Cape Elizabeth Capers Fall Athletes of the Year

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MALE:

BEN EKEDAHL, Senior—Football

  • Fitzpatrick Trophy semifinalist

  • Outstanding Class C Player of the Year

  • Campbell Conference Class C All-Star

  • Captain

Ekedahl stood tall on a Capers squad that was unbeatable for 10 weeks and reached the regional final.

Ekedahl grew up in Cape Elizabeth and started playing football in the fourth grade. He’s also been a force in hockey and lacrosse, but loves being on the gridiron.

“I love the team camaraderie and the competitiveness of the game,” Ekedahl said. “Winning is nice too. You have to work hard. I put in so much more work with football than other sports.”

Ekedahl made the Capers varsity as a freshman and did it all, as his size and athleticism made him a matchup nightmare. Cape Elizabeth made the playoffs his first three seasons, but this fall, Ekedahl and his teammates were focused on winning a first ever state championship.

The Capers were unstoppable their first seven games, crushing all foes, then they capped a perfect regular season with a win at Wells.

Ekedahl produced over 1,000 yards as a receiver, runner and return specialist. He had 610 receiving yards and caught six touchdown passes. He added 295 yards and four TDs on the ground and had 152 yards returning kicks with another score. Ekedahl was a force on defense as well, making 62 tackles, forcing two fumbles and intercepting two passes, returning one for a touchdown.

Highlights included a touchdown run in a season opening victory at Fryeburg Academy, a TD run and interception return for a score in a win over Poland, a long touchdown run in a victory at Mountain Valley, a TD reception in a win over Gray-New Gloucester, and his most prolific game: two touchdown receptions, a TD run and a kickoff return for a score in a victory over defending regional champion Yarmouth.

Ekedahl caught two TD passes in a quarterfinal round playoff win over Poland, brought in a long touchdown pass in a semifinal round victory over Spruce Mountain, then caught a TD and threw for another in the regional final against eventual champion Wells, where the Capers’ title dream came to a disappointing end.

“It was great to be undefeated, but we wanted to win states,” Ekedahl said. “My teammates, coaches and family motivated me. I like to play to the best of my abilities.”

Ekedahl has mentored elementary school students and is looking to win championships in hockey and lacrosse before graduating. He’s undecided on his college plans.

He was a one-of-kind athlete in high school. Ben Ekedahl, Cape Elizabeth’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, made life miserable for the opposition in all three phases and will go down as one of the finest athletes in program history.

Coach Aaron Filieo’s comment: “As coaches, we admire Ben for his ability and maturity in taking on his leadership growth so seriously. He has a great rapport with younger kids and teammates, he loves just being one of the guys, talking football and life. It’s doubtful that he truly knows the positive impact that he has on the kids that he spends time with. As talented and skilled as he is, he has always been the hardest working player on the field.”

Prior winners:

2015 Jack O’Rourke (football)

2014 Jack Drinan (football)

2013 Liam Simpson (cross country)

2012 Reese McFarlane (golf)

2011 Tim Lavallee (soccer)

2010 Jack Queeney (soccer)

2009 Ezra Wolfinger (football)

2008 Nate Lavallee (football)

2007 Jim Bump (football)

2006 Graham Egan (cross country)

2005 Mike Kertes (football)

2004 Ron Kelton (golf)

2003 Elliot Cohen (football)

2002 David Croft (soccer)

2001 Jeff Hodge (soccer)

FEMALE:

MARIAH DESCHINO Senior-Soccer

  • Class B South, all-regional team

  • WMC all-star, first-team

  • Senior All-Star

  • Kevin Brady Spirit and Scholarship Award winner

  • Captain

Deschino has been an integral member of the Capers’ success since her freshman season, but this fall, she not only starred on the field, but also played a major leadership role in helping a young squad develop into a serious contender.

Deschino started playing soccer at a young age and it quickly became her top sport.

“Soccer comes easily to me,” Deschino said. “I like to be free and just play. It’s super-fun. I’m thankful for my teammates, coaches and parents.”

She made the Cape Elizabeth varsity as a freshman and helped the Capers win their first Class B championship in 14 years. Deschino teamed with former Athletes of the Year Katherine Clark and Kate Breed to make up a dynamic front line and Cape Elizabeth returned to states her sophomore year, but lost in overtime to Waterville. Deschino and her teammates were ousted by York in the semifinals in 2015.

This fall, Deschino was the experienced leader on a young, but promising team that took awhile to hit its stride. 

Deschino had three goals and three assists in a win over Poland, scored in a loss to defending Class B champion Greely and had a goal in a tie versus York, but her impact couldn’t by quantified by stats. She was a force in the midfield and did a great job setting up her talented teammates who gained more confidence by the game.

In the playoffs, after Cape Elizabeth beat Morse in the quarterfinals, Deschino scored her team’s lone goal in a 3-1 loss to eventual champion Yarmouth in the semifinals.

“We had a rough time at the beginning of the year, but by the end, we pulled together,” Deschino said. “I’d never played midfield before, but I got used to making different runs. I was motivated by my friends and family. It was an awesome four years.”

Deschino received several postseason honors following the season. She has volunteered with Club Unify, helping those with special needs, and has played premier soccer with Seacoast. Deschino will look forward to her final lacrosse season, then will attend and play soccer at Hobart and William Smith College, where she plans to study physical therapy.

She had a unique and triumphant journey as a high school soccer star and Mariah Deschino, Cape Elizabeth’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year, won’t be forgotten for her contributions to the program.

Coach Craig Fannan’s comment: “Mariah came in as a freshman with no fear and instantly contributed to the program. In her sophomore year, she led the line as the central forward. Her pace, power and ability to finish were a constant threat. Last year, we promoted her to captain and she led the team in goals. This year, I got to see another side of Mariah. We all know her talents with the ball, but her leadership really shone through. With a young, inexperienced team it would have been easy to get frustrated, but she helped bring the new girls through, showed what it means to be a part of this program and again contributed to a fantastic season. We felt she was constantly targeted by opposing teams, unfairly treated and on the end of some rough tackles, but never let it faze her. She continued to work hard, was a positive influence and a great teammate. I’m very proud and fortunate to have worked with Mariah for the past four years and look forward to watching her journey continue in college.”

Prior winners:

2015 Maddie Bowe (volleyball)

2014 Tess Haller (volleyball)

2013 Kate Breed (soccer)

2012 Kathryn Clark (soccer)

2011 Melanie Vangel (soccer)

2010 Karyn Barrett (soccer)

2009 Karyn Barrett (soccer)

2008 Emily Attwood (cross country)

2007 Emily Attwood (cross country)

2006 Marla Houghton (soccer)

2005 Dana Riker (soccer)

2004 Elise Moody-Roberts (cross country)

2003 Elise Moody-Roberts (cross country)

2002 Clare Egan (cross country)

2001 Addie Rintel (field hockey)

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.