PORTLAND — No matter if you consider the Fitzpatrick Trophy a senior award or a big-picture, career achievement.

No difference if you weigh it strictly as a high school football honor or give academics, citizenship and teamwork their just desserts.

Statistics or intangibles. Big, urban high school or rural, community meeting place.

Any biases must be set aside. From August 2008 to November 2011, there were many football players who earned a place in the same conversation as Jordan Hersom. But it’s impossible to say that any were better.

Hersom, third-generation gridiron great and the pride of Leavitt Area High School, won the 41st annual Fitzy on Sunday.

The Hornets’ quarterback, safety and return specialist was the first-ever finalist in the proud history of the football program that represents Turner, Leeds and Greene.

“It’s a community award, and all those other guys deserve it as much as I do,” Hersom said. “My teammates pushed me just as hard as I pushed them. This is something I’ll always cherish and a memory that I’ll never forget.”

Hersom was a finalist along with Louis DiTomasso of Wells and Spencer Cooke of Cheverus.

Per tradition, the three seniors sat together at the Holiday Inn By the Bay dais while a past winner announced the newest member of the club.

Bob Giroux, who won the 1986 Fitzy for Thornton Academy, read Hersom’s name.

Hersom was the only finalist whose team did not win a 2011 state title. Cooke’s Stags ruled Class A for the second straight year, while DiTomasso’s Warriors denied Hersom’s Hornets, 21-13, in the Class B final.

The latter detail fueled the funniest moment of Hersom’s accceptance speech, one that demonstrated the power of both the football and Fitzy fraternities.

“I met two new friends today,” Hersom said. “After the state game, I really didn’t like Louis that much. But he’s a good guy and we’ll be friends for life.”

Subtract the narrow defeat at the neighboring namesake stadium down the street, and Hersom’s Fitzy resume was unassailable.

Those career numbers sank in a little deeper as Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway rattled them off in his presentation of the eventual winner.

Hersom accounted for more than 6,500 all-purpose yards and over 200 tackles. He scored 72 touchdowns and intercepted eight passes.

Pine Tree Conference coaches selected Hersom to the league’s all-star team three times as a defensive back, twice as a quarterback, twice as a special teams player and once as a wide receiver.

Most importantly, Leavitt was 42-4 during Hersom’s four years as starter. The Hornets won all four PTC Class B regular-season titles in that span to go with three Eastern Maine crowns and the 2009 Class B state championship.

Hersom was a central figure in it all while bearing the unique blessing and burden of a legendary surname.

His grandfather, Lawrence “Doc” Hersom, guided Edward Little to three state titles. His father Jim and uncle John starred on two of those teams and became championship coaches in their own right.

And John’s son Jack won the Fitzy as Lawrence High School’s quarterback following the 2007 season.

“It says a lot about the kind of player he is that he could handle all that responsibility and go out and play the way he has for four years,” Hathaway said.

Hersom rushed for six touchdowns and threw six more during Leavitt’s four-game playoff run, alone.

None of his heroics were heftier than a touchdown toss to Brian Bedard and two-point shovel pass to Jake Ouellette in the second overtime, lifting Leavitt to a 22-21 victory over Mt. Blue in the regional final Nov. 11.

“The game of football has helped shape me into the person I am today,” Hersom said. “I’ve learned that athletic ability is a gift, and someday I’ll be able to help other people achieve their goals.”

Before presumably joining the family businesses of teaching and coaching, Hersom  plans to play college football. Maine and Holy Cross are the leading candidates for his services.

DiTomasso, a fullback and middle linebacker, rushed for more than 1,450 yards and 19 touchdowns and made 115 tackles in leading Wells to its first state title since 1997.

“I started playing football when I was 10 years old, and it was the best decision of my life,” DiTomasso said. “I’ve made some of my best friends and had some of my best memories playing football.”

A broken leg sidelined Cooke for most of Cheverus’ playoff run, but not before he exceeded 1,100 yards and notched 19 TDs

“It was hard to stand and watch, but I wouldn’t trade it now,” Cooke said. “I had to hand over the torch to those guys the way it was handed to me sophomore year.”

Nine other semifinalists were recognized, including Izaiha Tracy of Mt. Blue.

Hersom is only the third non-Class A winner of the Fitzy, joining Nick Tymoczko of Bucksport (2004) and the late Lee St. Hilaire of Winthrop (2001). The voting was opened up to Class B and C players for the first time in 1999.

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