The Windham Middle School Football varsity team faced two opponents last weekend in Saco, the other team’s key player and themselves.
Anthony Bracomonte, Saco’s star, took the opening kickoff and returned it for a game-opening touchdown. “It was real telling that it was going to be a long afternoon,” said Windham head coach Tony Leslie. “I just saw way too many of our guys not going after the ball.”
Leslie continued, “I think we rested on our laurels and that’s a mentality that they will grow out of on their own.” He was referring to his Windham team after it dominated Massabesic last week. Leslie was quick to recognize Windham Athletic Director Rich Drummond and the Eagles Boosters for making the game in the high school stadium such a success. In Saco, the junior varsity game didn’t go much better as the Eagles also fell to the Trojans.
Unfortunately the fire that propelled the Eagles to the win last week wasn’t there against Saco. Referring to the play of his offensive line, Leslie said, “A lot of those guys are used to the same two, three four people making the same plays. There will be sweeping changes on both sides of the ball as we head into this weekend’s game.”
Saco wound up winning 42-14, leaving the middle school Eagles with an uphill climb as they head into the first round of the playoffs this weekend. Blake Houser scored the Eagles’ first touchdown on a kickoff return near the end of the first half. In the third quarter, Windham put together its best offensive drive that Treva Valliere finished with a rushing touchdown.
Leslie said that he would not let one player beat his team again. He added that he didn’t show the opposing coaches and players everything that Windham had up its sleeve because he had a feeling he might see Saco in the first round of the playoffs. His hunch was right. Seedings were announced late Monday night and Windham is traveling back to the Thornton Academy next Sunday at 1 p.m., hoping for a different outcome.
Leslie added that he understands the importance of at least making a strong showing—if not winning—in the first round of the playoffs to ensure the future of Windham Middle School football. “This is one of those games,” said Leslie. “We need this win for the program overall, not just to advance in the playoffs.”
Because of the changes he has planned and because he knows his team’s potential, Leslie likes his team’s chances next weekend.
“I personally feel for those kids who want to go out there and win,” he said. “I have to bring it to fruition for them.” he said. And that could lead to a big surprise for Saco next Sunday.
Windham’s Garrett Peeples tackles the Saco quarterback for a big loss. Photo by Eric Colby