You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Sports

EMass school football scouting reports

How will your team fare this season? Check out our outlooks for all of the teams in eastern Massachusetts. Teams listed alphabetically:

Abington

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Continue reading below

Coach: James M. Kelliher (40th season)

Last year's record: 13-0

Strengths: Experience on the offensive and defensive line.

Concerns: Trying to find backups.

Playing surface: Grass

Continue reading below

Outlook: Coming off an undefeated 2012 season that was capped by a Division 4 Super Bowl win, the Green Wave have wiped the slate clean and are focusing on 2013. "[2012] was great, but it's a new season with new challenges," coach Jim Kelliher said. "You really can't think too much about last year." The Green Wave returns senior running back Matt Kilmain, who racked up 417 yards alone in the 2012 postseason. Joining Kilmain in the backfield are seniors Jason Halpin, Alex Tempesta, and Al Freeman, and the depth has Kelliher optimistic. "They've had a good preseason and it looks like we can depend on them," Kelliher said. Who will hand the ball off to those running backs has yet to be determined, as the quarterback job is still up for grabs between juniors Josh Riordan and Bryan Dwyer. Senior captain Pat Whelan will anchor the offensive and defensive lines, where Abington should excel. On the offensive front, Whelan will be lining up next to a mix of Jon Aprile, Steve Manning, center Joe Tosone, Sam Malafronte, Scott Jansen, Luca Cerasani, and Brian O'Donovan. Aprile, Manning, Tosone, Cerasani, and O'Donovan will all be key parts of the defensive line as well. Kelliher noted a group of defensive backs and wide receivers who he's been impressed with during camp, which includes Aidan Cawley, Brendan Glavin, DeAndre Hilton-Kardoza, Vinny Picardi, and Javin Vincelette.

Acton-Boxborough

Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

Coach: Bill Maver (28th season)

Last year's record: 8-3

Strengths: Experienced QB and backfield.

Concerns: Depth; filling holes in secondary.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Acton-Boxborough went 8-3 a year ago, but finished third in the league. With 13 returning lettermen this fall and experience on offense, coach Bill Maver said the team's goal is to make the playoffs. Senior quarterback Hunter Arnold has been starting since he was a sophomore and was third in Division 1A with 12 touchdown passes last season. Senior running back Will Tejeda is another returning star on offense. Tejeda scored 17 touchdowns and 104 points a year ago, good for fourth in the division. Senior running back Thomas Saponaro is also expected to contribute significantly on offense.

Amesbury

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: Thomas Connors (11th season)

Last year's record: 9-3

Strengths: Experienced in the trenches. Kicking game.

Concerns: Depth.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: With the whole complexion of the league changing do to the new playoff system and the loss of many nonleague games on the front end of the season, it is imperative for teams to get off to a good start. This year, Amesbury will begin the season with two huge rival games with Triton and Pentucket before starting their league games. They must prepare for these two rival games as it could set the tone on the season in the CAL Large and Small as well as create points in the power ranking playoff system. Complexity or not, coach Connors and the Indians are "excited to start".

Andover

Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

Coach: E.J. Perry (4th season)

Last year's record: 10-2

Strengths: Depth at running back, defense

Concerns: Replacing quarterback CJ Scarpa.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Andover has to replace many stars from last year's high-powered offense, like quarterback CJ Scarpa and receivers Will Heikkinen and Cam Farnham. But the Golden Warriors return running back Jack Sylvester, who rushed for over 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Sylvester is undoubtedly the focus of the offense, as Andover retools the passing attack. Sylvester also starts at safety and will command the defense, which features hard-hitting linebackers Will Eikenberry and Brian Duffy. Eleven starters return from last year, so Andover will have some holes to fill.

Apponequet

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: Robert Lomp (13th season)

Last year's record: 7-4

Strengths: Running attack. Experience.

Concerns: Inexperience on the line.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Lakers may be destined for a giant leap forward and compete for the SCC Large crown as many key players return. Among those returning for the 2013 campaign are quarterback Cam Costa and the backfield of Matt Michael and Wes Cohen. The duo of Michael and Cohen combined for 24 touchdowns a year ago and are arguably the most formidable half back pairings in the SCC. Senior linebackers Andrew Frigault and Kyle Swainner will be key cogs to the success of the Laker defense. If there was a roster that could take Apponequet back to their old winning ways, this would be it.

