2018-11-30 / Community

SPHS standout helping Johns Hopkins make playoff run

By Pat McDonald
Sports Editor


Former South Portland High School standout Finn Zechman is a key member of the Johns Hopkins University football team, which will compete in the NCAA Division III quarterfinals on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Johns Hopkins University) Former South Portland High School standout Finn Zechman is a key member of the Johns Hopkins University football team, which will compete in the NCAA Division III quarterfinals on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Johns Hopkins University) SOUTH PORTLAND — The Johns Hopkins University football team will take the field this weekend for an NCAA Division III quarterfinal showdown with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and there will be a former South Portland standout looking to help the Blue Jays continue their historic 2018 season.

“It’s a ton of fun. I’ve been super excited, especially since this is the farthest Hopkins has ever gone. It’s always fun to be able to continue playing,” said South Portland graduate Finn Zechman.

Zechman, a key member of the Johns Hopkins’ special teams unit and secondary, had two tackles in the Blue Jays’ 58-27 win over Frostburg last weekend.

Long before he was helping Johns Hopkins win postseason games, he was leading the way for the Red Riots and he credits his South Portland coaches with helping him get to this point.

“What they were best at was they gave me the confidence that I needed (to know) that I could play at this level,” said Zechman, who was coached by Steve Stinson. “It was always great. They were always pushing me and always believing in me. I attribute a lot of that to them just putting that confidence in me.”

The former Red Riot knew Johns Hopkins was the right place for him pretty early in life – and a big reason for that was a family connection with the school.

“Johns Hopkins to me was always my dream school because my mom grew up in the Baltimore area. Her grandparents lived a few blocks away from the campus, so it was the first school I was sort of introduced to,” Zechman said.

Now he has the chance to help his “dream school” reach the NCAA semifinals for the first time in school history – and the Blue Jays will have the homefield advantage for the quarterfinal showdown.

“Hopefully there’s a pretty good crowd. It’s tough to tell, especially as it gets colder you tend to see less people at the games, but now that we’re in the quarterfinals that’s pretty exciting and hopefully we get a lot of people there,” said Zechman, who is a sophomore.

One problem with playing for one of the top universities in the country is the fact that the students might have a hard time taking a break from studying to attend the game.

“It’s also heading into finals season and the last week of midterms, so I know being a school like this, a lot of people will be in the library,” said Zechman, who is studying economics.

The South Portland native does know he will see some familiar faces in the crowd this weekend – family has attended games all season long.

“My dad comes down to pretty much every game and my mom makes it to as many games as she can. My brothers have come to a few, and since a lot of my extended family lives in this area, I usually have a lot of grandparents, cousins, friends from college at the game,” Zechman said.

Having that kind of support is special for any student-athlete, especially when you’re more than eight hours away from home.

“It’s awesome. It’s really nice to hear people yelling your name when you’re out there,” Zechman said. “It’s always nice after the game to be able to say hi to people you don’t always get to see a ton – and it’s obviously nice to see your parents every weekend when you’re at school. It’s really great.”

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