Members of the Nokomis football team celebrate after defeating Hermon 13-6 for the Class C North championship at the Weatherbee Complex in Hampden on Nov. 12, 2018. Credit: Ernie Clark

Jake Rogers, who turned a winless Nokomis of Newport football program into a state champion in only two seasons, has been named recipient of the John Wolfgram Coach of the Year Award by the Howard Vandersea Maine Chapter of the National Football Foundation.

Rogers and two other major award recipients, Travis Mills, U.S. Army staff sergeant (ret.), and C. Warren Forbes, will be honored at the chapter’s 32nd annual banquet at 6 p.m. May 22 at Bowdoin College in Brunswick.

Mills will receive the chapter’s Distinguished American Award, and Forbes will receive the Football Officials Recognition Award.

Rogers took over as head football coach at Nokomis in 2017 after serving as a longtime assistant at Lawrence High School in Fairfield.

When Rogers arrived, Nokomis was coming off back-to-back winless seasons in Class B North, but the Warriors had much more success after being reclassified to Class C North.

Nokomis went 6-2 during the 2017 regular season before falling to eventual state champion Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield 23-14 in the Class C North quarterfinals.

The Warriors came back last fall to play a schedule that included seven of eight opponents that qualified for postseason play a year earlier.

Nokomis finished fourth in the final Class C North Heal Points with a 4-4 record, but two wins in its past three games and a 24-21 overtime loss at MCI in its regular-season finale suggested Rogers and the Warriors were peaking for postseason play.

That turned out to be true, especially on defense, as Nokomis allowed just four touchdowns during its four playoff victories.

Nokomis defeated No. 5 Medomak Valley of Waldoboro 38-6 in the regional quarterfinals, then avenged two of its regular-season losses by ousting top-ranked MCI 13-0 in the semifinals and beating No. 2 Hermon 13-6 in the regional championship game.

The Warriors capped off their historic season by edging Fryeburg Academy 13-12 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland to capture the school’s first state championship in the sport since debuting at the varsity level in 2007.

Also being honored during the May 22 banquet will be 20 recipients of the Vandersea Maine Chapter of the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards. Each will receive a $500 grant from the Coach Mac-Huard Fund to put toward their education.

This year’s honorees are Gordon Beckwith (Kents Hill), Anthony B. Bracamonte (Thornton Academy), Tyler W. Bridge (Wells), Marcus S. Christopher (Skowhegan), Dante G. DeLorenzo (Kennebunk), Adam J. Doyon (Marshwood), Carter Edgerton (Biddeford), John R. Evans (Waterville), Logan Fortin (Lawrence), Alexander J. Gorham (Dirigo), Stephan A. Gray (Leavitt), Samuel Hebert (Camden Hills), Chase G. Lamontagne (Kennebunk), Jake C. Lindsay (Marshwood), Ethan J. Logan (Thornton Academy), Aiden G. McGlone (Bonny Eagle), Nicholas Mills (Cony), Zachary J. Reed (Scarborough), Ethan T. Richard (Oak Hill) and Matthew S. Richman (Colby College).

Tickets for the banquet are $30, and the public is invited to attend. For ticket information, contact Howard Vandersea at 207-729-4210.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...