Archbishop Williams

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Coach: Bill Kinsherf (18th season)

Last year's record: 5-4

Strengths: Running game and good wide receivers.

Concerns: Depth at each position.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Senior running back Kylan Philbert-Richardson returns after rushing for 1,746 yards last season, and coach Bill Kinsherf is looking for more of the same. "We're expecting him to keep up with [last season]," Kinsherf said. Philbert-Richardson will also be the Bishops' leader on defense at safety. Junior linebackers Ryan Earle and Adam Burnes should be key players on defense as well. "They're back and really look good so far," Kinsherf said. At wide receiver, Kinsherf is expecting Earle, Ken Lofstrom, and Ryan McMahon to have big years. Who will be throwing them the ball is still up in the air, as a starting quarterback has yet to be named.

Arlington

Playoff alignment: Division 3NW North

Coach: John Dubzinski (3d season)

Last year's record: 3-8

Strengths: Skill positions on offense; overall experience.

Concerns: Overall depth, especially on the offensive line.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: It's been a turbulent first two seasons for Arlington head coach John Dubzinski, but things are looking up as the Spy Ponders. Unlike the last two seasons, the Spy Ponders will have a large, seasoned group of seniors who will take hold of the leadership roles on the team. The roster boasts 20 seniors with 18 returning starters, numbers Dubzinski hopes will pay dividends on both sides of the ball. Arlington returns nearly the entirety of its offense, including senior quarterback Seth Coiley, a Middlesex Liberty All-Star. After rushing for 700 yards and tallying eight touchdowns - passing and rushing - last fall, Coiley will rotate with junior Frank Roche under center, a move Dubzinski hopes will capitalize on the dynamic playmaking abilities of both players. Three-year starter Zach Thomas, a league All-Star at outside linebacker, could be in line to have a monster season at tight end. The only glaring hole is that left by outside linebacker Matt Garcia. Senior Marco Saenz-Grant will fill in the shoes for Garcia at linebacker, while junior defensive end Nick Rose and senior defensive back Andrew Cunningham continue to grow in their positions. Two-year captain Lucas Hanley will shore up the middle of the field at inside linebacker. "Every coach gives the old cliche that they just want to get better day by day." said Dubzinski. "When we met in the preseason, we had the kids write down their goals, and the majority of kids wanted a winning record and to make the playoffs, to improve on last year."

Arlington Catholic

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: Serge Clivio (23d season)

Last year's record: 2-9

Strengths: Speed and experience coming back at WR and RB.

Concerns: Inexperience at other key positions

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Cougars are 4-18 over the last two seasons, and things won't get any easier this year with a competitive league and a young team. "We're going to be learning a little bit on the go," coach Serge Clivio said. Clivio does have good talent returning at wide receiver and running back, and he is hoping those players can carry the load while others adjust on the fly. Senior Kyle Bairos returns at wide receiver after an all-star season in 2012. He's joined by 6-foot wideout Matt Richardson, and they'll be catching passes from new quarterback Christian Rosati. The sophomore won the starting job in camp and has looked very good in preseason, Clivio said. Running backs Billy Barrett and Greg Whelan will help out on offense after strong showings in 2012. Arlington Catholic will be without junior tight end Jake Ryan, who will miss five weeks after he suffered a hairline fracture in his tibia during camp. Defensively, senior linebacker Sean McElhinney will be a strong force.

Ashland

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Coach: Andrew MacKay (3d season)

Last year's record: 4-7

Strengths: Senior leadership.

Concerns: Inexperience on both sides of the ball.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Coming into the season coach Andrew McKay is hopeful. He says this is a big year for his team and the coaching staff that has been together for three years. McKay has a lot of goals for the Clockers, having a winning season is one of them. There's a lot of buzz and excitement going around the community about the Clockers with participation growing from 26 to 87 kids. "We are cautiously optimistic going into the season," he said. "This is a special year for us and we have worked very hard."

Attleboro

Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

Coach: Michael Strachan (1st season)

Last year's record: 4-7

Strengths: Senior leadership.

