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Coaches of the Year: Southern edition

Sports

Coaches of the Year: Southern edition

Coach of the Year is a very difficult award to bestow. There are so many devoted and excellent ones out there.

These awards were not necessarily awarded to a man and a woman, but to the top coach of a boys' team and the top coach of a girls' team.

FALL 2009 SOUTH COACH OF THE YEAR-BOYS' TEAM

AARON FILIEO-CAPE ELIZABETH FOOTBALL

Cape Elizabeth's quest for a regional championship and its rivalry with perennial powerhouse Mountain Valley has been so compelling it inspired a recent documentary.

This fall, the Capers finally stole the show, beating the rival Falcons twice, including in come-from-behind fashion in the regional final to reach the state championship game for the first time in program history.

When Aaron Filieo took over the team back in 2004, he immediately stated that he expected to win a state title. He's drawing ever-closer.

Filieo has created one of the finest programs in the state, got this year's team to keep its eye on the prize and believe it could rally during its darkest hour and has the Capers positioned to remain a threat going forward.

In that light, The Forecaster is naming Aaron Filieo our 2009 Fall South edition Coach of the Year, of a boys' team.

Filieo has long danced with greatness, leading South Portland to the 1992 Class A football title (playing for the legendary John Wolfgram, our Portland edition boys' Coach of the Year), despite being one of the smaller players on the field. He also played basketball, baseball and ran track in high school, before playing a little rugby at Plymouth State.

Filieo served as an assistant coach at South Portland for six years, then took over the nascent Cape Elizabeth program. By his third season, the Capers were in the regional final, but couldn't beat Mountain Valley. The story was the same in 2007 and again in 2008.

This fall, however, Cape Elizabeth rose to the occasion time and again, drubbing every regular season foe, including the Falcons, 34-0, in the last game. After rolling over Wells in the Western B semifinals, the Capers hosted Mountain Valley again in the regional final in the rain and trailed 13-9 late in the contest. It was the first time Cape Elizabeth faced a deficit all season, but the well-coached Capers didn't buckle and scored two late touchdowns to win a first regional crown.

The dream ended the night of Nov. 21 with a 35-21 loss to Leavitt in the Class B state game, but Cape Elizabeth has established itself as a first-rate program once and for all.

Filieo, who lives with his wife Kari and three kids in South Portland and teaches at Cape Elizabeth Middle School, will try again to deliver a Gold Ball next fall.

Don't bet against him. Aaron Filieo, our 2009 Southern edition boys' Coach of the Year has risen to the occasion all of his life. He's not done yet.

2008 winner: Mark Diaz (Scarborough soccer)

2007 winner: Steve Stinson (South Portland football)

2006 winner: Aaron Filieo (Cape Elizabeth football)

2005 winner: Mark Diaz (Scarborough soccer)

2004 winner: Jim Harmon (Scarborough cross country)

2003 winner: Mark Diaz (Scarborough soccer)

2002 winner: Jack Flynn (Scarborough football)

2001 winner: Jack Flynn (Scarborough football)

FALL 2009 SOUTH COACH OF THE YEAR-GIRLS' TEAM

KERRY MARIELLO-SCARBOROUGH FIELD HOCKEY

While every coach longs for a roster dripping with talent, dealing with expectations often separates the great from the merely good.

This fall, Scarborough's Kerry Mariello had to contend with immense pressure as she guided her field hockey team toward what it hoped would be a first-ever Class A state championship.

The Red Storm were able to meet every challenge while getting the opposition's best every time out, but the road wasn't easy. Mariello heard criticism about running up the score and Scarborough was taken to the wire by Cheverus in the regional final and by eight-time state champion Skowhegan in the state game, but rose to the occasion every time.

It wasn't easy, but the end result was oh so gratifying and in light of everything she had to contend with, Kerry Mariello is a deserving recipient of our 2009 Fall Southern edition Coach of the Year, of a girls' team.

This marks the third time (2004 and 2007) that Mariello has been honored.

Mariello has long been a winner. She was a member of the 1991 Biddeford Class A field hockey champion. She also played basketball and softball in high school and went on to play field hockey at Plymouth State.

Mariello took over the Scarborough program in 2002. At that point, the Red Storm were only in their third year as a varsity program after it was resurrected after a two-decade absence. Scarborough won just twice her first season, but Mariello then embarked on a mind-boggling seven-year stretch where her team won more games than it had the prior season.

The Red Storm made the state final for the first time in 2008, but lost an agonizing double-overtime decision to Skowhegan. From the ashes of that game, Scarborough sought to return and no one wanted to get in the Red Storm's way this fall.

Scarborough opened with a 12-0 win at Portland and would win its 14 regular season games by a composite 80-9 margin. Mariello often pulled her starters by halftime, but talented reserves kept the pressure on and Mariello occasionally heard criticism over the final score.

Games got much tighter in the playoffs, but the Red Storm downed Thornton Academy, Bonny Eagle and Cheverus to earn a rematch with Skowhegan. There, Scarborough appeared on the road to heartbreak again, down 1-0 late in the game, but senior standout Brittany Ross tied the score and early in overtime, senior Ellie Morin tipped home classmate Heather Carrier's long drive to give the Red Storm their eagerly-awaited crown.

Mariello teaches at Scarborough High and will soon deliver her third child. She, husband Rico and their family live in Biddeford.

Many will expect Scarborough to come back to the pack next fall after the Red Storm are hit hard by graduation, but worry not those of you who bleed red and white, this program is in great hands.

Kerry Mariello, our 2009 Southern edition girls' Coach of the Year, has now done it all as a coach. She's more than capable of leading her team to the pinnacle again.

2008 winner: Ron Kelly (Scarborough cross country)

2007 winner: Kerry Mariello (Scarborough field hockey)

2006 winner: Jody King (Scarborough volleyball)

2005 winner: Mary Ann Doss (Cape Elizabeth cross country)

2004 winner: Kerry Mariello (Scarborough field hockey)

2003 winner: Mary Ann Doss (Cape Elizabeth cross country)

2002 winner: Maureen Curran (South Portland field hockey)

2001 winner: Erin McLaughlin (Scarborough field hockey)