Switching sports or changing positions within a sport is nothing new for Bangor High School football player Josiah Hartley.
He originally played basketball for the Rams during the winter, but then switched to indoor track and field and earlier this year qualified for the New England championship meet in the high jump.
This spring, Hartley earned All-Penobscot Valley Conference outdoor track honors for Bangor in the 110 and 300 hurdles, the shot put and the 4×100 relay, and he placed fourth in the Class A state meet in both hurdles events.
Then he went out this summer and played a contributing role for a Bangor American Legion baseball team that qualified for the state tournament and also started for the Bangor Senior League all-star team that reached the championship game of the Senior League World Series. There, he contributed a memorable seventh-inning home run that helped the Maine District 3 champs rally past the 2009 world champions from Houston.
Now Hartley is embracing change once again, this time on the football field where the 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior captain has been moved from wide receiver to tailback by Bangor head coach Mark Hackett to get the ball in his hands more often.
That strategy paid off last Friday, as Hartley rushed for 125 yards on 13 carries and scored three touchdowns on runs of 1, 8 and 43 yards in Bangor’s season-opening 49-0 win at Skowhegan.
“I got two or three carries [in a preseason game against Lewiston], but it was something that was kind of sudden so I had to make the transition between that game and this week,” said Hartley after the Skowhegan game. “It’s a different style for me, more bash than dash.”
For Hackett, moving Hartley from wideout to tailback is reminiscent of a similar move made by the Rams in 2003, when Mike Prentiss was moved from receiver to tailback. Prentiss went on to rush for more than 2,000 yards while leading Bangor to the Eastern A final.
“I remember another guy we moved once, Mike Prentiss, and his first night out wasn’t as good as Josiah’s, and Mike was a very good back, too,” said Hackett. “It’s a learning curve for Josiah. He got in and got out, he lowered his shoulder some. The rip he’s not as good at right now as he is with some of the wide stuff, but he’s never really done it before.
“I just thought that for the first game, I don’t know if Josiah could have played any better.”
Hartley got a few carries last fall, typically when sent in motion toward quarterback Joe Seccareccia from the slot.
“I got a couple of reps last year but never really made the transition,” said Hartley. “[School rushing record holder] Lonnie Hackett was there all year.”
Hartley sees plenty of room for improvement in the coming weeks.
“It’s all ball security,” said Hartley. “Coach Q [Bangor assistant coach Nate Quirion] stresses that every day in practice, and that’s helped a lot.
“I think a lot of it is just going to be repetition. The more times I do it, the better I’m going to be at it, and that goes for the whole team. The more time we spend together, everything is going to mesh.”
Hackett, for one, likes the potential for improvement within Hartley’s game as he teams with Wyatt Frost and Zeb Tuell to provide the Rams’ a three-pronged punch from the tailback position.
“Josiah is just so strong you can feel his energy, and the thing is he looks nowhere near as fast as he’s really going,” said Hackett. “If he’s not the fastest kid on the team he’s right there with them, and they mis-time him because he’s so big. He’s a big bugger.”
Bucksport hall to induct 13
Thirteen athletes, coaches and administrators will be inducted into the Bucksport High School Hall of Fame on Sept. 18, as part of the school’s annual homecoming activities.
The Bucksport hall Class of 2010 includes current football coach Joel Sankey, former football coach and administrator Bob Carmichael, football players Nick Tymoczko, Barry Murchie, Brent Keene and Ivan Braun Jr.; basketball players Jason Harvey, Shelley Hutchins-Gavett, Jay Moore and Sandy Thomas; cross country runner Gerry Clapper; former baseball coach Dave Gonyar; and administrator Ralph Jewett, for whom the school’s gymnasium is named.
The group will be recognized at halftime of the Golden Bucks’ homecoming football game against Foxcroft Academy on Sept. 17, then inducted a night later during a dinner at Jewett Gymnasium.
The dinner runs from 6 to 8 p.m., and tickets are $10.
Related activities conclude Sept. 19, with the Bucksport High School Hall of Fame Golf Classic, which begins at 9 a.m. at Bucksport Golf Course.
For more information on the hall of fame dinner or any other Bucksport homecoming activities, call the school’s athletic administrator, Dan Clifford, at 469-6650.
Sumner has poster campaign
Sumner of East Sullivan athletic administrator Wayne Newenham wants to inform the surrounding business community that All-American Sports Posters has been authorized to produce the school’s athletic posters.
The posters serve as a fundraising tool for the school’s athletic department, and All-American Sports Posters will be contacting local businesses to line up community sponsorships.
Anyone with questions should contact Newenham at 422-3878 or All-American Sports Posters at 1-800-556-1380.