Foxcroft Academy’s dominant football team is pursuing a rare feat

By Sam Canfield, Bangor Daily News Staff

The Foxcroft Academy Ponies have dominated northern Maine football in recent years, going a combined 29-1 since the start of 2021 and winning two consecutive Class D championships.

But Foxcroft is playing at a new level this year, allowing a mere 26 total points through eight games while scoring 50.8 points per game. The Ponies even shut out reigning Class C regional finalists Medomak Valley and Hermon, 35-0 and 48-0, respectively, en route to an undefeated record and the No. 7 overall ranking in the state — all as a school with only 450 students.

After their first-round bye, the Ponies and their star-studded class of 2024 will begin a new playoff run, and are on track to be back-to-back-to-back state champs. They would be only the fourth program in Maine history — in addition to Marshwood, Oak Hill, and Morse — to win three straight state titles, across all six classes.

Observer file photo/Stuart Hedstrom
FIVE TOUCHDOWNS BETWEEN THEM – Senior Gage Beaudry returns a third quarter punt next to classmate Kemsley Marsters during a 68-0 win vs. Madison in September. Beaudry would rush for three touchdowns and Marsters scored on the ground and on a punt return.

“This group of kids has been extremely self-motivated and competitive with one another,” 15-year head coach and Foxcroft Academy alumnus Dan White said. “They know how to win, it’s all they know.”

The Ponies have a rich history of winning, with nine state championships dating back to 1963. But even Foxcroft had never won two straight until last year, when the team beat Lisbon 41-22 at Cameron Stadium in Bangor. 

“We’ve already made school history,” White said. “They’ll already be looked back upon as special. Three would just add to the story of this group.”

Led by 2022 all-conference first-teamers Wyatt Rayfield, Kemsley Marsters, Jadon Richard, and Hunter McSorley, the Ponies’ senior class has brought out the best in their team members.

The Monday after school gets out in June, the Ponies already start their 6 a.m. lifting sessions.

“We make these sacrifices for our friendships – our family – not just the rings,” Marsters said. “We back each other up on and off the field, and want to go out with a big boom.”

Marsters’ success as the team’s star kicker, punter, and utility man is a perfect example of how inspirational Foxcroft’s football culture is. The standout club soccer player had never even played football before his sophomore year, and was encouraged to try kicking by a friend on the team.

“I was at a football game and noticed how tight the community was. I liked how no one player could outshine the rest — all 11 players have to contribute on every play,” Marsters said. “I decided to join, and everybody was so welcoming.”

At first, Marsters just played special teams, and played on the school’s football and soccer teams simultaneously. The next season he became a full-time football player, and emerged as a key part of Foxcroft’s dynamic offense as both a receiver and ball carrier, with six touchdowns on the season.

“It all started in the state game my sophomore year, when I dropped a snap during a punt,” Marsters explained. “I just knew to run, and ended up going for 30 yards and making four people miss. We ended up scoring that drive, which helped us win the game.”

All eyes will be on the Ponies to win their third straight state championship this playoff run. But White, Martsers and company are confident they can handle the expectations — all they have to do is continue following their recipe for success.

“We never underestimate a team,” Marsters said. “We give them respect and attention, which is how we stay locked in. We’re always ready.”

Coach White echoed Martsers’ sentiments, saying that this team brings a unique level of competitiveness and desire to practice, which shows in their play at the end of the week.

“Our two best games this season were against our toughest opponents in Hermon and Medomak,” White said. “What I’m most proud of is their ability to increase their level of play when they need to. Now that the playoffs are here, we have to play great or we stop playing.”

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