Freeport Falcons Fall Sports Preview

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Senior quarterback Josh Burke led Freeport to a terrific season on the gridiron last fall. Burke hopes to bow out by leading the Falcons back to the playoffs this season.

File photos.

More photos below.

FOOTBALL

Coach: Paul St. Pierre (third year, 4-13 overall record)

2016 record: 4-5 (lost, 20-14, to Spruce Mountain in Class C South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Josh Burke (Senior), Ethan Cameron (Senior), Mike Foss (Senior), Will Gormley (Senior), Garrison Thompson (Senior), Hunter Demers (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 15 YORK, Sept. 30 SPRUCE MOUNTAIN, Oct. 13 GARDINER, Oct. 20 @ Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “We plan on building on last year’s success. This is the first year that we have depth. Our numbers are up. We have quite a bit of speed and athleticism. We just need experience. Health is the big issue. Our goal is to win between four and six games. I think we can push for six.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport is coming off arguably its best season and if St. Pierre, our Coach of the Year last fall, has his way, the 2017 campaign will go down in the history books as the Falcons’ finest hour. There are reasons to believe that Freeport will be very strong.

Burke, Freeport’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year in 2016, was a Campbell Conference Class C all-star and he’s back for another season under center. Burke is equally adept passing or running the ball and his toughness and leadership abilities will help the Falcons score their share of points. Freeport won’t have a go-to back this season, instead running the ball by committee behind seniors James Knighton and Jacob Tomm and sophomore Adam Ulrickson. Through the air, Burke will look for Foss and senior tight end Connor Wilson. The line is experienced and boasts Cameron, Gormley and Thompson. Junior Matt Hinds, a transfer from Tampa, his freshman brother, Nate Hinds, and senior Andrew St. John will also mix it up in the trenches.

The Falcons will be tough to move the ball on as well. The defensive line features Demers, Gormley, Thompson, Wilson and senior Jack Sawicki. Burke is the leader of the linebacker corps, which also includes Tomm and Matt Hinds. In the secondary, look for Foss and senior Griffin Agnese to make noise. 

Freeport has come light years from the squad that failed to win a game two years ago. This group has gotten a taste of victory and liked it immensely. Class C South has its share of talented teams, but the Falcons have what it takes to make a run at just the second winning record in program history (5-4 in 2011). This could be the year that Freeport breaks through and captures a playoff game as well.

BOYS’ SOCCER

Coach: Joe Heathco (20th year, 135-135-28 overall record)

2016 record: 6-7-1 (Lost, 5-0, to Maranacook in Class B South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Joe Ashby (Senior), Evan McKittrick (Senior), Nate Thomas (Senior), Aaron Rusiecki (Junior), Eriksen Shea (Junior), Jesse Bennell (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 2 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 9 @ Greely, Sept. 19 @ NYA, Sept. 21 YORK, Sept. 26 WAYNFLETE, Sept. 29 YARMOUTH, Oct. 3 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 12 GREELY

Coach’s comment: “We’re still a little young. We only have five seniors. The kids are doing a great job and are working hard. We have a lot of athletes. We’re faster than we’ve been. If we can stay healthy and build, the sky’s the limit for us.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Last season, Freeport won a playoff game for the first time since 2012 and this time around, the Falcons could be a factor deep into the postseason.

McKittrick is a top returner. The reigning league all-star will anchor the back line. Shea is another returning all-star. He’ll be a top scoring threat up front. The midfield features Ashby, Bennell, who had a terrific freshman season, and sophomore Will Winter. On defense, Rusiecki and Thomas join McKittrick in front of junior Atticus Patrick, who replaces Joe Burke in goal.

Freeport has the misfortune of being in the same region as three-time defending state champion Yarmouth and perennial powerhouses Cape Elizabeth, Greely and York. Mix in a game versus always-strong Waynflete and the Falcons will have their hands full in the weeks to come, but this group is up for the challenge. Look for Freeport to steadily improve and be a potential darkhorse when the playoffs kick off. 

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Coach: Elayna Girardin (ninth year, 47-64-9 overall record)

2016 record: 8-6-2 (lost, 3-1, to Greely in Class B South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Johanna Bogue-Marlow (Senior), Becca Cameron (Senior), Taylor Rinaldi (Senior), Abbi King (Junior), Catriona Gould (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 1 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 7 @ Greely, Sept. 9 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 25 WAYNFLETE, Sept. 29 YARMOUTH, Oct. 6 @  York 

Coach’s comment: “The girls are really clicking well. We have a lot of experience back. It’s a skilled team. We have underclassmen ready to transition to bigger roles. We have a tough early schedule that will allow us to clean up our weaknesses. Then, we can give teams a run for their money. We want to keep building on what last year’s seniors did. They built confidence and team unity. We’d love to go farther in the playoffs.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport is coming off its best season since 2013 and the Falcons are hoping to continue their upward climb this fall. While many obstacles loom, don’t be surprised if this group improves to the point where it advances even deeper than the 2016 squad.

King is a returning league all-star. She’ll anchor the midfield along with Cameron, a four-year starter and captain, and Rinaldi, a four-year starter, who could be one of the squad’s top scorers. Gould is the striker. She led the team in goals last season. Bogue-Marlow is the top returning defender. She’ll help protect new goalkeeper, freshman Carly Intraversato. 

While Yarmouth has the pieces in place to repeat as Class B champion and Cape Elizabeth, Greely and York will always be strong, the Falcons are hoping to break through into that upper echelon. They just need to find a way to earn a statement victory and will have a chance to do so when they play the Capers, Rangers and Clippers in their first three outings. By late-October, look for Freeport to be a team that no one wants to face.

