Lewiston’s Sam Payne evades Bangor’s Bryce Hennie during a boys lacrosse game at Lewiston High School on Thursday, April 18. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

On an offense of extraordinary goal scorers, Lewiston’s Sam Payne rose above the rest.

By scoring 52 goals and assisting on another 23, Payne has earned the Sun Journal All-Region Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year honor. 

The Blue Devils played a team-oriented style of offense, and Payne, a junior, said no one on the team cared who scored, as long as Lewiston had the most goals at the end of 60 minutes. 

“We all played off of each other very well,” Payne said. “Whenever someone had a strength, someone had another strength. We could really play to each other’s strengths and take advantage of other teams. We were a smart team, very heads-up, and we were always looking to get the team on the board — it didn’t matter who.”

The team’s chemistry and familiarity were huge reasons for its success. For instance, Payne, junior Logan Michaud (42 goals, 23 assists) and senior Tanner Cortes (25 goals, 15 assists) have been teammates for several years.

“We had all played together for a really long time, me and Logan since fifth grade, maybe,” Payne said. “Tanner along the way, too. Tanner is a great leader, very vocal and gets everyone ready for the game. The seniors laid a great foundation for everybody going forward, and it was awesome. For me and Logan, I always knew where he was going to be on the field and he knew where I would be.”

That efficiency carried Lewiston into the playoffs. The Blue Devils reached the Class A North semifinal, which it lost to Portland 10-9. The Blue Devils finished with a 10-4 record.

“I think it was such a fun season,” Payne said. “From past years I had such great leaders helping me along the way, and they set such a good foundation for me to be great. I think that this season, with all the players, was really enjoyable and there was no one that was trying to turn the team in a different direction and we were all going the same direction.”

Payne’s junior season was filled with great performances. In Lewiston’s final regular season game against Edward Little, Payne scored five goals to lead the Blue Devils to a 9-0 win. He also scored five times in the team’s second win of the season, a 13-0 drubbing of Bangor. 

Payne credits coach Ben Fournier for orchestrating of Lewiston’s high-flying offense. 

“He’s just such a good coach,” Payne said. “He facilitates all the guys and makes sure we are in the right spots, but he also lets us have fun. He’s not such a strict coach where you can’t do anything outside of the plays he draws up, but he definitely has a blueprint for how we can get to the goal.”

As a senior next year, Payne knows he will have to step into more a leadership role with captains Hunter Steele and Cortes graduating. 

“I kind of took a lead by example role (this year),” Payne said. “I completely embrace (the role) and I am ready for it. I think it will be a lot of fun. Lewiston lacrosse is really fun to play. I’m excited for it.”

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