Southern edition Fall Coaches of the Year

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Johnson

Boeckel

BOYS’ TEAM

LANCE JOHNSON—SCARBOROUGH FOOTBALL

Scarborough’s football team made history this fall, winning a Class A state championship for the first time. That feat was impressive enough, but the Red Storm doing so while wearing the bulls-eye despite playing in the same region as defending champion Bonny Eagle and perennial powerhouse Thornton Academy, made it even more worthy of praise.

This program keeps getting better and now can call itself an established Class A powerhouse once and for all and the main reason for Scarborough’s success is the man at the top, Coach Lance Johnson.

For not only creating a enviable program, but for leading the Red Storm to the pinnacle, Lance Johnson is The Forecaster’s choice for our Southern edition Fall Coach of the Year, of a boys’ team, for the second year in a row and third time overall.

Johnson was also honored in 2010.

Johnson grew up in Portland, played football, hockey and baseball at Portland High and played two years of football at Bates College. After graduation, he returned to the Bulldogs and spent 21 years as offensive and defensive coordinator. Johnson took over the Scarborough program in 2010. At that juncture, the Red Storm had never been competitive in Class A. Johnson produced eight victories his first season and Scarborough went to the semifinals five times in his first six years. In 2016, the Red Storm upset Thornton Academy in the semifinals, then lost to Bonny Eagle in the regional final, but the stage was set for this year’s run.

The Red Storm opened by dominating Deering and Sanford, then let a fourth quarter lead slip away in a frustrating loss to Thornton Academy. The team quickly rebounded, however, winning its final five regular season games, capped by a decisive victory at Bonny Eagle to grab the top seed for the playoffs.

Once the postseason began, Scarborough, which boasted a plethora of playmakers on offense, defense and special teams, wouldn’t be denied, dominating Sanford in the semifinals, Thornton Academy in the regional final and finally Windham, by a 57-0 score, in the Class A state final.

“This is special,” said Johnson. “It means the culmination of a lot of hard work by great players, unbelievably supportive parents and all of our coaches. I didn’t look at the expectations as pressure. I had to get the guys to focus one week at a time. We all thought a little ahead, but I got them to play week-to-week. I just wanted to put the guys in position to be successful and let them go.”

Johnson, who was named Coach of the Year by his SMAA peers as well, teaches at Portland High School and is already gearing up for a 2018 title run, even though he’s losing many of his top contributors.

You can never write off the Red Storm, however, not with Lance Johnson, our Southern edition boys’ team Fall Coach of the Year, at the helm. He makes them as tough to beat as anyone.

Prior winners:

2016 Lance Johnson (Scarborough football)

2015 Chris Whitney (Cape Elizabeth golf)

2014 Mike Murphy (Scarborough golf)

2013 Mark Diaz (Scarborough soccer)

2012 Derek Veilleux (Cape Elizabeth cross country)

2011 Steve Stinson (South Portland football)

2010 Lance Johnson (Scarborough football)

2009 Aaron Filieo (Cape Elizabeth football)

2008 Mark Diaz (Scarborough soccer)

2007 Steve Stinson (South Portland football)

2006 Aaron Filieo (Cape Elizabeth football)

2005 Mark Diaz (Scarborough soccer)

2004 Jim Harmon (Scarborough cross country)

2003 Mark Diaz (Scarborough soccer)

2002 Jack Flynn (Scarborough football)

2001 Jack Flynn (Scarborough football)

GIRLS’ TEAM

SARAH BOECKEL—CAPE ELIZABETH VOLLEYBALL

A champion doesn’t get fazed and always saves its best for the biggest stage. 

That was the story of the Cape Elizabeth volleyball team this fall, which won all 14 regular season matches, then tacked on three more in the postseason to win the program’s second state championship.

Along the way, the Capers took on the persona of their coach, Sarah Boeckel, exemplifying her toughness and persistence and it paid off with a Gold Ball.

For producing a perfect champion, Sarah Boeckel is The Forecaster’s choice as our Southern edition Fall Coach of the Year, of a girls’ team.

Boeckel was also honored in 2014.

The Buffalo, New York native starred in volleyball in high school and played at Stony Brook University. She also played basketball, softball and lacrosse growing up.

Boeckel got her start in coaching while she was still in college and returned home to assist at Canisius College. After coming to Cape Elizabeth, Boeckel was the Capers junior varsity coach for four seasons, then took over the varsity team in 2013. The following year, Cape Elizabeth made a stunning run, rallying in all three playoff matches, to win the Class A title. 

After being upset in the 2015 semifinals and falling in the preliminary round a year ago, the Capers returned to form this fall after being reclassified into Class B.

Cape Elizabeth faced many regular season tests, but won all 14 matches to earn the top seed for the playoffs. The Capers then swept Kennebunk, Greely and Falmouth to win the title in exhilarating fashion.

“Every time we won tight matches this year, I wondered if it would come back to bite us in playoffs, but it didn’t,” Boeckel said. “We weren’t nervous or worried. We’re not the biggest team, or maybe the best team, but we’re mentally tough and we love a long rally.”

“The way Boeckel coaches us, we’re so mentally strong,” Cape Elizabeth junior hitting standout Megan Connelly said. “She pushes us.”

Boeckel also coaches varsity tennis at Cape Elizabeth (she won Spring girls’ team Coach of the Year in 2016 after leading the Capers to a championship) and teaches physical education. 

The Capers figure to remain a top contender in the years to come and as long as Sarah Boeckel, our Fall girls’ team Coach of the Year is leading the way, they’ll win tough matches and end seasons with celebrations.

Prior winners:

2016 Maura Bisogni (Cape Elizabeth field hockey)

2015 Jon Roberts (Scarborough volleyball)

2014 Sarah Boeckel (Cape Elizabeth volleyball)

2013 Craig Fannan (Cape Elizabeth soccer)

2012 Mike Farley (Scarborough soccer)

2011 Jon Roberts (Scarborough volleyball)

2010 Mike Farley (Scarborough soccer)

2009 Kerry Mariello (Scarborough field hockey)

2008 Ron Kelly (Scarborough cross country)

2007 Kerry Mariello (Scarborough field hockey)

2006 Jody King (Scarborough volleyball)

2005 Mary Ann Doss (Cape Elizabeth cross country)

2004 Kerry Mariello (Scarborough field hockey)

2003 Mary Ann Doss (Cape Elizabeth cross country)

2002 Maureen Curran (South Portland field hockey)

2001Erin McLaughlin (Scarborough 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.