Two veteran quarterbacks whose teams squared off in the Class C North championship game last month have been named the Big 11 Conference co-Players of the Year.
Ryan Friend, a junior from Class C North regional champion Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield, and senior Colby Pomeroy of Big 11 regular-season champion Winslow shared the honor that capped off the annual conference banquet at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer.
Friend, a third-year starter for coach Tom Bertrand’s club, led the Huskies to a 9-3 record and their fifth regional title in the past six years.
A first-team All-Big 11 choice on offense and a second-team selection at defensive back, Friend amassed more than 2,550 yards of total offense, including 1,750 passing yards.
He passed for 104 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 190 yards and two more scores when second-seeded MCI upended Winslow 49-21 in the Big 11 championship game to avenge a 61-37 regular-season loss to the Black Raiders,
Friend then passed for 230 yards in the Class C state championship game, a 30-24 loss to Leavitt of Turner Center.
Pomeroy was similarly dangerous in creating field position for 9-2 Winslow, earning second-team all-conference honors at quarterback and first-team status at defensive back, punter and place-kicker for coach Mike Siviski’s club.
Pomeroy led Winslow on a nine-game winning streak after a season-opening loss at Wells, a streak that lasted until the regional final.
Friend’s teammate, senior offensive guard and linebacker Isaac Bussell, was named the conference lineman of the year, even though some of his biggest performances of the season came as a running back. Those included a 135-yard, three-touchdown outing in the Class C North final.
Bussell was one of two MCI players to earn first-team all-conference status on offense and defense along with senior offensive tackle and defensive end Harrison Sites.
Other multiple first-team selections were Pomeroy and junior tight end-defensive end Nathan Newgard of Winslow, two-way tackle Erik Benner and running back-linebacker Drew Severson of Medomak Valley of Waldoboro, and fullback-linebacker Trafton Gilbert of Waterville.
Dan O’Connell of John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor was named the Big 11 Coach of the Year. The longtime Crusaders’ mentor guided his team to a 6-2 regular-season record, the program’s best since 2014.
John Bapst then defeated Oceanside of Rockland 14-0 in Class C North quarterfinals for its first postseason victory in five years before bowing to MCI in the semifinals.
Wes Littlefield of Winslow was named the league’s assistant coach of the year.