February 5

FOOTBALL: Maine coach Cosgrove welcomes Lucas to fold

Cony star Lucas, who won the annual James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy for the state’s top senior last month, says he’s ready to prove his worth alongside four other quarterbacks on the roster.

By Bill Stewart bstewart@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Cony senior Ben Lucas signed his letter of intent Wednesday to play football at the University of Maine, becoming the fifth quarterback on the team’s roster.

That’s right, fifth.

Lucas, fellow recruit Drew Belcher, of Reading, Mass., and three holdovers form a suddenly deep position for a program that won its first outright Colonial Athletic Association title this fall.

So, how is this going to work?

“Well, you can never have enough of what you think you have enough of,” Maine coach Jack Cosgrove said. “You have to be prepared. This is something that’s never a concern for us. Quarterbacks are special, unique players. You are bringing in captains, leaders. The more guys like that in your program, the better.

“That said, we tell all first-year players that redshirting is the best step they can take. It gives them time to get more well-versed with the playbook. We also have the philosophy to play our best 11 football players. If you are good enough, you will play.”

Quarterbacks Kellen Croce, Daniel Hoffer and Daniel Collins each have at least two years of eligibility left for the Black Bears.

Collins saw some time in two games last season as the backup to Marcus Wasilewski.

Lucas, who led Cony to the Class B state title this season, said he embraces the challenge of trying to win a starting job at Maine, whether it be this fall or the next.

“I knew they had a lot of quarterbacks but that’s OK,” Lucas said. “It’s the nature of college football. I knew no matter where I was going there would be a lot of other quarterbacks. It’s college football. I am just going to go to Maine, work hard and prove I should be the one playing.”

Lucas and Belcher will go to Maine with similar attributes and resumes.

Belcher is listed at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds. He is the all-time winningest quarterback at Reading Memorial High School, going 29-6. He threw for 2,200 yards and 21 touchdowns this season, which culminated with the Middlesex League championship.

Like Lucas, Belcher also led his team to a state championship — the Rockets won the Massachusetts Division 2 title in 2012.

The two met last summer at a Boston College football camp.

“He seemed like a nice guy,” Lucas said. “He can really throw the ball. He’s a pretty good player.”

Cosgrove said he first checked in on Lucas last spring and interest slowly snowballed.

“We started to find out a lot about him,” Cosgrove said. “Then he came up to a seven-on-seven camp here and we got to be around him. We got to watch him do the things we needed to see him do. We saw him live against Hampden and he impressed then, too.”

Lucas completed 23 of 32 passes for 276 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-0 victory.

“A series of events followed from there,” Cosgrove said. “He had our attention and it kept moving along. You eventually get to a point with the actual recruiting. We learned everything we could about him and we made a decision to offer him a scholarship. Then he had a decision to make. He had other opportunities but this was the high-level.

It was an easy decision for Lucas.

“Maine is where I wanted to go,” he said. “I’m just really excited. I can’t wait to get up there.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640bstewart@centralmaine.comTwitter: @billstewartkj
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