PORTLAND, Maine — Newly crowned Maine Gatorade Player of the Year for football Joe Esposito of Portland High School is among 12 semifinalists for the 2015 James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy announced Monday morning.

The Portland-based Fitzy is presented annually to the top senior player-sportsman in Maine high school football.

The field of semifinalists will be pared to three finalists later this month by a vote of media and other football observers from around the state, with the winner to be recognized during a banquet in January.

Esposito, a running back and linebacker, rushed for 1,795 yards and 26 touchdowns on 256 carries in 11 games this season to lead the Bulldogs to the Class A state final. The Class A North Player of the Year also had a conference-leading 124 tackles.

Other semifinalists are Connor Aube of Falmouth, Jack Bernatchez of Messalonskee of Oakland, Will Bessey of Brunswick, Levi Craig of Leavitt of Turner Center, Mahlon Glidden of Scarborough, Austin McCrum of Thornton Academy of Saco, Sam Peck of Greely of Cumberland Center, Nate Pratt-Holt of Mt. Blue of Farmington, Riley Robinson of Dirigo of Dixfield, Reid Shostak of Cony of Augusta and Dalton Therrien of Oak Hill of Wales.

Aube totaled 1,780 all-purpose yards and 22 touchdowns in quarterbacking Falmouth to an unbeaten regular season and a trip to the Class B South final.

Bernatchez, a fullback and linebacker, averaged nine yards per possession while amassing 1,295 rushing and receiving yards and scoring 18 touchdowns. Defensively he made 81 tackles.

Bessey, the Class A North Player of the Year, led Brunswick to the Class A state final for the second straight season. He had 1,722 all-purpose yards and 22 touchdowns on offense as running back.

Craig passed for more than 2,000 yards and 23 touchdowns while completing 60 percent of his passes and added 875 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.

Glidden, an offensive guard and defensive tackle, contributed 68 tackles, including 17 for a loss for Scarborough. He also recorded five quarterback sacks.

McCrum quarterbacked Thornton Academy to its second straight Class A state title, completing 87 of 144 passes for 1,706 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also rushed for 245 yards and two touchdowns.

Peck rushed for 1,549 yards and scored 16 touchdowns for Greely and made 70 tackles from his linebacker slot.

Pratt-Holt, a wide receiver and safety, had 796 all-purpose yards on 17 carries and 25 pass receptions while scoring nine touchdowns. He contributed 84 tackles with three fumble recoveries and three interceptions on defense.

Robinson accounted for 31 touchdowns — 19 on the ground and 12 passing — and 2,200 all-purpose yards as Dirigo’s quarterback.

Shostak gained 1,178 total yards rushing and receiving with 12 touchdowns. He also made 56 tackles, with two pass interceptions as linebacker.

Therrien quarterbacked Oak Hill to its third straight Class D state championship, compiling 2,624 all-purpose yards and 28 touchdowns on offense and 36 tackles as cornerback on defense.


Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...