Concerns: Getting everyone on the same page in new system.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Attleboro gets a much-needed fresh start with Michael Strachan taking over as head coach for the Blue Bombardiers. Attleboro finished 0-5 in league play last year, but Strachan is bringing a professional football pedigree with his five years of experience playing quarterback in the European Football League. Strachan, the former Framingham State coach, wants his team to be disciplined and full of energy, while showcasing multiple fronts and formations. But that could lead to a difficult transition. "When you have a completely new system, it can be a challenge for any team," Strachan said. "We want to eliminate mental errors." Strachan is no stranger to the Hockomock as he was a 1986 graduate at North Attleboro.

Austin Prep

Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

Coach: Bill Maradei (35th season)

Last year's record: 4-7

Strengths: Work ethic

Concerns: Inexperience

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Connor Duffy returns at quarterback for the Cougars, and coach Bill Maradei is expecting big things from the junior. Duffy has a strong arm and can use his feet as a threat as well. "He's maturing nicely," Maradei said. Seniors Nick Mulcahy and Jonathan Saurman will make up a solid running back duo for the Cougars. On defense, Dan Catalano is an experienced defensive end. Joining Catalano are linebackers Damian Dell'Anno and Mulcahy, and Maradei says the three seniors are tough players who will take the lead.

Barnstable

Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

Coach: Chris Whidden (3d season)

Last year's record: 11-1

Strengths: Offensive line.

Concerns: Finding/determining roles; lack of experience.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Red Raiders fell one game short of perfection last season, losing to Everett in the Division 1A Super Bowl. They will try to return to the big game this season, but with just eight returning lettermen, coach Chris Whidden has a lot of work to do. The biggest hole to fill is at quarterback, where Whidden must replace last year's Division 1A player of the year, Nick Peabody. In camp, seniors Hayden Murphy and Kristian Lucashensky have been working at QB. Murphy, who also plays safety, could be the star of the team; last year he was one of the team's running backs and rushed for 10 touchdowns. Whidden also has an eye on senior running back Justus Chaffee and senior WR/CB Colby Blaze as possible impact players. "We have to maximize our potential," said Whidden about what it will take to return to the Super Bowl with such an inexperienced roster. "The young guys saw where the program can go. It's a belief that we have the ability. We have to be all in."

BC High

Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

Coach: Joe Gaff (2nd season)

Last year's record: 4-6

Strengths: Speed, athleticism

Concerns: Offensive line

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Unfortunately for the Eagles, injuries were an issue last season, resulting in a sub-.500 record just one year after winning the Super Bowl in 2011. Senior Luke Catarius, who was sorely missed because of an injury last season, graduated, but a fresh crop of talent is up and coming for the Eagles. Catarius was the heart of the Eagles defense, but this year, keep an eye on senior Steve DiCienzo, who's expected to handle the hard-hitting at linebacker. Gaff employs a pro-style offense based on the ground attack, and Rob Harnais will add some skill to the backfield. Sean Holleran comes in as a first-year starter at quarterback, and it's important he settles in early for the Eagles.

Bedford

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: Jack Belcher (10th season)

Last year's record: 8-3

Strengths: Experience

Concerns: Ability to adapt to new playoff system

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: In their first season playing home games on turf, the Buccaneers are set to return nine starters on offense as well as defense. "From an 8-3 team, that's a lot of kids back with experience; some of them have been starters since 10th grade," said coach Jack Belcher. Olan Abner (a starter since ninth grade), who rushed for over 1,200 yards and 21 touchdowns last season is back at tailback and a prime candidate for postseason honors. "He's a definite possibility to be an All-Scholastic," said Belcher. "He's already getting some 1-AA noise [college] recruiting-wise." Bobby McDonald, a three-year starter at fullback, is also back to help clear some running lanes for Abner. After being the backup quarterback for the past two seasons, the job will now officially belong to senior Joe Zampell. "Joe's had the best arm on the team for three years," said Belcher. "He's an All-Star pitcher. He's got a real strong arm and he had a real good last week of camp. He's what we expected him to be. He just got stuck behind a three-year starter in 10th and 11th grade. We have a lot of confidence in him." A player to keep your eyes on this season is sophomore Kevin Allen, who started at linebacker as a freshman. The Buccaneers won't play at home until the end of September to allow their new turf field to be completed. "In the past few years it's come down to [Wayland, us, and Concord-Carlisle]," said Belcher, "so I wouldn't be surprised if that happens again…If we beat those two in the same year, we tend to win the league."

