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    Sunday, May 28, 2023

    The Day’s All-Area Football Player of the Year: Ledyard’s James Green

    Ledyard High School senior James Green rushed for 1,802 yards and 26 touchdowns this season, ranked third in Connecticut with 196 points, to lift the Colonels (8-3) to an Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II title and a berth in the Class SS state playoffs. Green was named The Day’s 2022 All-Area Football Player of the Year. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Ledyard senior running back James Green, “The Playmaker,” carved out a series of memorable moments for himself, lifting the Colonels to the state playoffs for the first time since 2015. He rushed for 163.8 yards per game, scored 27 touchdowns and added 34 two-point conversions. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Inasmuch as seasons are made of a series of games, they’re really made by the moments and relationships that evolve over the days and months, making for the best stories at 25-year reunions.

    There was no better moment in state high school football this year than in the wake of Ledyard’s upset of Windham, a joyous enclave of players and coaches jumping all over each other. And then one voice heard above all the others.

    “I told you, Mom! I told you!” James Green kept yelling.

    A most odd sentiment right after a football game. Green’s ensuing quote:

    “After Windham beat (eventual Class MM finalist) Killingly (a few weeks earlier) my mom said we’d never beat Windham. My own mother,” Green said through a 50,000-watt grin. “But we believed in each other.”

    And they sure believed in Green, The Day’s 2022 All-Area Football Player of the Year and the young man GameDay’s Casey O’Neill calls “The Playmaker.” Green ran for 1,802 yards (163.8 per game), scored 26 rushing touchdowns, added a 27th on an interception return and had 34 two-point conversions, finishing No. 3 in the state with 196 points.

    All that and the quote of the year about his mother.

    “I saw what Windham did to Killingly and that James has so much respect for both of those teams,” Green’s mother, Michelle, said. “Killingly has always been a team that James had been watching. They had a guy last year James keeps in touch with (leading rusher Jack Sharpe).

    “So when Windham beats them and James is talking about Killingly, I said ‘you’re never gonna beat Windham.’ James says, ‘Mom, you doubt our team.’ I said, ‘No, I don't doubt your team. But look what they just did to Killingly. Just go out there and give your best.’”

    Green’s best earned him All-Eastern Connecticut Conference and all-state accolades.

    “I didn't think I was going to get nearly as many yards or touchdowns as I did,” Green said. “At first I was thinking somewhere in the 1,000s or low 1,000s. Maybe, but I never thought I’d get close to 2,000.”

    Green figured to have a significant role in the offense, based on a promising junior season. But when Justin and Ryan Outlow, two primary ball carriers from 2021 transferred to St. Bernard, “The Playmaker” became someone who had better make plays for Ledyard to win.

    Now 1,802 yards later, the Colonels won Division II of the ECC and made the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

    “(The transfers) were a shock to me,” Green said. “But I knew that everyone coming back had bought in. So I knew we could rally together because we've been doing it ever since we were kids.”

    Green’s effectiveness waned a bit late in the season after opponents decided to make other players beat them. Enter quarterback Jackson Poulton and all-purpose back Jacob Lenz, who darn near led the Colonels to a quarterfinal-round playoff win at Cromwell/Portland.

    “Teams started playing the fullback better on the triple option. But then it just opened up spaces for Jackson and Jacob,” Green said.

    Green said his college choices are either Springfield (where Ledyard coach Mike Serricchio attended) or UMass Dartmouth. He also plays basketball and competes in track and field.

    Basketball and track have a long way to go for Green to have a better experience than football of 2022, though.

    “We have a young coaching staff so they're easy to relate to,” Green said. “They're very humble. So if they're wrong, they'll admit they're wrong. And when we're wrong, we'll admit we're wrong. It's like a family.”

    Note: While Killingly and Windham have had games streamed on GameDay, players from those schools are not in The Day’s coverage area and are not eligible for the team.

    m.dimauro@theday.com

    The Day’s 2022 All-Area Football Team

    Player of the Year - James Green (Ledyard)

    Offense

    Quarterback - Nate Hynes (Waterford)

    Running back - Seth Cunningham (Thames River), Ryan Outlow (Thames River), Aidan Patterson (East Lyme)

    Wide receiver - Jacob Lenz (Ledyard)

    Lineman - Dylan Beebe (Fitch), Caleb Beetle (NFA), Sam Bourez (Valley/Old Lyme), Gianni Drab (Fitch), Matt Tebbets (Ledyard)

    Kicker - Yank Faburay (Waterford)

    Utility - Jackson Poulton (Ledyard)

    Defense

    Lineman - Wyatt Crawford (Ledyard), Joe Montazella (Valley/Old Lyme), Sagar Sharma (Waterford)

    Linebacker - Nick Cox (Valley/Old Lyme), Marvelt Fleurijeune (New London), Jackson Hart (East Lyme), Jacob Rand (Valley/Old Lyme)

    Defensive back - Aidan Fritz (Bacon Academy), Di'Angelo Jean-Pierre (Valley/Old Lyme), Melakai Maddox (Fitch), Jack Scahill (Stonington)

    Punter - Ethan Mahoney (Montville)

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