In summarizing Brunswick in its preseason football capsules, the Portland Press Herald ended with this note about the team's offense:
"The Dragons run the wing-T and spread things out as much as possible."
That was indeed the plan in preseason. But before the first game against Bangor, the plan changed to, simply, give the ball to Jared Jensen, and make holes for him.
"That really wasn't the plan until the Bangor week," Brunswick coach Dan Cooper said. "I just thought, 'I don't think we could beat these guys unless you get the ball every time.' "
Since then, Cooper has stayed with that strategy, and Jensen is this year's breakout star in Maine high school football. Through four games, all Brunswick wins, he has 119 carries for 1,296 yards -- that's 10.9 yards per carry -- and 16 touchdowns.
"I figured I'd be getting the ball a lot because we had some people out at the beginning of the season," Jensen said. "But I didn't think I'd be getting the ball that much."
Jensen, a senior, has started at defensive back since he was a sophomore. He started a couple games at running back at the end of last season, but still finished with only 129 yards on 21 attempts.
"We knew he was good last year," Cooper said. "We didn't know he was going to be this good. It seems like as the game goes on, people start getting tired. He doesn't."
Jensen stands about 5-foot-11 and weighs around 180 lbs. Remarkably, he wrestled at 152 lbs. last winter, when he won his second consecutive state championship. The added weight hasn't affected Jensen's speed or endurance.
"He gets up in the holes so fast, and he can cut," Cooper said. "He cuts left and right, doesn't lose his balance. He just has a knack for knowing what to do."
"Really, our goal is to get a hole for me for five or seven yards," Jensen said. "If I can get that, I can go wherever."
Even while being the bulk of Brunswick's offense, Jensen is the defensive captain from his cornerback spot. Against Edward Little, he ran for 332 yards and four touchdowns, and also intercepted three passes, returning one 61 yards to set up the clinching score.
"I don't really come off the field that much," Jensen said.
Jensen has been contacted by the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire about playing next season. So far, only one thing has slowed him down: Against Skowhegan, he missed part of the game with leg cramps. Otherwise, he's been ready to be the main guy, as long as the game is close.
"I think the week of practice really helps with that," Jensen said. "I'm a little sore the next morning, but I'm good to go the whole game."
ASSAULT CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST MESSALONSKEE COACH
Messalonskee football coach Wes Littlefield was suspended last week over an incident in practice. The school and local police began investigations, and Littlefield resigned within 24 hours. On Tuesday, Littlefield was charged with a misdemeanor simple assault in connection with the incident.
Littlefield was in his 10th season as Messalonskee coach and had a 43-40 record, including 3-0 this fall. He told the Morning Sentinel what happened in practice was "a little incident with a kid that was blown out of proportion."
Assistant coaches Rob Rodrigue and Chapin LaBelle led the Eagles in their first game without Littlefield, a 41-0 victory over Oxford Hills. LaBelle was named interim head coach on Tuesday.
Football Top 10
1. Cheverus- Stags are consistent. Last 3 wins: 42-0, 42-0, 47-0.
2. Thornton - Defense may be a concern in November, but offense is rolling.
3. Lawrence - Bulldogs have been dominant, but opponents so far are a combined 2-14.
4. Scarborough - Red Storm averaged 19.6 ppg last year, over 20 in every game this fall.
5. Brunswick - Dragons got a scare against Edward Little, face 3-1 Cony next.
6. Leavitt - 4-0 Hornets face three solid teams over next four weeks.
7. Messalonskee - Eagles held Oxford Hills to 18 yards last week.
8. Portland - After going 2-6 last fall, Bulldogs sit at 3-1.
9. Mt. Blue - Cougars held Gardiner ro 8 yards in fourth quarter to seal 21-16 win.
10. Windham - Eagles trying to regroup after losses to Scarborough and Cheverus.
There is little argument as to the best field hockey team in Maine this season. After scoring 116 goals (6.4 per game) last season, Skowhegan has outscored its opponents, 98-0, through 11 games this year.
Skowhegan has been tested only twice -- a 4-0 victory over Messalonskee in which the Indians were outplayed in the first half (but still led 2-0), and a 5-0 win over Lawrence that was 1-0 at halftime. Six of Skowhegan's wins have been by at least 10 goals.
Senior Makaela Michonski leads the Indians with 29 goals, followed by Sarah Finnemore with 19. Michonski has scored 91 goals in her career, and has four goals in a game four times this fall.
TUMULT AT GREENVILLE
The Greenville boys' soccer team will see its record drop from 7-1 to 2-6. The Lakers, who won the Western D title last fall, self-reported to the Maine Principals' Association that they were using an ineligible player.
“We were using an ineligible player and it wasn’t detected on my part,” athletic director Jeffrey Stafford told the Bangor Daily News. “It ultimately was my responsibility to pick up on it, but it wasn’t detected. I feel sick about it, I really do, because this is a really good group of kids and I’ve put them in a hole.”
Stafford resigned as athletic director the same day the school discovered the infraction, according to the BDN.