SOUTH BERWICK, Maine (BVM) — The road to the Class B football state championship has gone through one school for the better part of the last decade: Marshwood. The Hawks have won five of the last six state titles.
Marshwood is the first school in Class B football to ever win three state championships in a row, a feat they came up short of in 2016, but were able to cap off after the 2019 season. Head coach Alex Rotsko believes that the team’s sustained success has been built upon throughout their program.
“I think when you’re successful, younger kids are going to see that,” Rotsko said. “The kids coming up through the elementary and middle schools and so forth, when they see the kind of success you have it becomes a goal for them to be part of that. I think if you do it long enough, you get that tradition built up so that kids want to be part of the program.”
In 2019, the Hawks relied heavily on senior running back Justin Bryant who ran for over 200 yards and five touchdowns in the team’s championship victory. Bryant, along with senior quarterback Connor Caverly, are part of the senior class that coach Rotsko will need to replace for the upcoming season.
Marshwood’s ability to effectively bring in each new class stands out when looking at their run. The Hawks typically field a roster filled with upperclassmen. When it’s time for the underclassmen to replace them in the following season, they better be ready to learn fast.
“In our program, our younger kids, our freshman and our sophomores, they’re not out there holding bags for the entire time, they’re out there learning just like everyone else,” Rotsko said.
“Fortunately, this year is a good example. We won a few games by big scores and we had a lot of our kids, who are first team kids, who were done by halftime and it gets the younger kids into the game. It gets them in some game situations at the varsity level, so when they become the guys starting for you or moving up on your depth chart they are ready to play. They are not going to go out there and be nervous.”
With an opportunity to build onto their legacy, Rotsko has his eyes set on continuing their title run. In 2019, Marshwood had two sophomores play important roles.
“I think we’re going to remain competitive for sure, we had two sophomores start for us,” Rotsko added. “Usually, that jump from sophomore to the junior year is probably the biggest, in terms of kids improving and making that next step up. I would expect those two guys to be outstanding going into their junior year.”
Despite roster turnover, the Hawks’ coach believes they are in good shape for the upcoming season.
“We have another four or five guys, who either started or played quite a bit at the varsity level, so we have a good number of kids coming back,” Rotsko said. “We had a successful JV program this year, so I think we’ll be competitive again next year.”
With a chance at four straight state titles, Marshwood will be ready to get everyone’s best shot in 2020.