Ben Lucas, who recently quarterbacked Cony High School of Augusta to its first state football championship since 1932, on Thursday was named the 2013-14 Gatorade Maine Football Player of the Year.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound senior is the first Gatorade Maine Football Player of the
Year to be chosen from Cony.
Lucas, who did not play quarterback until the eighth grade, led the Rams to a 9-2 record and the Class B state championship this season. He completed 225 of 373 passes for 3,357 yards and 41 touchdowns, including a 24-of-46, 347-yard performance with three TDs during Cony’s 30-23 win over Kennebunk High in the state final played at the University of Maine in Orono.
In that game, he drove his team 99 yards to score the game-winning touchdown on a 25-yard pass to Jonathan Saban with 1 minute left in the fourth quarter.
The Class B East Player of the Year and a semifinalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy, which represents the state’s top senior player-sportsman, Lucas concluded his high school football career with 7,575 passing yards and an unofficial state-record 89 touchdown passes.
“Ben Lucas is as fine a quarterback as I’ve seen in the state’s history,” said Brunswick High School head coach Dan Cooper. “His ability to stand tall in the pocket and throw the ball is simply amazing, almost indefensible. The confidence that he brings to that team makes them go.”
The Gatorade award recognizes not only athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field.
Lucas has maintained a B-plus average in the classroom. A member of the Cony High Spanish Club, he also has volunteered locally as a youth football coach and with the Augusta Little League.
Lucas joins recent Gatorade Maine Football Players of the Year Andrew Libby (2012-13, Thornton Academy of Saco), Louis DiTomasso (2011-12, Wells), Peter Gwilym (2010-11, Cheverus of Portland), Jack Mallis (2009-10, Windham), Jack Heary (2008-09, Deering of Portland) and Justin Villacci (2007-08, Gorham).
He remains undecided upon his college destination.
MDI’s Candage, Shields honored
Senior running back Teagan Candage and head coach Mark Shields, both of Mount Desert High School in Bar Harbor, have been named Eastern Maine Class C (Big Ten Conference) football player and coach of the year.
Candage led the division in rushing during the regular season, amassing 1,184 yards while averaging 9.6 yards per carry and scoring 12 touchdowns for the Trojans. Candage, also named a first-team all-conference running back, has been named one of 12 semifinalists for the Fitzpatrick Trophy.
Shields was recognized for guiding the Trojans to a 7-3 record that included a berth in the conference semifinals.
Mike Marston of Winslow was named the league’s assistant coach of the year.
Gaziano award nomination deadline looms
Nominations are being accepted through 3 p.m. Friday for the 2013 Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Linemen Awards for Maine high school football players.
The awards are presented to the top senior offensive and defensive linemen in the state based on their work on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. Nomination details may be found online at gazianolinemanawards.org.
The Gaziano awards are the largest high school awards of their kind in the country. Two winners will each receive $5,000 and a trophy, while four runners-up will each receive $1,000 and a trophy.
High school coaches may nominate candidates, and an awards committee will select finalists from around the state. The awards and scholarship presentations will be announced during a lunch on Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Augusta Civic Center.