DAVID HIGGINS—GREELY FOOTBALL
Generally a four-win season doesn’t result in high praise, but what the Greely football team accomplished this fall merits great appreciation and admiration.
The Rangers had to overcome key injuries to an already small roster and an 0-3 start, but by late October, they proved their worth by upsetting their biggest rival to make the playoffs, then following that up with the program’s first postseason triumph.
The man at the helm through the great storm of 2015 was David Higgins and for his efforts not only in keeping Greely together, but in leading the team to a finish that seemed downright unimaginable, The Forecaster is naming David Higgins as our Northern edition Coach of the Year, of a boys’ team.
Higgins was also honored in 2010.
Higgins grew up in Cumberland and went to Greely for two years (where he played soccer and basketball), then spent two years at Cheverus where he played football. After a year at Bridgton Academy, he walked on at the University of Maine and spent three years playing tight end. He began coaching his three sons and when the Falmouth-Cumberland football program started, he coached those kids as well.
After three years as an assistant with the nascent Greely varsity program, Higgins took over as head coach in 2009 and has kept the Rangers competitive throughout.
This fall, however, was his piece de resistance.
In the preseason, Higgins lost starting quarterback, captain and team leader Matt Pisini to a knee injury. He knew competing would be difficult and few were surprised when Greely started 0-3, but the Rangers were never overmatched and behind the strong play of senior workhorse Sam Peck, the wins started to come.
Then, just when it appeared Greely was playoff-bound, it was learned the Rangers used an ineligible player in a win over Mt. Ararat and had to forfeit the victory. As a result, Greely had to beat Falmouth in the finale to qualify and the Yachtsmen came to Cumberland undefeated and high-flying.
They left defeated and humbled and after Greely’s 16-6 win, the Rangers punched their playoff ticket and the fun was just beginning.
The next week, Greely went to Leavitt, one of the most dominant programs in recent seasons, for the Class B quarterfinals and to the shock of everyone not affiliated with the program, the Rangers left Turner with the first playoff win in their 13-year varsity history. The season finally ended with a loss to eventual repeat state champion Marshwood in the semifinals, but what a ride it was.
“The journey was really fun,” Higgins said. “It was fun to see the guys step up. The kids made the most of what they had. It was a great turnaround. We’re proud of what we accomplished. We weren’t the biggest team in numbers or in size, but we played with a lot of heart. The guys gave their all. As a coach, that’s all you want. We overachieved and exceeded expectations.”
So did David Higgins, our Northern edition boys’ team Coach of the Year, who turned a seemingly impossible situation into one of the feel-good stories of the season.
2014 Brian Berkemeyer (Freeport cross country)
2013 Mike Andreasen (Greely soccer)
2012 Dave Halligan (Falmouth soccer)
2011 Spike Herrick (Falmouth golf)
2010 David Higgins (Greely football)
2009 Jim Hartman (Yarmouth football)
2008 Mike Hagerty (Yarmouth soccer)
2007 Mike Andreasen (Greely soccer)
2006 Dave Halligan (Falmouth soccer)
2005 Joe Heathco (Freeport soccer)
2004 Mike Hagerty (Yarmouth soccer)
2003 Dave Halligan (Falmouth soccer)
2002 Bob Gilman (Falmouth cross country)
2001 Mark Luthe (Falmouth golf)
BOB MORSE-YARMOUTH CROSS COUNTRY
For nearly a half-century, Bob Morse has been a fixture in Yarmouth, be it as a teacher, a ski coach or a cross country running coach. This autumn, Morse managed to achieve a first, something which nearly happened a year ago, but tasted especially sweet for taking an additional 52 weeks.
Morse led the Yarmouth girls’ cross country team to its first championship and in light of his long, long service to the town and its students, as well as his ability to get the most out of his runners, Bob Morse gets The Forecaster’s nod as our Northern edition Coach of the Year, of a girls’ team.
Morse was also honored in 2002.
The Deering graduate (Morse played tennis, skied and ran cross country and track in high school) began teaching math and science in Yarmouth in 1970, became the coach of what would become a juggernaut ski program in 1981 and took over cross country in 1985.
While the Yarmouth boys’ team won a couple championships, the girls never finished higher than third at states until 2014. A week after winning the regional title, the Clippers had designs on a first title, but fell just short, coming in second behind perennial powerhouse Greely.
This fall, Yarmouth went for it again and this time, had no peer, again winning regionals and this time, downing Greely to win that elusive championship.
“It was a steady climb,” said Morse, who credits his assistant coaches, John Rogers and Chuck Thorp, and statistician, Mike Griffin, for playing a big role in the team’s success. “We won it. Finally. It was a great feeling. We were nervous last year. This year, we’d been there and done it. Each girl had a great race. It was a total team effort. We didn’t talk about winning states. I think that calmed them down.”
Morse, 72, has no intention of slowing down soon. The Standish resident and father of four is still an active and avid runner and has energy that would put men half his age to shame.
“I have a utopian job,” Morse said. “I’m very blessed to have students who want to learn and athletes who want to participate.”
Why wouldn’t they? Bob Morse, our Northern edition girls’ team Coach of the Year, has turned cross country into a sport that is fun and highly successful.
2014 Tracy Quimby (NYA field hockey)
2013 Gary Powers (Falmouth volleyball)
2012 Kelvin Hasch (Greely volleyball)
2011 Jim Senecal (Yarmouth volleyball)
2010 Rich Smith (Yarmouth soccer)
2009 Gary Powers (Falmouth volleyball)
2008 Julia Littlefield (NYA field hockey)
2007 Jeff Thoreck (NYA soccer)
2006 Kelvin Hasch (Greely volleyball)
2005 Cathy McGuire (Freeport cross country)
2004 Robin Haley (Falmouth field hockey)
2003 Robyn Thayer (Greely field hockey)
2002 Bob Morse (Yarmouth cross country)
2001 Melissa Anderson (Falmouth soccer)