Jacob Powers of Appleton proved throughout his high school career, whether pinning opponents to the mat in wrestling or shaking would-be tacklers on his way to the end zone in football, he was capable of just about anything.

And while he looks to move forward and showcase those athletic talents on a much bigger stage, Powers earned one more notable recognition before taking off for college.

Powers, a recent Camden Hills Regional High School graduate, experienced a terrific year on the athletic front and separated himself from a pack of five talented student-athletes to earn the distinction of 2010-2011 VillageSoup schoolboy athlete of the year.

This year’s schoolboy athlete-of-the-year nominees were Belfast’s Lani Eversage, Camden Hills’ Tyler McFarland, Keegan Pieri and Powers and Medomak Valley’s Alex Greenrose. They were deemed the best of the best in Waldo, Knox and part of Lincoln counties for the 2010-11 school year.

“It feels pretty good,” said Powers of being named the top Midcoast high school athlete. “I beat out some really good athletes. I mean Tyler McFarland and Keegan Pieri are great basketball players and both go to my school. I was actually surprised Tyler McFarland didn’t get it, because he’s one of the best athletes in the state. But I’m happy, and I’m honored to receive this award. It’s a pretty big deal.”

Powers proved to be an exceptionally talented two-sport athlete in 2010-11 for Camden Hills, playing football in the fall and wrestling in the winter. His lofty level of success in those two sports set him apart from the other candidates.

In football, Powers earned first-team all-conference honors at running back in Pine Tree Conference Class B and often carried the Windjammers’ offense single-handily, rushing for more than 1,600 yards and scoring an incredible 19 touchdowns.

However, while Powers was nearly unstoppable on the gridiron, on the wrestling mat in the winter he was, quite literally, unstoppable.

Powers went untested the entire season, posting an undefeated mark of 33-0, including 20 pins. He won the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, Eastern Class B and state Class B wrestling titles in the 160-pound weight class, and also was named first-team all-conference, in addition to being named most outstanding Class B wrestler at the conference championships.

After winning the state crown, Powers moved on to the 22nd annual National Senior Wrestling Championships, finishing with a 4-2 record and earning a top-10 finish.

Powers was highly touted by a pair of colleges, each vying for his services in either football or wrestling. In the end, Powers made the decision to move on to Division I Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, where he will be a member of the wrestling team, one of the most highly touted collegiate mat programs in the country.

While he is excited to be a Bald Eagle, the decision was a difficult one for Powers, who also had the opportunity to play football at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine.

“Obviously, the opportunity to wrestle at Division I [was too good to pass up],” he said. “After I wrestled at the nationals and came one point away from being All-American against those top-caliber guys, I knew that I could make it [at Lock Haven]. And I think with some good coaching and training, I can be successful at Division I.”

Wrestling has been in the Powers family for years, beginning with his father, Steven, and his two uncles, Brian and Eric, as well as his younger brother, Coleman.

“It’s been in my family for a while,” he said. “[My dad] introduced it to me and I’ve been doing it ever since. And I got pretty good at it.”

Powers was not the first state championship in his lineage, as Eric won a state title for then Camden-Rockport High School in 1988 and went on to wrestle at Division I Central Connecticut. Ironically, his uncle wrestled in the same 160-pound weight class that Powers claimed his two recent state crowns.

Powers finished third in the state in the 125-pound weight class his freshman year and followed that with a second-place finish his sophomore year, moving up to the 140-pound weight class. He admits he “probably could have done better” his freshman year, but “I broke a rib during my semifinal match” and lost to York’s Billy Gauthier.

Gauthier again defeated Powers in the finals the next season, which fueled Powers throughout his junior season. And he has not run out of gas yet.

Powers, also a strong track sprinter when he competed, looks back on the wrestling state title he won his junior year, along with the Windjammers winning the state Class B title at Medomak Valley High School, as his crowning achievements in the sport.

“It was pretty awesome,” he said. “It didn’t really hit me at first. I’d won [the Pine Tree Wrestling championship] two or three times in middle school, but it’s nothing like winning it in high school. It was just a whole other thing and on this whole other level. I knew I was going to win it all year after that loss [my sophomore year]. I was like, ‘No one’s going to beat me.’ “

Powers first began playing football the year Five Town Football came on the map, which could not have come at a better time for the Appleton native.

“We didn’t have a program then, and I remember Rockland had the peewee program and Belfast did and I remember a couple kids in my class went to Rockland and Belfast to play on the peewee teams,” he said. “I really wanted [to go] and play for Rockland or Belfast. But in my seventh-grade year I heard they were starting up Five Town [Football], and that’s really where it started for me.”

When Powers was a freshman, Camden Hills was still in the process of getting its football program off the ground, still competing in an exhibition schedule against Class B opponents. Then, Powers had limited looks on offense, “usually [being] like a backup slot receiver or something,” though he played safety and cornerback as a freshman.

Then as a sophomore, Powers was offered the starting tailback spot.

“I didn’t actually play [tailback] until sophomore year,” he said. “I wanted to ever since seventh grade. I always wanted to be a running back because I was always pretty fast and pretty quick, but I was usually like a backup slot receiver or something. Then [my] sophomore year we lost [Kevin Richards] and I asked coach [Linwood] Downs if I could do it and he said yes.”

It proved to be one of the best decisions coach Downs could have made, with Powers proving to be a focal point of the Windjammer offense over the next three seasons, either running past or over opponents in grinding out yard after yard.

With Powers shipped off for Pennsylvania, he is excited for the opportunities that lay ahead, while at the same time, he recalls fondly his high school experience at Camden Hills.

“I’m going to really miss the home football games with all our fans cheering and working with my teammates and having fun with them,” he said. “I can remember scoring touchdowns, getting in the end zone and all my teammates coming down and hugging me and saying, ‘Good job.’ And the coaching staff here, I’m really going to miss that too. They’ve all been with me since the seventh grade. And the same with wrestling. The people that are in this community have been with me since second grade, everyone. It’s a huge wrestling community here and it’ll be tough to leave them.”

Powers is undecided on a major of study, though he is leaning toward criminal justice and has aspirations of some day becoming a game warden. And if his work ethic in the classroom in any way equals is work on the mat or on the gridiron, the sky could be the limit.

“I’m really into hunting and fishing and all that kind of stuff,” he said of being a game warden. “It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do.”

And, as his high school athletic success showed, when Powers put his mind to something, he achieved it.

Powers’ personal information

Age: 18.

Grade: Camden Hills Regional High School senior (2011 graduate).

Parents: Stephen and Tracy Powers of Appleton.

Favorite personal moment in sports: Winning my first state wrestling title.

Favorite athlete: Tom Brady.

Favorite course in school: History.

Television show I never miss: “That 70s Show.”

What are your thoughts on facebook/Twitter/YouTube? I use all but Twitter.

What do you listen to on your iPod before competing? A mixture of music.

Favorite movie: “Anchorman.”

Food you pig out on: Pizza.

Favorite book: “Jurrasic Park” by Michael Crichton.

Hobbies: Wrestling, football, hunting.

Vehicle you wish you were driving: 2012 Chevy Camaro.

Person you most want to meet (dead or alive): Tom Brady.

Most influential people in your life: Family and friends.

Future plans: Attend college at Lock Haven.

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.