DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Don Boyer was a lightly used running back early during the high school football season as Foxcroft Academy overwhelmed its first few opponents.
Not that the 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior was saving himself, but he certainly displayed plenty of energy at the end of his team’s three-month campaign that ended with the Ponies raising the gold ball symbolic of winning the Class C state championship.
Boyer rushed for 266 yards and three touchdowns in the Eastern Maine final, then followed that with 104 yards and three more touchdowns as Foxcroft edged Winslow 22-20 in the state championship game at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.
Those back-to-back performances helped lead to Boyer’s selection as the LTC Class C football player of the year, an award he received Sunday during the conference’s annual all-star banquet.
“He was already playing at a high level, but he found something else that triggered his desire,” said Foxcroft coach Danny White. “His teammates encouraged him to run as hard as he could every time he touched the ball, and I think it was just a will on his part to get the job done.
“What he did in particular the last two weeks of the season to finish his career that way is pretty special.”
Boyer’s signature moment may have come just before halftime of the Eastern Maine championship game against John Bapst of Bangor, his final game on Oakes Field at Foxcroft Academy.
John Bapst had just scored with 38 seconds left in the second quarter to forge a 7-7 tie, but on the first play after the subsequent kickoff Boyer raced through a hole in the right side of the line, broke a tackle and outraced the last defender to the end zone for a 66-yard scoring run that marked the start of 26 unanswered points Foxcroft scored the rest of the way en route to a 33-7 victory.
“We knew he was having a good year all the way through, but the way he turned it on toward the end of the season, in particular the last three games, was outstanding,” said White. “Just the way he finished runs, he ran high on his toes and fell forward for two or three extra yards every time. He found another gear, and special players are able to find another gear toward the end of the year.
“He put us on his back and wasn’t going to be denied.”
Boyer finished the season with 1,229 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns, earning All-LTC first-team recognition on offense and second-team honors as a defensive back.
Boyer was selected as the LTC’s player of the year from a list of nominees that also included Jimmy Osgood of Bucksport, Andrew Levensalor of Dexter, Robert Banner of Ellsworth-Sumner, Garrett McIntyre of Hermon, Austin Spencer of John Bapst, Ryan O’Hara of Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln, Briar Bussell of Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield, Ricky Moulton of Mount View of Thorndike, Jack Lucy of Orono, Jordan Morrow of Stearns of Millinocket and Tyler Warner of Washington Academy of East Machias.
FA’s Danny White, Alex Stevens honored
Boyer’s selection as player of the year completed a sweep by Foxcroft of this year’s major LTC awards — coming after a season in which the Ponies finished 11-1 and outscored their collective opposition 538-68 in becoming the first conference team to win the Class C state crown since John Bapst in 2008.
Danny White was named the LTC’s coach of the year after guiding Foxcroft to its second trip to the state championship during his four-year head coaching tenure at his alma mater and the Ponies to their first state crown since 2007.
Alex Stevens, a senior halfback and linebacker who was Foxcroft’s leading tackler this season, was named the recipient of the fifth annual Silvernail Academic Scholar Award.
That scholarship is awarded to a player from an LTC school 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, a 1989 Bucksport High School graduate who played offensive guard and linebacker for the Golden Bucks and went on to play at Dartmouth until a back injury curtailed his career.
Silvernail today serves as CEO of IDEX, Corp., in Illinois, and recently was named fourth on Forbes’ magazine list of the nation’s most powerful CEOs age 40 or younger.
He and 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 Sam Chase of Orono (2011), Tim Gustin of Dexter (2010), Shane Hass of John Bapst (2009) and Ed Flaherty of Calais-Woodland (2008).
Stevens also was named a first-team All-LTC linebacker and second-team running back.
‘C’ wrestling titans to meet
The four schools that have combined to win the last 17 Class C wrestling state championships will square off in their annual season-opening meet Friday at Dexter Regional High School.
Dexter, two-time defending state champion Foxcroft Academy and Western Maine powers Dirigo of Dixfield and Lisbon will battle for some early season bragging rights during the four-way meet, which is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in Guiski Gymnasium.
Lisbon has won seven state championships during that 17-year span, while Foxcroft and Dexter each has won four state titles and Dirigo has won twice.
Foxcroft returns 11 wrestlers who scored at last year’s state meet, when the Ponies rallied from behind in the championship round to edge second-place Dexter 157.5-148.5 to win their fourth Class C title during Luis Ayala’s 11 years as the team’s head coach.
That group includes four state champions in brothers Brooks and Forest Law, Corey Bjornson and two-time winner Wesley Stinson.
The Ponies opened their season with a second-place finish at the Brewer Duals, trailing only Class A power Noble of North Berwick.
Dexter returns four state runners-up from a year ago in Tyler Salsbury, Andrew Adams, Andrew Levensalor and A.J. McLaughlin.
Dirigo finished fourth at last year’s state meet, while Lisbon was seventh.