Friday, March 7, 2014
BY BILL STEWART
Mt. Blue football coach Gary Parlin swapped two game films with Marshwood coach Alex Rotsko this week in preparation for the Class B state title game today.
Staff photo by David Leaming Mt. Blue's Nick Hyde reaches for throw as Waterville's Devin Burgess, left, and Jordan DeRosby pressure during game on Friday in Farmington.
Mt. Blue (11-0) vs. Marshwood (10-1)
When: 6 tonight
Where: Fitzpatrick Stadium, Portland
Last state final appearance: Mt. Blue, 2005 (Class A); Marshwood, 1989 (Class A)
Key players: Mt. Blue — QB/DB Jordan Whitney, FB/LB Chad Luker, HB/LB Bradley Jackson, WR/DB Nate Backus, TE/DE Zak Kendall, T/DT Colin Richards, SS Kindle Bonsall, RB Calan Lucas, C Drew Blanchet, G Connor Farrington. Marshwood — RB/LB Dan Lizotte, QB/DB Cameron Roll, RB/DB Nick Janes, DB Kyle Markham, OL/DL Andrew Tarr, RB Brett Gerry.
Outlook: Whitney is one of the top quarterbacks in the state. He’s thrown for more than 1,700 yards and 28 touchdowns to go along with just five interceptions. Lucas and Luker provide a formidable punch in the backfield as well. Mt. Blue can spread the field and score points in a hurry. The Hawks turned the corner quickly under first-year coach Alex Rotsko. He installed a traditional Wing-T offense, and the results paid off. Brett Gerry leads the Hawks with 1,097 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Quarterback Roll has rushed for 560 yards and 10 touchdowns. Senior captain Lizotte has rushed for 790 yards and nine touchdowns.
He only needed one to see just what type of challenge the Hawks will present his Cougars at 6 tonight at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.
"This will be the best defensive front we've seen all year," Parlin said. "They have a great quarterback, too. They'll be the best team we've played all season. They're a dangerous team."
The Cougars are back in a state championship game for the first time in seven years -- they lost to Bonny Eagle in the 2005 Class A game.
It's been a longer stretch for Marshwood, which last played for a state title in 1989, also as as a Class A team.
The Hawks (10-1) and Cougars (11-0) come in with contrasting offenses that make for an intriguing showdown.
Marshwood, under new coach Alex Rotsko, runs a traditional Wing-T offense.
"We don't throw balls as well as they do," Rotsko said, "but we do some other things that hopefully will give them problems. We use a lot of different formations, but the plays themselves are traditional Wing-T."
The Hawks feature four players who've rushed for at least 390 yards this season. Brett Gerry led the way with 1,097 yards and 13 touchdowns. Quarterback Cameron Roll rushed for 560 yards and 10 touchdowns, while senior captain Dan Lizotte, a fullback, rushed for 790 yards and nine touchdowns. Nick Janes, another senior captain, has rushed for 394 yards and two touchdowns.
"We're pretty balanced," Rotsko said.
Parlin said the Cougars will need to have an edge up front and also be able to contain the perimeter.
"Their quarterback is more of a running threat," he said. "They run belly and dive up inside, but the big play for them is when the quarterback keeps it. Against these guys, you can't bunch the middle, or else (Gerry) comes hard to the outside."
Added Mt. Blue quarterback/defensive back Jordan Whitney: "Marshwood can run it. They have tough kids. We will defintely have to stop the outside run."
Like the Hawks, the Cougars also feature a highly regarded quarterback. Unlike the Hawks, the Cougars' quarterback is a threat to air out opposing defenses. Whitney has thrown 28 touchdowns and more than 1,700 yards. He has thrown just five interceptions.
"He is the best quarterback we'll play all season," Rotsko said. "Just his poise. He stands back there and he really scans the field. To me, he seems very poised for a high school quarterback. He also has a nice complement of skill kids. We're going to have our hands full."
Calan Lucas and Chad Luker give the Cougars a formidable running game as well. Luker rushed for four touchdowns and 74 yards in a 42-14 win over Waterville last week in the Pine Tree Conference Class B championship game. Lucas rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries against the Purple Panthers.
"Both of our tems have outstanding quarterbacks," Parlin sad. "They like to run it a little bit more. We want to be a little more balanced."
Added Whitney: "We're starting to pound the ball. We're prepared. We'll be ready."
Bill Stewart -- 621-5640