Bellingham

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Coach: Dan MacLean (4th season)

Last year's record: 3-8

Strengths: Improved defense

Concerns: Depth and injuries

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Blackhawks defense improved almost 10 points a game last fall, holding TVL foes to 24.6 ppg. Now the offense must improve, after scoring just 15.5 ppg in 2013. Progress on both sides of the ball, combined with good health, and Bellingham could be an improved team in 2013.

Belmont

Playoff alignment: Division 3NW North

Coach: Kevin Gildea (9th season)

Last year's record: 1-10

Strengths: Intelligent group of kids, very coachable.

Concerns: Depth across the board.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Belmont continues to face an uphill battle in a grueling Middlesex (Liberty) League, and it won't get much easier this season. With only 32 players making up this year's roster, coach Kevin Gildea and the Marauders can ill-afford any major injuries over the course of the season. But Belmont has reason to be excited by this year's group. According to Gildea, junior running back Max Jones (5-foot-8, 160 pounds) and senior running back J.D. Niles (5-foot-9, 175 pounds) could wreak havoc in an offense that is focused on the run. Under center, the quarterback job is a two-horse race between 6-foot junior Nick Call and a 5-foot-8, 165-pound freshman Cal Cristofori. On defense, the Marauders hope to improve on the 28.2 points per game they allowed last fall. "We continue to stress believing in each other," said Gildea. "Believe in each other, believe in the coaches, believe in what we've been doing. There's a lot of unity with this group, which has been nice."

Beverly

Playoff alignment: Division 3NE North

Coach: Dan Bauer (11th season)

Last year's record: 13-0

Strengths: Key returners with game experience, work ethic.

Concerns: Offensive/defensive line experience, depth in secondary

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Panthers capped a 13-0 season with the Division 2A Super Bowl crown, their second Super Bowl title in three years. Coach Dan Bauer brings back some key members from last year's unbeaten champions, including running back Isaiah White, OL/LB Sean Winston, DE Zach Duguid and WR Sam Mulumba. They should make the Panthers the team to beat again in the Cape Ann/Northeastern (Div. 2) Conference. Bauer has high expectations for his team and anticipates strong work ethic.

Billerica

Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

Coach: Rich McKenna (1st season)

Last year's record: 2-9

Strengths: Quarterback.

Concerns: Depth, inexperience.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Billerica native Rich McKenna replaced coach Peter Flynn, who retired after 23 seasons. McKenna, who had success at Westford Academy, will attempt to guide the Indians back from a 2-9 campaign last season. Lots of young players contributed last season, especially this year's starting quarterback Jordan Bolarinho. He has a strong arm, and is expected to lead the Indians' offense. "He's a great leader and he's certainly in command," McKenna said. "He's very coachable." The Indians graduated electric wide receiver Matt Clifford, who was a big focus of the offense. The numbers are strong at Billerica, with over 90 kids in the program

Bishop Connolly

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Justin Kogler (2nd season)

Last year's record: 5-6

Strengths: Experience at quarterback and in the backfield, strong sophomore class, depth and size of the defensive line.

Concerns: Young and inexperienced offensive line.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Coach Josh Kogler is confident that the size and power of his defense can take Bishop Connolly to new heights this season. The defensive line, led by Josh Ortiz, a 6-3, 275-pounder, features three players over 250 pounds. That, and the athleticism of his secondary, has Kogler believing his team can play with anyone in the league. "Connolly has never really been at the top of the league. We've always been at the bottom of our league but if we can stay healthy, I think we can creep up and surprise some people," Kogler said.

Bishop Feehan

Playoff alignment: Division 3SW South

Coach: Curt Smith (4th season)

Last year's record: 10-2

Strengths: Tradition and new talent from undefeated JV team.

Concerns: Experience.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Shamrocks graduated some top talent, including All-Scholastic Matt Allen, but will be bringing up plenty of players from last year's undefeated junior varsity team. The Feehan 2012 JV team surrendered just one touchdown all season long defensively. Coach Curt Smith believes that what his 2013 squad lacks in experience, it makes up in the potential of his new varsity players. "We expect to be competitive but the learning curve may be a bit steep initially. There may be some bumps in the road but we're very optimistic that if healthy, we'll be a competitive team," said Smith.

