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook not only won his first two pitching starts, but amassed some astonishing statistics in doing so.

Entering play this week Sleeper had pitched 14 innings, allowing no runs on just one hit while recording 27 of a possible 42 outs by strikeout.

Sleeper made his first start of the season for coach Murray Putnam’s Warriors on April 24, and pitched a 15-strikeout one-hitter in a 7-0 victory against Hodgdon. He came within one out of a no-hitter in that game, holding the Hawks hitless until Josh Hudson singled with two out in the bottom of the seventh.

Sleeper followed that effort up by no-hitting Katahdin of Stacyville last Thursday. He struck out 12 and walked no one in that 3-0 victory.

Sleeper added two innings of shutout pitching Tuesday afternoon, combining with Pat Goodall to one-hit Ashland 12-0 in five innings.

The Warriors, who began the week ranked first in the Eastern Maine Class D Heal points, are in the midst of their busiest stretch of the season, with five games in six days.

Then comes what is looming as a midseason showdown on Tuesday, May 11, when Southern Aroostook is scheduled to host Central Aroostook of Mars Hill, another team expected to contend for top honors in the division once postseason play arrives.

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