MILLINOCKET, Maine — The Town Council might have capped the Stearns High School football team’s dream year by honoring team members Tuesday with a proclamation and a standing ovation during a council meeting.
Among the many words of praise lavished upon the team for its 11-1 season and Eastern Maine Class C championship, the team’s contribution to community pride was highlighted by councilors and the resolve they signed.
Team quarterback Jared McGreevy was pleased with the recognition.
“I have never really been a part of anything this big,” said McGreevy, who was on crutches after having suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, in his left knee in the team’s 34-6 Class C state championship loss to Yarmouth High School on Saturday. “Being supported by the entire community the way we were was just amazing.”
“You knew it was not just about you,” said Charles Tapley, the team’s starting fullback and a defensive lineman. “It was about the whole town.”
Stearns head coach Chris Preble said the team had a great year despite a disappointing finish.
“Sometimes the journey means as much as the final destination,” Preble said.
Though the Minutemen always have a strong following in Millinocket, this year’s team drew especially large crowds. By the regular season’s end, signs extolling the team were all over Millinocket and visible on Route 11 in East Millinocket and Medway.
“This isn’t just a great football team. This is a bunch of very smart kids, good kids,” said Councilor Michael Madore, a teacher at Stearns who announced the team’s games for WSYY-94.9 FM and 1240 AM. “For a while, this whole town was alive again, really alive, because of them.”
The radio station’s streaming of Stearns games over the Internet drew fans from across the country — including from Texas and Arizona — and even from servicemen serving in Iraq, Madore said.
The proclamation was the biggest item on the agenda of the meeting, which took about 25 minutes. The presentation took about 10 minutes, as most of the football players had basketball practice to attend.