FIELD HOCKEY 

Coach: Marcia Wood (fifth year, 26-34-2 overall record)

2016 record: 7-8-1 (Lost, 8-0, to eventual state champion York in Class B South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Maya Bradbury (Senior), Grace Schnyder (Senior), Natalie Anderson (Junior), Alexa Koenig (Junior), Kerry Lefebvre (Junior), Reilly Lefebvre (Junior), Kelsey Williams (Junior)

Pivotal games: Aug. 31 @ Greely, Sept. 12 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 23 YORK, Sept. 26 YARMOUTH, Sept. 28 @ Poland, Sept. 30 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 10 GREELY

Coach’s comment: “I have a very motivated group of ladies this year. A lot of them have been working in the offseason to improve their skills and they’ve put in a lot of time preparing. I’ve been saying for a few years now that this team needs a big win so they know they can do it and it will motivate them even more in games to follow. If we can put it all together, we can be tough to beat.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport extended its postseason streak to eight years last autumn and this fall, the Falcons have the ability to move up the standings and perhaps enjoy an even longer playoff stay.

This year’s offense will be paced by Koenig (Freeport’s Fall and Spring Female Athlete of the Year last school year). Koenig, a second-team league all-star, scored three goals and had four assists in 2016 and should be able to add to those totals in the weeks to come. Anderson (six goals last season), Bradbury and Kerry Lefebvre (four goals, two assists in 2016) will also do their share of rattling the cage. Schnyder, Reilly Lefebvre and Williams also have experience. The return of senior Callie Toothaker, who missed last year with an ACL injury, will be a huge boost. She can be a factor anywhere on the field. Junior midfielder Tabatha Sabans and freshman forward Ally Randall are newcomers to watch. Junior Katelynn Rouleau replaces Megan Seymour in goal. 

The potential is in place for Freeport to be one of the feel-good stories of the 2017 season. The Falcons have to prove that they can contend with the league’s elite and if they can take that next step, the sky would be the limit in the postseason.

CROSS COUNTRY

Coach: Brian Berkemeyer (11th year, two state championships)

2016 results:
(Boys) 3rd @ Class B state meet
(Girls) 10th @ Class B state meet

Top returners:
(Boys) Thomas Doyle (Senior), Paul Biberstein (Junior), John Giddens (Junior), Alex Les (Junior), Nick Mitch (Junior), Jeremy Brogan (Sophomore), Heath Cockburn (Sophomore)
(Girls) Lydia Hollen (Senior), Lily Horne (Junior), Jessica Minieri (Junior), Kaitlynn Morrissey (Junior), Emily Sclar (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We have very young teams. We have runners on both teams to round out the top three. It will likely come down to our fourth and fifth runners on both teams. With some new additions and the kids working hard, we have the potential to be in the mix come state meet time.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After yet another trip to the state meet last year, Freeport’s cross country teams both hope to move up the standings this fall.

The boys’ team’s two-year run atop Class B came to an end last autumn and the program has lost some top-notch talent to graduation the past few seasons, but don’t write the Falcons off this year. Les is a top returner. He placed 10th at the Class B state meet and will replace Henry Jaques as the lead runner. Also scoring at states were Doyle (22nd) and Cockburn (55th). Biberstein, Brogan, Giddens and Mitch all figure into this year’s mix, as will new senior Dawson Pillow and freshman Joseph Coleman. Freeport should be able to qualify for states for the ninth year in a row and another top five finish there is a distinct possibility.

On the girls’ side, Horne is back after a strong sophomore campaign which saw her come in a team-best 14th at the state meet. She could do even better this season. Also scoring last year was Sclar (48th). This time around, the Falcons look for Minieri and Morrissey to play bigger roles and hope that new sophomore Sadie Southall and freshman Elsa Blease can step right in and make an impact. Several strong teams stand in the Falcons’ way, but a return trip to the state meet is manageable, as is a higher finish than a year ago.

GOLF

Coach: Mike Lawson (first year)

2016 results: 3-5 (no postseason)

Top returner: Ethan Sclar (Senior), Liam Gould (Junior), Sullivan Smith (Junior), Tom Robinson (Sophomore), Molly Whelan (Sophomore), Steele Young (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We’re enjoying preseason and we’re working hard to improve our short game around and on the green. We’re looking to take a methodical approach and we’re also working on personal tempo during shot making, envisioning shots, execution and understanding each golfer’s unique mechanics. Overall, we’re excited to be able to play, build our game and work hard to be a competitive golf club this year.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport’s golf team begins a new era this fall as Lawson replaces Peter Tilton as coach. The Falcons are optimistic about the season to come and have some promising golfers in their midst.

Sclar qualified for states as an individual last season, shooting an 84, which tied him for 11th in Class B. He could be even better this time around. Gould, Robinson, Smith, Steele and Whelan also have experience. Freshmen Evan Avasti, Sydney Morrison and T.J. Whelan are new to the team and add depth and promise. 

Freeport could exceed last year’s regular season win total and for the first time in a long time, make a run at qualifying as a team. Expect several individuals to make a trip to Natanis as well.

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

Senior Will Gormley is a top returning offensive and defensive lineman for the Falcons.

Junior Alexa Koenig blossomed into a star last season. She’ll be a top player for Freeport’s promising field hockey team this autumn.

Junior Natalie Anderson scored six goals in 2016 and could be a top scorer again.

Senior Maya Bradbury is a key veteran returner for the Falcons.

Junior Kerry Lefebvre is another returner who can put the ball in the cage.

Junior Alex Les is a key returner for Freeport’s boys’ cross country team. Les was 10th in Class B last season.

Junior Lily Horne is the top returning runner for Freeport’s girls’ cross country team. Horne placed 14th at last year’s Class B state meet.

Sophomore Emily Sclar also scored at last year’s Class B state meet, coming in 48th.

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