BRUNSWICK — Levi Levesque spent his entire life playing soccer until, after years of lobbying, his friends on the football team finally convinced him to switch sports for his senior year.

Lisbon High School’s Levi Levesque takes a break during practice at Bowdoin College earlier this week. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

A varsity goalkeeper for Lisbon’s soccer team last year, Levesque loved the idea of being a part of the Lisbon football tradition. He also had visions of catching passes and scoring touchdowns because one of his friends’ selling points to him was he would be perfect to play tight end, a position where the Greyhounds desperately needed help.

Learning the dual receiving/blocking duties was a daunting task for someone who had never played organized football in his life, so Levesque found other ways to contribute.

On Saturday, when Lisbon, which includes players from Saint Dominic Academy, takes on Bucksport in the Class D state championship game (2:30 p.m., Fitzpatrick Stadium), he will contribute both on offense and special teams as the starting right tackle and kicker.

“I didn’t picture it going this way at all,” Levesque said. “I was originally recruited to play tight end, so I was kind of hoping for some passes here and there. But Coach (Chris Kates) does a really good job of adjusting to our players’ skill sets and putting them in positions to succeed.”

Given Levesque’s soccer background, it made sense that Kates initially figured one way for Levesque to succeed would be to kick extra points and field goals. But Levesque had trouble adjusting to kicking an oblong ball rather than a round one.

“He was terrible early in the season, so it never even crossed my mind to use him (in a game),” Kates said.”I don’t think he had any real form.”

“It was too much line drives, like a soccer kick,” Levesque said.

But Levesque continued to work on his kicking with assistant coach Shawn Robishaw, who saw enough improvement by midseason to convince Kates to give him another shot at kicking.

Lisbon’s Levi Levesque attempts an extra point kick against Oak Hill during a Class D South semifinal game last week in Lisbon. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“It was just a night and day difference,” Kates said. “Now he’s consistent and he’s kicking through for distance. He’s good from about 40 now.”

“I realized I had to adjust, in terms of the timing with the snap and everything. Something just clicked,” Levesque said. “(The soccer background) might have hurt a little bit, because a soccer ball is round. You can really just hit it anywhere you want. I think I was either hitting the tee or the top of the ball.”

Kates acknowledged placekicking hasn’t been a big priority at Lisbon, going back to his predecessor as head coach, Dick Mynahan.

“But,” Kates said, “I think this year we recognized early in the season we need to get those kind of guaranteed extra points, and it’s been a big addition for us.”

If anyone can convince a coach of the value of the kicking game its Levesque, who made 16 of 19 extra points, including one streak of 10 in a row, during the regular season and has missed only one PAT in the playoffs.

In last Friday’s 25-15 Class C South final win over Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale, Levesque nailed his first field goal try in a game, a clutch 30-yarder that made it a two-score game late in the fourth quarter.

“Obviously the wind was at my back and that was a great advantage,” Levesque said. “The kick was a little low because I had to adjust with the high snap, but the wind put plenty behind it.”

Having complete faith in long snapper Kevin Gallic and holder Seth Leeman helps Levesque focus on his mechanics, which get easier to duplicate with repetition.

Along with his consistency as a kicker, Levesque also helped spark the Greyhounds’ midseason turnaround by holding down the right tackle spot. While he proved his kicking ability during practice, the hard work he put in before the season helped convince his coach that he was ready to play on the line.

“It took him a few weeks to understand the intensity level that he needed to bring in order to be on the field,” Kates said. “He came in wanting to be a tight end, but we just haven’t been using them much this year. He wanted to get on the field and he put the work in.

“He’s another kid that was in the weight room all offseason with us and there all summer. He just showed a willingness to put the team in and traded his number 87 (jersey) in for a lineman number (66), and he’s done a great job ever since.”

Lisbon’s Levi Levesque takes a break during Wednesday’s practice at Bowdoin College. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Levesque admitted he initially had reservations about playing tackle but, with the help of his coaches and teammates, has become more comfortable in the role each week.

“At first I was a little worried, but as you get a feel, you kind of have some common sense that comes into play, and our coaches put us in great spots to succeed,” Levesque said. “They drill constant reminders in your head, where the priorities are, where you need to be on the line. And I probably ask (right guard) Colin (Houle) once every couple of plays just to make sure we’re on the same page.”

Joining the football team has helped Levesque learn not to judge the book by its cover. When he was watching Lisbon football from the bleachers, he thought the Greyhounds made winning look easy. But taking part in the the team’s slow start and subsequent turnaround taught him there’s a lot more to it.

“As someone who’s been a fan, I knew (the way the Greyhounds played in September) wasn’t Lisbon football,” Levesque said. “It was really great to see the process of how we really came together. Instead of expecting to be great, we had to put the work in to get to where we are now. You see behind the scenes and it’s a lot more than showing up on Friday or Saturday to play a game.”


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