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High school football

Coach Newcomb plays role in Bonny Eagle's state 'A' championship

Former Medomak Valley teacher/coach now part of Southern Maine school
By Mark Haskell | Nov 22, 2019
Courtesy of: Eric Curtis Jacob Newcomb stands in front of the Bonny Eagle Scot logo.

Buxton — While the high school football season drew to a close a few weeks ago for many, one native to the Midcoast was on the sidelines — and played a role in — as one team hoisted the coveted state Class A championship gold ball.

Former Waldoboro resident Jake Newcomb, who took a job teaching social studies at Bonny Eagle High School of Standish in the fall, quickly found himself on the sidelines of the football team this fall as the squad’s running backs coach.

And, he helped lead the second-seeded Scots (11-1) to a 34-21 victory in the state final over previously-unbeaten Thornton Academy of Saco (11-1) on Saturday, Nov. 23 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

"It was an incredible experience," said Newcomb of the state title game. "To be part of it was an honor. It felt like the whole state was on our side, and to win the way we did was pretty special."

He added that the game was close in the first half, "but our kids got after it late in the first [half] and throughout the second half."

"The kids were so tough," he said. "The team tackling was extraordinary. The tenacity of our defense obviously led to five turnovers from TA. That was really key in our victory. We seemed to win the field-position battle throughout the game and that was a huge difference as well."

The 2004 Rockland District High School graduate received his bachelor's degree in secondary education from the University of Maine in Farmington in 2008. He taught social studies at Medomak Valley High School 11 years and also was the school’s boys track coach for years.

In addition, Newcomb was an assistant coach on the Medomak Valley football team for two years as a wide receivers coach, and also coached at the middle school level for two years prior to that.

However, his life brought him to Westbrook at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

“I fell in love with a girl and she’s from the Southern Maine area,” he said of Sarah Hinman, who he now is engaged to. “And I kind of knew that was going to be the direction we were going. Last November I knew I was going to start looking for work, so I took six months last year trying to figure out where my next job was going to be.”

The 34-year-old Newcomb also was on the board of directors for the Midcoast Sports Hall of Fame for six years. He also was the voice of many Medomak Valley sporting events, most notably, the announcer for varsity basketball games.

Newcomb is one of five coaches on the varsity coaching staff for Bonny Eagle, in addition to two coaches for the freshmen football team — who joined the staff once the freshmen season concluded — for a total of seven.

“I’ve learned a lot I’ll put it that way,” he said about his first year coaching with the Scots. “I’m helping out as much as I can.”

Newcomb mentioned in his initial job interview that “I had always sort of observed what Bonny Eagle did in athletics,” while “the assistant principal had mentioned that it was cool to have an experienced football coach coming in.”

That information made its way to coach Kevin Cooper, who reached out to Newcomb.

“He eventually got back to me and I started coaching,” he said. “It’s an extraordinary program. The detail-oriented nature of it is incredible. There were weeks this year where I was doing 35 hours a week teaching and 30 hours a week coaching. You think about the commitment that it takes to create a state championship-level program. It was a shock to the system I’ll say that.”

Bonny Eagle and Thornton Academy, by and large, are two of the top football programs in the state. The Golden Trojans are the defending state Class A champs and have won four of the last seven state titles, while the Scots have won six state championships, most recently in 2016.

Bonny Eagle’s lone loss this season was a 21-14 defeat to Thornton Academy Oct. 5 at Saco.

There are only eight Class A football teams in football, thus, all eight qualify for the playoffs.

No. 2 Bonny Eagle advanced by defeating No. 7 Lewiston 54-14 and No. 3 Scarborough 21-14 in overtime, while No. 1 Thornton Academy defeated No. 8 Edward Little 63-0 and No. 4 Oxford Hills of South Paris 48-9.

Thornton Academy has the highest high school enrollment in the state with 1,476, while Bonny Eagle is fourth at 1,094.

By comparison, Bonny Eagle’s enrollment is larger than Medomak Valley (559) and Oceanside of Rockland (474) combined (1,033).

Newcomb likened football in Class A, particularly Bonny Eagle’s rivalry with Thornton Academy, to “a college-like environment.”

“Football down here is a lot like basketball in the Midcoast,” he said. “Excellence is just assumed. If you’re at Bonny Eagle or Thornton Academy of Scarborough, you have to be at your ‘A’ game. There are no days off as [New England Patriots coach] Bill Belichick says.”

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Helen Plourd | Nov 23, 2019 09:16

Good luck, Jake! Might see you sometime living in Standish.

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