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PORTLAND — Capping a sensational, triumphant high school football career in fine style, senior Peter Gwilym, who quarterbacked the Class A state champion Cheverus Stags on both sides of the ball, was named Sunday afternoon the 40th winner of the James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy, the award signifying the finest senior player in the state in honor of the one-time Portland High and Boston College star.
Gwilym, Cheverus’ 2009 and 2010 Fall Male Athlete of the Year, edged Deering’s Jamie Ross and Mountain Valley’s Cam Kaubris to take home the illustrious prize.
“It felt amazing to hear my name called,” said Gwilym. “I had a big smile on my face. I didn’t really know if I’d win. I thought all three of us had an equal shot.”
Gwilym, who was also a league all-star, the league’s most valuable player and Maine’s Gatorade Player of the Year, guided Cheverus to its first Class A title since 1985 behind over 700 rushing and 700 passing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns and nine TDs through the air.
“We won six games in an extremely tough SMAA conference in the fourth quarter this year, and Peter was the reason,” Cheverus coach John Wolfgram said. “We won those games on the strength of his feet, his arm and mostly his head.”
On defense, a side of the ball where he didn’t get enough credit as a bruising cornerback, he made 81 unassisted tackles, forced three fumbles and had five interceptions (he also returned a pick 109-yards in the Stags’ breathtaking 35-34 win over Deering in the epic Western A Final).
“He brought a linebacker’s mentality to free safety,” Wolfgram said. “He probably would have been better as a linebacker, but we couldn’t afford that. He loves to hit.”
If that wasn’t enough, Gwilym returned a punt for a score in an early-season victory at Windham.
“It means a lot to me to represent Cheverus, the team, the coaches, everybody,” said Gwilym. “It’s kind of a team award. It shows our success.”
Gwilym had a large and raucous cheering section on hand.
“I had a family table and two others of coaches, teammates and friends,” Gwilym said. “It was nice to have them there.”
Gwilym came to Cheverus as a wide receiver, but took over behind center as a sophomore and evolved into a standout. He’s an honors student, a member of the National Honor Society, is a key cog on the Stags’ undefeated, defending Class A state champion boys’ basketball team and will play baseball in the spring.
Gwilym said Monday he’s still deciding between three colleges, but that he wants to play at the next level.
Sun Journal staff writer Kalle Oakes contributed to this story
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Peter Gwilym did it all for the Stags during their championship run last fall. Sunday, he received the most prestigious honor in the state for his efforts.