Bishop Fenwick

Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

Coach: Dave Woods (16th season)

Last year's record: 8-3

Strengths: Experience with many seniors and juniors who have been starting since their freshman year.

Concerns: Staying healthy.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: In a league which coach Dave Woods says is the toughest that it has been in years, Bishop Fenwick brings back a veteran-laden squad, with eight returning starters on offense and nine on defense. Senior Nick Bona will be a key force on both sides of the ball. At quarterback, Bona "has looked absolutely phenomenal in camp." Bona is also a starting linebacker for the Crusaders, and the "heart and soul of our defense," Woods said. Vona broke the single-season tackles record at Fenwick last year, racking up 170. Joining him as an offensive threat is junior running back Rufus Rushins, who has amassed over 2,400 yards in his first two years. Defensively, David Hurley will start at middle linebacker, where the junior has looked strong in camp.

Bishop Stang

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: Ryan Sylvia (2nd season)

Last year's record: 1-10

Strengths: Offensive line, senior running backs.

Concerns: Inexperience at quarterback.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Coach Ryan Sylvia is hoping his sophomore season at Bishop Stang will show an improved team on both sides of the ball. In order to do so, Sylvia and his staff will have to rely on their offensive line and develop quarterback Matt Golden. Like his coach, Golden is also entering his sophomore season with the Spartans. Sylvia is confident that his quarterback has a stout line up front to help. "We've got a mix of juniors and seniors in there who have a lot of experience between them," Sylvia noted. The coach is also hoping to take advantage of his four senior running backs in Zaniewski, Landry, Tucker and Budria. "They will all see time in the spread option," said Sylvia.

Blue Hills

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Ed Catabia (6th season)

Last year's record: 9-2

Strengths: Speed among starters.

Concerns: Lack of experience and depth in skilled-positions.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The post-Vincent Burton era of Blue Hills football officially begins with the 2013 season. Burton led the Warriors with 36 touchdowns last season, including a rushing score in their Vocational Bowl win against Minuteman. While coach Ed Catabia is worried about the depth amongst his skill players and the overall experience of his young players (whose backgrounds represent 9 different towns), he did note that one senior, Dimitri Revolus, has showed signs in camp of filling the gap in the backfield left by Burton. "He's a great kid, he's very fast and he's got a shot and we're going to see what he can do," Catabia said. "That's how we found Vincent."

Boston English

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Brian Vaughan (1st season)

Last year's record: 3-7

Strengths: Great athleticism, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

Concerns: With a lot of young players, English will struggle with their overall football IQ as a team because their inexperience with the sport and a new coach.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Entering their first season under former Pope John coach Brian Vaughan, English looks to keep improving as they implement a new offensive and defensive scheme. After a solid preseason,Vaughan is confident in his new team. "We just want to compete. I think we can do that; guys have been working hard all summer in the weight room and on various 7 on 7 passing leagues. It's a work in progress but the kids are working hard, they're having a good time and learning football," said Vaughan. The Eagles have been on the rise and three wins last fall proves things are getting better at English.

Boston Latin

Playoff alignment: Division 3NW North

Coach: John McDonough (13th season)

Last year's record: 2-9

Strengths: The line on both sides of the ball.

Concerns: Inexperience.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Replacing Jhalen Bein-Aime, who rushed for 112 yards and two scores on 10 carries in the Wolfpack's Thanksgiving Day win over English, will be tough to replace. Latin will start Roy Bohnan under center this season. He'll hand to ball to Pat Fahy and Duncan McGaff whenever possible. Tight end Peter Honzik, receiver Mike Parham, and linebacker Seb D'Amico are other players to look out for.

Bourne

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Coach: John McIntyre (4th season)

Last year's record: 5-6

Strengths: Experienced backfield.

Concerns: Inexperience at linebacker and offensive line.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: After an undefeated, Super Bowl winning 2011 season, the Canalmen fell back in 2012 with a 5-6 record. In his fourth season at the helm John McIntyre will be looking at senior running back Chad Marsh, who found himself in the endzone 17 times last season, to carry much of the offensive burden. Alongside Marsh will be another senior, Marquesse Rhodes. Rhodes was a major asset in Bourne's Super Bowl season and is looking for a repeat performance in the SCC Small.

