September 22, 2019
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UMaine football team regains services of 2 key offensive players in time for season opener

Peter Buehner | BDN
Peter Buehner | BDN
Earnest Edwards of the University of Maine (81) scores a touchdown during an August 2018 football game against New Hampshire at Alfond Stadium in Orono.

University of Maine wide receiver Earnest Edwards and running back Joe Fitzpatrick were two key cogs in the Black Bears’ run to the Football Championship Subdivision national semifinals last season.

However, the seniors have missed most of training camp with injuries. But both saw action in Wednesday’s intrasquad scrimmage and said they will be ready to play in UMaine’s Aug. 30 opener at Morse Field in Orono against Sacred Heart.

Edwards, who has been battling a hamstring pull, was UMaine’s leading receiver in 2018 with 53 catches for 839 yards and 10 touchdowns. He averaged 25.7 yards per kickoff return and returned two for scores.

Edwards also was the team’s fourth-leading rusher (38 carries, 141 yds., 2 TDs). He was a first-team All-Colonial Athletic Association kick returner and a second-team wide receiver.

For his career, Edwards has snared 94 passes for 1,544 yards and 17 touchdowns, and has 290 rushing yards.

Courtesy of UMaine Athletics
Courtesy of UMaine Athletics
Joe Fitzpatrick (27) of the University of Maine is tripped up by an Eastern Washington tackler during the Football Championship Subdivision national semifinal at Cheney, Washington on Dec. 15, 2018. The third-seeded Eagles beat the seventh-seeded Black Bears 50-19.

North Yarmouth’s Fitzpatrick had been sidelined by a back ailment. With the departure of Ramon Jefferson (182 carries, 1,037 yds.), is UMaine’s top returning rusher (120 carries, 476 yds.). He also scored four touchdowns and caught 12 passes for 41 yards.

“It felt good to run full speed [again],” said Edwards, who caught several passes during Wednesday’s short scrimmage stint. “[My hamstring] only bothered me when I stopped. But it was all right.

“It’s not 100 percent, but I’ll be able to do what I need to do to help the football team,” the speedy Edwards said.

Fitzpatrick, a bruising, 230-pound back, ran over some tacklers during the scrimmage.

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“I feel 20 years younger right now,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’m feeling good. [Training] camp was a little struggle in the beginning. I had some aches and pains left over [from previous injuries]. I went to the training staff and the doctors, and I got everything worked on.

Fitzpatrick is recovering from back and shoulder injuries.

“In the scrimmage, I got good contact for the first time in a year. I was able to deliver some hits and felt really good doing it,” he said.

Fitzpatrick admitted he was a little sore Thursday, the day after the scrimmage.

“I wasn’t in pain. I had soreness from being able to play and use my muscles and all that stuff again,” he said. “I was happy to feel that good soreness for the first time in a long time.”

Fitzpatrick goes into the season with 821 career rushing yards (4.2 yards per carry).



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