Charlie Tapley, a fullback and tackle who led Stearns of Millinocket to its first LTC title in 12 years, has been named the conference’s player of the year.
Tapley was honored during the 24th annual LTC All-Star banquet held Sunday at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer.
Tapley, a two-year captain for the Minutemen, also was named a first-team all-conference fullback and defensive tackle for his work in helping coach Chris Preble’s club finish the season with an 11-1 record.
A four-year starter on both offense and defense, Tapley earned All-LTC honors at four different positions during his career: offensive tackle, fullback, defensive tackle and defensive end.
Other nominees for LTC player of the year were Mike Cummings of Bucksport, Spencer McCormick of Calais-Woodland, Timothy Gustin of Dexter, Dylan Andrews of Foxcroft Academy, Chris Desmond of John Bapst of Bangor, Nolan Pelkey of Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln, Tyler Maloon of Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield, Aaron Santana of Mount View of Thorndike, Ryan Boyington of Old Town, Dominic Mowrer of Orono and Derek Miller of Rockland.
Preble, in his 10th season as the head coach at Stearns, was named the LTC’s coach of the year after leading the Minutemen to an undefeated record in the conference and a berth in the Class C state final. His team featured four first-team LTC all-stars on offense in Tapley, running back Billy Eurich, quarterback Jared McGreevy and wide receiver Brandon McLaughlin and four first-teamers on defense in Tapley, end Brandon Bouchard, Eurich at linebacker and McLaughlin at defensive back.
John Bapst, which reached the Eastern Maine Class C championship game for the fourth straight year, received the LTC sportsmanship award as presented by Morris Lee representing the Eastern Maine Board of Football Officials.
Gustin, a senior at Dexter, was named recipient of the third annual Silvernail Academic Scholar Award, a $2,000 scholarship awarded to a player from one of the LTC schools based on academic merit involving such criteria as cumulative grade point average and classes taken, such as honor classes and advanced placement classes.
The award is named for Andy Silvernail, who played offensive guard and linebacker at Bucksport during the 1980s and went on to play at Dartmouth until a back injury curtailed his career.
Silvernail is now a business executive in Wisconsin, and three years ago with his wife Shelby established the football-related scholarship as an expression of gratitude for what playing the sport and in particular playing in the LTC meant in shaping his life.
Previous Silvernail award recipients were Ed Flaherty of Calais-Woodland (2008) and Shane Hass of John Bapst (2009).
Intriguing games open schedule
Here’s a heads-up on some of the more interesting games dotting the opening weekend of the 2010-11 schoolboy basketball season this Friday and Saturday.
Friday’s schedule features a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B clash in which Mount View hosts two-time defending Eastern Maine Class B champion Camden Hills of Rockport. The last time these teams met in Thorndike on Jan. 22, Mount View ended Camden Hills’ 35-game winning streak with a 49-47 victory that wasn’t decided until a desperation shot by the Windjammers was ruled to have been just after the final buzzer.
Camden Hills went on to finish the regular season at 16-2 and advance to the state final before falling in overtime to Falmouth, and coach Jeff Hart’s Windjammers are considered one of the teams to beat again thanks to the returning presence of 6-foot-6 senior center Tyler McFarland, already a two-time Bangor Daily News All-Maine choice, and 6-foot-6 senior forward Keegan Pieri.
Mount View suffered heavy graduation losses from its 2010 team that reached the regional semifinals, but coach Steve Caron’s Mustangs return talented guard Zach Mehuren.
Defending Class D state champion Schenck of East Millinocket should get an opening-night test at Class C Penquis of Milo. Coach Steve LeVasseur’s Wolverines graduated several of their inside players from last year’s title runs, but returns its backcourt of senior twins Brandon and Eric Theriault. Brandon Theriault was MVP of last year’s Eastern D tournament.
Penquis boasts a blend of veterans and talented newcomers, with senior point guard Bryan Russell expected to provide backcourt stability for coach Tony Hamlin’s club.
Two other top challengers for this year’s Eastern D title, Central Aroostook of Mars Hill and Jonesport-Beals, also open Friday night. Central Aroostook, which has won three state titles in the last six years but was ousted in last February’s EM quarterfinals, will trek to Dyer Brook to play Southern Aroostook. Jonesport-Beals, which dropped a two-point decision to Schenck in last winter’s semifinals, will host Narraguagus of Harrington.
And Brewer, coming off its best season in more than two decades, will sport a different look Friday as it starts its season at Erskine Academy of South China. The Witches graduated four starters from the team that finished the regular season ranked first in Eastern A and went on to reach the regional final, but boasts a returning BDN All-Maine player in senior guard Ray Bessette to provide veteran leadership.
On Saturday, Bangor and Hampden open their seasons — against each other — while defending Class C state champion Washington Academy also plays its first game.
The Bangor-Hampden clash, scheduled for a 3 p.m. start at Hampden, features two teams that have been among the top teams in Eastern A for the last several years. Bangor, which has lost to eventual regional champion Edward Little of Auburn in the semifinals each of the last two years, will be led by returning players Zach Blodgett, Tristan Thomas, Luke Hettermann and Patrick Stewart, and also will benefit from the return of senior forward Josiah Hartley, back after competing in indoor track the last two years.
Hampden, which fell to Brewer in last year’s semifinals, will be led by senior guard Graham Safford and his backcourt mate, junior Christian McCue, as well as 6-foot-7 junior center Fred Knight, who was sidelined by injury last winter.
Washington Academy, a perennial tournament fixture, finally broke through last winter to win the school’s first state title in boys basketball. Coach Steve Pineo’s club will sport a new look this winter with the graduation of All-Maine guard Ben Teer, backcourt mate Noah von Rotz and forward Bryce Colbeth, but the Raiders still are expected to contend in what is seen as a fairly wide-open Eastern C ranks. WA will host a similarly rebuilding Foxcroft Academy club in a rematch of their semifinal last February, with game time set for 2:30 p.m. at Gardner Gymnasium.
Among other games on Saturday’s schedule, a Presque Isle team expected to rank among the best in the Class B Big East Conference will play at Hermon, while Ellsworth, an Eastern B finalist last winter, will open its season at Husson University of Bangor against John Bapst.