Braintree

Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

Coach: Brian Chamberlain (3d season)

Last year's record: 3-8

Strengths: Experience, size and strength, interior line.

Concerns: Quarterback.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Wamps are trying to bounce back from a difficult 3-8 record from last season as coach Brian Chamberlain enters his third year as coach. With 17 returning players, it's clear that one of the biggest things going for Braintree this year is experience. Chamberlain is also excited about his offensive and defensive linemen, saying "we're a lot bigger and stronger at every position on the line." The big issue surrounding the Wamps as the season approaches is the quarterback position. Former starting QB Anthony Luisi graduated last year.

Bridgewater-Raynham

Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

Coach: Dan Buron (21st season)

Last year's record: 5-6

Strengths: Offensive/defensive line; running back.

Concerns: New secondary; lack of experience at skill positions.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Trojans had a bit of a down year last season, winning just five games and finishing second behind Barnstable in the Old Colony. Coach Dan Buron expects improvement this season. "We want to improve on our record, we lost a lot of close games last year," said Buron. "We want to win the league and make the playoffs." The team will rely on its experience at running back and on both the offensive and defensive lines. Senior Arcel Armstead and junior Brandon Gallagher provide a powerful duo at the running back position. Seniors Nick Falconeiri, Shawn Whitaker, and Evan Shockley anchor the offensive line. The Trojans will have someone new behind center, though. Junior Matt Clement (no game experience) replaces Jordan Cohen at quarterback. B-R's wide receivers and defensive backs are both talented groups, but also lack experience.

Brighton

Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

Coach: Randolph Abraham (2nd season)

Last year's record: 5-5

Strengths: Experience, speed, and talent.

Concerns: New playoff format and how it will effect city teams.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Brighton returns an experienced offensive and defensive line led by Brendan Alford, Petroy Thompson, Sr. Gavin Sheehan, Jorman Ortiz, and Richard Marrero. The Bengals have gone 5-5 in the past two seasons as this young line took its lumps playing varsity since ninth grade. Brighton graduated most of its line in 2011 and as a result needed to throw young players into the fire. The class of 2014 is a very talented class and coach Abraham will look to them to lead up front. "My skill players Jalen Apperwhite, Dexter Andrews, Michael Dereus, Andy Gomez are strong leaders who work very hard and have set high goals. Entering my second season as head coach I will look to getting back to being one of the most physical teams in EMass D5 and a run at the state championship," said Abraham. And if you want to look even further into the future, Abraham said his freshman class is already competing for starting roles this fall.

Bristol-Plymouth

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: John Parris (7th season)

Last year's record: 5-9

Strengths: Experienced skill positions and enthusiastic coaching staff.

Concerns: Kicking game and young, undersized defensive backs.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Coach John Parris says he has one of the premier running backs in the league in senior Elijah Jones. He also is comforted knowing senior quarterback Colin McGrath will be leading the offense. The Mayflower (Large) champions will be heavily relying on their sophomore class but the strength of that class still leaves Parris confident of a repeat. "We're shooting for the league but equity is the word to use for the Mayflower (Large) this year," Parris said. He added the biggest key for a successful season would be on the defensive side of the ball.

Brockton

Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

Coach: Peter Colombo (11th season)

Last year's record: 9-4

Strengths: Running back

Concerns: 18 new starters

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Brockton advanced to the Division 1 Super Bowl last season, but in 2013, the Boxers success will be dependent on how they replace a large senior class. Their biggest loss from last season is quarterback Austin Roberts, who seemed to do it all for Brockton. But they do have a strong returning running back in senior Aaron LeClair, who will have some help from Taunton transfer Lamar Williams. Together, the two can do some damage. Pat Burke will take over at quarterback, and has the ability to be efficient with both the pass and run game. Kervin Jean-Claude anchors the defense at linebacker – standing at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. With Jean-Claude and returner John Flaherty, the Boxers defense should be solid.

Brookline

Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

Coach: Keith Thomas (1st season)

Last year's record: 0-11.

Strengths: Experience at offensive skill positions.

