Lewiston’s Jared Turcotte (21) gets past the Bangor defense during a 2005 game. Sun Journal file photo

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of stories about this year’s inductees into the Auburn-Lewiston Hall of Fame.

Jared Turcotte’s brother Spencer Emerson remembers going to watch his brother play at Lewiston High School every chance he got. His play left an impression.

Jared Turcotte portrait in Kennedy Park in September 2018. Sun Journal fine photo

“Some of the fondest memories are going to his games,” Emerson, who coaches the Poland Regional High School football team, said. “I was the water boy when I was in seventh grade. They were bigger than NFL players. Him and his peers were rock stars, I was just doing the same things he was doing — same numbers, same cleats, I did everything the same way.”

Anyone who watched Turcotte play at Lewiston, then at the University of Maine at Orono, remembers it.

The voters of the Auburn-Lewiston Hall of Fame definitely remember his play on the gridiron and have chosen Turcotte to be part of the Hall’s 2019 class of inductees at a ceremony and banquet Sunday at the Ramada Hotel conference center.

Turcotte ran all over the state of Maine, and racked up a lot of yards.

At Lewiston High School, Turcotte gained 4,562 yards and also amassed 554 tackles. After his senior season he won the Fitzpatrick Award and the Maine Gatorade Player of the Year as the best player in the state. And it was obvious. In his final two seasons at Lewiston, Turcotte was responsible for every touchdown his team scored.

Bill County, Turcotte’s coach at Lewiston, remembers his star player as humble and kind, but he also had an edge on the football field.

“We were playing the Lobster Bowl and he got tackled at the sideline and the kid that got him said something about the Fitzpatrick trophy, and it was rude,” County said. “Jared was staring at me and I started saying to the offensive coordinator, ‘Give him the ball,’ and Jared went off for 200 yards and got the MVP award.”

Turcotte’s talents took him to the University of Maine at Orono, where the 6-foot-2, 230-pound running back continued to shine. He was selected for the first team of the All-Colonial Conference team as well as second-team All-America by Sports Net National.

Emerson tried to find a way to watch his brother play whenever he could. When Emerson was a captain on the Edward Little football team, Turcotte was a captain at Maine.

“I would go up to Orono to watch him play on Saturdays,” Emerson said. “We went on a road trip to Syracuse to watch him play with my aunt, grandfather, couple of cousins, watching him play. It made for kind of unique, fun memories.”

These days, Turcotte has no involvement in football. He says he’s under 210 pounds for the first time since eighth grade. And he’s at peace with that.

Once Turcotte graduated in 2011, he sold medical devices until a few months ago when he quit that job. In December, he and another brother, Nathan, started a medical marijuana company called The Healing Business. For him, it’s the perfect place.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Turcotte said. “It’s been the one thing that I don’t mind putting all the effort into and time and energy into it since football.”

Selling medical devices was paying the bills, but his passions were pushed to the back burners. Now, Turcotte says he’s eager to wake up and get to work.

“When the money is the only motivating factor, it wears off quickly,” Turcotte said. “Business is going well and everyone that works in that industry is waiting to see what happens with the recreational market and nationally. It’s cool to be involved as deep as we are and to see what the market will look like in the next year and even next month. It makes spending the 12-18 hours a day you’re doing it — it doesn’t even seem like much.”

County still keeps in touch with Turcotte and is happy with the path his former player is on.

“I don’t see him very often, he has four kids, and I’m trying to coach him up about that,” County said. “But we text often, and every once in awhile we get to see each other. Everything Jared has done its been successful — family, work-wise he’s done things that have been a little different that turn out to be profitable and a good thing for him.”

After injuries slowed down his football career at Maine, Turcotte removed himself from the game.

Turcotte is now the father of four kids, his wife is pregnant with their fifth child, who is due in June.

“Wouldn’t have it any other way,” Turcotte said. “Crazy, but it keeps me on my toes.”

A couple of his kids are getting into sports, but he’s not sure about his kids playing football.

“My kids are still pretty young,” Turcotte said. “My oldest plays basketball, second oldest plays basketball and dances. My kids are just starting to get into extracurriculars. I don’t know how I feel about my kids playing football. We didn’t have that information that we do now. With full contact and everything, it makes me wonder. I understand why my mother was hesitant.”

Turcotte is a fan of flag football because it helps kids fall in love with the game while also keeping their bodies safer.

He doesn’t have much connection to football right now. He loves to watch it on television, but Turcotte has started to fall in love with other things.

“I’m into sports in general,” Turcotte said. “What sport provides for people is it’s a microcosm for life in general, and I think there are life lessons taught through sports. Me, personally, I like watching football and watching hockey. Growing up in Lewiston you can’t escape it. The reason I like watching hockey, it doesn’t matter if there’s a blowout, if there’s a good goal or if someone displayed a crazy maneuver to get the puck in the back of the net, it’ll get you out of your seat.”

Turcotte’s involvement in football has blazed a path for Emerson, who still talks to his brother about football often.

Turcotte doesn’t have any immediate plans to coach because he’s pretty caught up in his new company.

“I am not going to say I’m never coaching or it hasn’t crossed my mind, but it’s not something I am thinking about right now,” Turcotte said.

For now, the Lewiston legend is going to watch his family grow up.