Football is one of the oldest sports at Thornton Academy. Thornton sponsored its
first football team in 1893 when Coach Joseph T. Shaw guided the Maroon and Gold to a
York County championship. The original home of Thornton Academy football was the Saco
Driving Park, a horse racing facility located west of the campus. Visiting teams and many
spectators used the adjacent railroad as a means to travel to the games. Thornton
Academy football achieved great success there prior to the turn of the century with three
state championships beginning in 1896, with the 1898 squad coached by former Harvard
All-American football player John Moulton.

For many years, Thornton Academy football played its games at the Thornton
Academy Athletic Complex, a field located across from the Main Street campus at the site of
the current Rite Aid. Teams used a building located next to the Headmaster’s residence for
pre-game and halftime meetings with the coaching staff, and the Saco Police Department
assisted their crossing Main Street by holding up traffic in both directions. The biggest
rivals for Thornton Academy during that era were St. Louis High School in Biddeford and
Biddeford High School, whom the Maroon and Gold would traditionally play on Veterans

Today Dr. Paul S. Hill, Jr. Stadium is the home of Thornton Academy football. Dr.
Hill was a local Saco physician and president of the Thornton Academy Board of Trustees.
He also served as the school physician and was a fixture on the sideline at Thornton
Academy games. Dr. Hill made a generous donation to the school to build an on-campus
athletic facility, and the first game, an exhibition contest with Biddeford, was played
following the dedication of the stadium on September 6, 1980. Three remnants of the old
facility – the goalposts, the visitors bleachers, and the entrance archway/ticket booth (built
as a Depression-era WPA project) were relocated to Hill Stadium.

Thornton Academy football can boast some of the top football coaches in the history
of the sport in Maine. After debuting with a winless season in 1930, Robert Bowie coached
three undefeated state championship teams in the next four years; he later became the
Thornton Academy headmaster. George Martin led Thornton Academy to an overall
record of 56-5-5 and five state titles from 1935-1942. Known for coaching in his
trademark fedora, Martin left his position at Thornton to serve in the military with
distinction during World War II. Bob Cote moved from rival St. Louis High School to coach
Thornton from 1970-1984 and collected 81 victories at the academy; he was later inducted
into the school’s athletic hall of fame. Dick Agreste guided the fortunes of Thornton
football from 1985-1996 and won two state Class A state championships (1986, 1988).

Today Kevin Kezal is in his twenty-second season as head coach of the Golden Trojans. He
is the program’s winningest coach with 172 victories, and five of his teams (2012, 2014,
2015, 2018, 2021) have won Gold Balls, emblematic of state championship teams.
Thornton Academy football has also featured some outstanding individual
performers. Hilary Mahaney was an all-state fullback in the early 1900’s who later went on to star at Holy Cross University. Talented fullback Lloyd “Swede” Anderson and end Hugh
Brownlee were star players for state championship teams during George Martin’s
championship runs. Gordon Pendleton (1947), Robert Tims (1952), and Bradley Leach
(1955) earned All-American honors while donning the Maroon and Gold. Three Thornton
Academy players – Bob Giroux (1986), Art Leveris (1991), and Michael Laverriere (2016)
were awarded the James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy as being the state’s top high school senior
football player. Leveris, Laverriere, Andrew Libby (2012), and, most recently, Anthony
Bracamonte (2018) have been named Maine Gatorade Football Player of the Year.
Throughout the program’s history, 141 Thornton Academy football players have been
accorded all-state honors.

Thornton Academy conducts its football workouts at both an on-campus practice
facility and at Dr. Paul S. Hill, Jr. Stadium. The varsity team traditionally plays its games on
Saturdays at 1:30pm; in recent years, one Friday night home game has been added to the
yearly schedule. Varsity players who may be less experienced have an opportunity to
participate in junior varsity games on Mondays. Thornton Academy also has a freshman
team that competes against schools in southern Maine and northern New England.

Season: Fall
2023 Opening Date: August 14
Teams: Varsity, Junior Varsity, Freshman
Head Coach: Kevin Kezal
Freshman Coach: Jack Morrison
Assistant Coaches: Kirk Agreste, D’Andre Morgan, Brian Morrison, Gregory
Paradis, Joshua Pulsifer, Stephen Stinson, Nicholas Tabor

Football Teams

Athletic Resources for parents & players