Concerns: Inexperience, particularly on offensive line.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: New coach Keith Thomas enters his first year at Brookline after the team finished 0-11 last season. Thomas is hoping the Warriors can turn things around thanks to some returning starters at key offensive positions. The coach is excited about what quarterback Ben Knopf and wide receiver Dashawn Richardson bring to the table, saying "these players will serve as our leaders for our team and work together to build a community." This Brookline team will have to be quick learners however, as Thomas admits his team is rather young and inexperienced. "We have a lot of new players who came out for the team this year and I look forward to working with them and to see their growth and potential over the next few months."

Burke

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Byron Beaman (3d season)

Last year's record: 3-8

Strengths: A dedicated staff of coaches and players who strive to improve every day. Returning starters on the offensive line.

Concerns: Depth and academic concerns.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: After a rough first season under Beamon where Burke failed to capture a victory, they improved last season with three wins. This year Beamon looks forward to having a solid defense and returning players on the offensive side of the ball. "We're just looking to improve on what we did last year. Beamon said. "From year one to year two we were definitely a different program, not only in terms of look but also in attitude and focus. Most of our games last year we lost by a touchdown or two so we're looking to keep getting better."

Burlington

Playoff alignment: Division 3NW North

Coach: Shawn Maguire (21st season)

Last year's record: 10-2

Strengths: Depth.

Concerns: Loss of key players from last year's team.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Burlington is coming off a Middlesex (Small) League Championship after posting a 10-1 regular-season record. The Red Devils open their season on Sept. 6 against Billerica and will look to start their season off on a strong note. Burlington lost some key players to graduation, including All-Scholastic running back Marcus Odiah. Look for the Red Devils to look to continue with their high-scoring offensive, despite replacing key players from last season's team.

Cambridge

Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

Coach: Ryan Saulnier (1st season)

Last year's record: 7-4

Strengths: Senior leadership; team speed.

Concerns: Depth; adjusting to new systems.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Falcons were a bit of a surprise last season, finishing second in the GBL with a 3-1 league record and putting a scare into Everett during the teams' only meeting. This fall they are looking to build off that success under the direction of a new coach Ryan Saulnier. He says he is excited with the direction of the program. "The staff and players did a great job working the halls trying to attract new players and retain players who may have taken some time away from the sport," said Saulnier. "But with a new staff and new systems, there is a learning curve for everyone, coaches included. Some players have taken quickly to the schemes while others are still developing a comfort level." Last year's starting quarterback, David Maaghul, who led Division 1A in touchdown passes (31), moved on to Salisbury School in Connecticut. Senior Cameron McMillian will take over. Seniors Elijah Booker (WR/CB) and Shaq Anderson (WR/RB) are big-time playmakers.

Canton

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: Dave Bohane (20th season)

Last year's record: 3-6

Strengths: Work ethic.

Concerns: Inexperience.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Canton only brings back five returning starters from last year's team that finished fourth in the Hockomock (Davenport). Coach Dave Bohane called the 2013 Bulldogs "the youngest team we've ever had," with only two senior returning starters. With all the new faces, Bohane admitted that Canton isn't very deep into its playbook thus far. "We're about as basic a team as we've ever been," he said. Despite that, Bohane is encouraged by the amount of work put in during the offseason in the weight room to improve.

Cape Cod Tech

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Chris Leonard (3d season)

Last year's record: 0-9

Strengths: Opportunities from an indpendent Division 6 schedule

Concerns: Depth and injuries.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Playing an independent schedule last fall Cape Cod struggled to an 0-9 season. A five-game regular season schedule should help coach Leonard build his program.

Cardinal Spellman

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Coach: Ron St. George (6th season)

Last year's record: 6-4

Strengths: Experience and attitude.

Concerns: Quality of depth.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: After the Cardinals went 24-2 between 2010 and 2011, last season saw many first-time starters. Now, those starters are returning as juniors and seniors, giving coach Ron St. George lots of experience to work with. The crew is led by senior captain Rory Donovan, who has received offers to play at UMass, New Hampshire, and James Madison. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound tight end will be a big target for fellow senior captain and quarterback Austin Joseph. "(Donovan) is a go-to guy to make our offense click," St. George said. Joseph was a starting defensive back last year and will be under center this year. "We're looking for him to have an outstanding year for us," St. George said. He'll have returning help in the backfield with junior Matt Anastasi, who ran for 1,400 yards last season. Defensively, Cardinal Spellman remains largely intact from last year, with the defensive backs and linebackers core all returning, in addition to three linemen. Senior captains Chris Toomey and Bryan Barry are two of the key linebackers returning. "We're expecting big things from our kids on the defensive side of the ball," St. George said.

