Paula Doughty is in her 31st year as field hockey coach at Skowhegan Area High School. She’s posted a career record of 414 wins, 80 losses and 17 ties and her teams have captured 12 Class A state championships, including last year’s. Prior to losing in the state final in 2009, the Indians had reeled off eight state titles in a row.
Doughty was named National Field Hockey High School Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2008 and more than 80 of her players have gone on to play in college. One of her players has been a first-team national All-American while two have made second team All-American and 22 have been regional All Americans.
Q: How did you get into coaching?
A: "I was in college from ‘70-74 and I officiated. I graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington and student taught in Skowhegan. In August they called me and said there was a job opening and they also needed a field hockey coach. I played in high school and I officiated so I had quite a lot of experience and I knew the game."
Q: What attracts you to the sport?
A: "It’s evolved into a really fast, fabulous sport. It’s just become better and better. First we lost the offsides, advancing became incidental and the obstruction rule is lenient today. In field hockey it takes years to develop the stickwork to be able to play. I also like it, and this sounds sexist, because it’s a women’s sport in the United States."
Q: When did Skowhegan turn the corner?
A: "Probably in the late ‘80’s. We were really good in the ‘70s, then soccer came in. I was really hurting for athletes. All the athletes went to soccer but then it balanced out."
Q: How has the program stayed so strong?
A: "I work very hard. I have three of our four coaches who have worked with me forever. I would say a shared coaching philosophy and consistency. We do the same thing K through 12 and I work with everybody K to 12."
Q: How big is the youth program?
A: "It’s growing, but it’s growing statewide, it’s not just us. Today we had a tournament for fourth, fifth and sixth graders and there were 12 teams here and every town brought 30 kids. One thing about field hockey in Maine, there’s a lot of opportunities and we can compete. It’s hard for Maine kids to compete in a lot of things but in field hockey we’re doing really well. A lot of kids feel entitled but Maine kids aren’t like that. They work really hard."
Q: How many of your players have played in college?
A: "We’ve had about 80 kids play in college. My first player was Kim Jewell Bodwell in ‘78 and she played at the University of Maine. Our first Division I player was Wendy Obert in 1989 and she played at Northeastern. Right now, we have nine (playing in college) and we have three seniors who are going D-1 next year."
Q: How has the game changed?
A: "It’s changed in every way. It’s faster, it’s more skilled. The amount of penalties are nothing what they used to be. You’ve got to be very, very skilled. It’s fun to watch. Today the game is a turf game. We play on turf as much as we can. It’s no longer a grass game. We practice in the gym a lot. Our field is as close to turf as you can get, but it’s still grass."
Q: How is this year’s team?
A: "It’s a great team. The last 14 years have been great teams. The kids I have now are much more versatile. Even five or 10 years ago, they were one-dimensional ... Most of my kids I can put in any position. Messalonskee is very good. They’re going to be our biggest competition in the state. It’s too bad we’re both in Eastern Maine. But in sports you can’t take anybody for granted."
Q: How long do you want to coach?
A: "I’ll coach as long as I think I can. I’ll retire from teaching in a while but I’ll keep coaching. I’m smart enough to know if I’m not as good as I was."
CLASS B SHOWDOWNS
Two Class B games, one in the East and one in the West, featured unbeaten teams to highlight the action in Week 6.
In the East, Leavitt took advantage of three Mt. Blue turnovers to knock off the Cougars, 22-17, on Friday night in Farmington. Hornets running back Jake Ouellette scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter with a 7-yard run. Jordan Hersom, who plays quarterback and defense, intercepted Mt. Blue quarterback Jordan Whitney to seal the victory.
Hersom completed 9 of 13 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown while Whitney went 12 of 21 for 246 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
In the West, Wells handed Mountain Valley its first loss in 18 games with a 28-12 win. Warriors quarterback Paul McDonough threw two touchdown passes and rushed for another of 35 yards. Running back Louis DiTomasso carried the ball 23 times for 149 yards and a score. He also recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass.
Mountain Valley lost running backs Kyle Duguay and Matt Hosie to injury in the first half and they did not return. The Falcons have won four of the last seven Class B state titles.
1. Cheverus (6-0) - The Stags rolled over Biddeford 56-0 for their 18th straight win. Spencer Cooke scored three touchdowns to lead the offense. Quarterback Cam Olson threw scoring passes of 60 yards to Louis DiStasio and 39 to Cooke. The Stags have outscored their opponents, 271-47.
2. Lawrence (6-0) - The Bulldogs struggled on offense but their defense was solid in their 14-0 win against Lewiston. They held the Blue Devils offense to 147 total yards and have outscored the opposition 183-63 this season.
3. South Portland (5-1) - The Red Riots have just one loss to Cheverus but have otherwise rolled. This week they beat Kennebunk 35-7 behind two TD passes and one rushing score from Michael Salvatore.
4. Bangor (5-1) - The Rams have played well since an early loss against Lawrence, They won their fifth game with a 33-7 pasting of Oxford Hills. They lead the Pine Tree Conference in points scored with 234.
5. Wells (6-0) - The Warriors knocked off Mountain Valley 28-12 for the first time in 18 games. Paul McDonough threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another. Wells has outscored opponents, 191-32.
6. Leavitt (6-0) - The Hornets handed Mt. Blue its first Class B loss, 22-17. Jordan Hersom passed for a touchdown and recorded a key interception.
7. Thornton (5-1) - The Trojans survived Portland’s upset bid with a 14-12 win fueled by 142 receiving yards from tight end Dakota Tarbox.
8. Brunswick (5-1) - The Dragons dominated the rushing stats if not the scoreboard in beating Messalonskee 20-14 and avenging a loss form last year. They out-rushed the Eagles 257-41 led by Keith Kitchins.
9. Deering (5-1) - The Rams bounced back from a disappointing loss in Week 5 to knock off a pretty solid Scarborough team, 14-7.
10. Mt. Blue (5-1) - After years in Class A, the Cougars coasted through their first five games in Class B before last week’s 22-17 loss to Leavitt. Three Mt. Blue turnovers hurt their cause.
Week 6 honor roll
Gardiner senior Alonzo Connor bounced back from an injury with a five touchdown performance against Oceanside.
Wells senior quarterback Paul McDonough passes for two touchdowns and rushed for another as the Warriors handed Mountain Valley its first loss.
Wells running back Louis DiTomasso rushed 23 times for 149 yards and a touchdown in a win against Mountain Valley. He also intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble.
Cheverus senior Spencer Cooke rushed for two touchdowns and caught a pass for another as the Stags rolled over Biddeford, 56-0.
Bonny Eagle quarterback Tyson Goodale rushed for 90 yards and three touchdowns to rally the Scots to a 29-22 win over Gorham. Goodale also completed 7 of 9 passes for 165 yards.
Bangor fullback Cody Chapman rushed for 163 yards and three touchdowns on just five carries as the rams downed Oxford Hills, 33-7.
LEONARDI, McCLINTOCK REIGN
Defending champions Abbey Leonardi of Kennebunk and Matt McClintock of Madison defended their titles at the Festival of Champions in Belfast on Oct. 1. Steady rain precluded any course records. Leonardi, who is ranked eighth in the country, completed the 5K course in 18:16.55 while McClintock won handily in 16:08.7.
Sixty high schools and more than 1,200 runners competed in the state’s largest race of the year. Falmouth won the boys title followed by J.H. Gillis of Nova Scotia and Cumberland, R.I. Mount Desert Island won the girls championship followed by Camden Hills and Falmouth.
Boys' soccer top 10
3. Mt. Ararat
4. Camden Hills
2. Cape Elizabeth
State team golf championships were decided Monday at Natanis Golf Course. Defending Class B champion Falmouth moved up to Class A this season and won that division with a four-man total of 312. The Yachtsmen have now won state championships in all three classes. York, runner-up to Falmouth last year, won in Class B with a total of 322. In Class C.
St. Dominic, runner-up the past two years, won with 327. The state individual schoolboy and schoolgirl championships will be played Saturday at Natanis.