Carver

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Michael Fraccalossi (16th season)

Last year's record: 1-10

Strengths: Running backs.

Concerns: Depth.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: After a disappointing 2012 season the Crusaders look forward to a new schedule against schools similar in size to Carver. Quarterback Ryan Feeley returns along with all-league linebacker and strong safety Chris McGrath. Coach Mike Fraccalossi expects improvement from both along with senior lineman Chris Zamora.

Case

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Coach: Dave Morgado (4th season)

Last year's record: 1-9

Strengths: Team speed.

Concerns: Physical size and depth.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: After making headway in their 2011 campaign the Cardinals took a step back and are attempting to improve from a tough 2012. Coach Dave Morgado is looking for quarterback Felipe Pires and halfback Nick Denardo to improve an offense that was last in the SCC in points scored. "We have some pretty good speed on our roster," said Morgado. "With Denardo and Pires we're going to be ok with the way we run."

Cathedral

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Duane Sigsbury (3d season)

Last year's record: 11-2

Strengths: Team Speed, skill and a strong freshman class.

Concerns: Depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Division 4A champs have been to the past two Super Bowls, and since coach Sigsbury took over have a combined record of 23-3. That's not by chance, this team is legit. It always starts with coaching, but the Panthers have the talent to execute any of Sigsbury's master plans. And with starting quarterback Kejonte Hickman and starting rusher Jermal Brevard-Jackson returning, the Panthers offense looks to be every bit as lethal as they've been the past two seasons.

Catholic Memorial

Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

Coach: Alex Campea (10th season)

Last year's record: 2-8

Strengths: Good skill players, particularly wide receivers.

Concerns: Depth, inexperience.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Knights suffered some growing pains last season, but return with a core of young players that received valuable playing time in 2012. Boston College-commit Kevin Bletzer will be the do-all star for Campea, and at 6 feet 2 inches is a sure-target wide receiver and an excellent safety. Junior Mike McNally is going to be counted on to step in at quarterback, and Campea is happy with his development. The looming concern for the Knights is depth. "Our front guys can play, but it's imperative that we stay healthy," Campea said.

Central Catholic

Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

Coach: Chuck Adamopolous (17th season)

Last year's record: 9-2

Strengths: Depth at skill positions.

Concerns: Inexperienced offensive line.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Raiders' season hinges on how well they can fill the holes in their offense line. All five starters graduated from last season, four of which are playing at the collegiate level. They have a great weapon in running back D'Andre Drummond-Mayrie, who will be paired with Michael Balsamo in the backfield, but the challenge will be clearing space for them. Balsamo has started at safety since his freshman year and will help lead the defense, which also lost a multitude of starters. Quarterback Mike Milano returns under center for his junior season.

Charlestown

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: George Munroe (2nd season)

Last year's record: 0-10

Strengths: Senior quarterback, development of youth, returning players.

Concerns: Inexperience.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Going without a win last season might look bad on paper for the Townies, but the rough year allowed for first-year head coach George Munroe and the players to get familiar. "A lot of the kids are starting to get to know me, and a lot of teachers are starting to get to know me now," said Munroe, who believes that will really help the team develop better together this season. "We still have to take care of the little things, you know ball security ... before learning about the big things we have to take care of the little things". With an average of just 2.2 points scored per game last year, it's safe to say ball security has got to be a focus for the Townies. If they can get the little things down pat, expect the team to help Munroe get his first big win as coach and possibly even more.

Chelmsford

Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

Coach: Bruce Rich (18th season)

Last year's record: 6-5

Strengths: Size on offensive and defensive lines.

Concerns: Inexperience at linebacker.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Senior running back Jeff D'Auria returns to Chelmsford after scoring 19 touchdowns last season, and he will be joined by most of the offensive line. Other teams in the MVC have holes to fill in the trenches, and Chelmsford holds an advantage with key returners at the guard and tackle positions. Junior Jack Campsmith is returning as starting quarterback. The only concern for Rich is replacing his linebackers, most notably Matt Rabbito. Charlie Calenda will anchor the defensive line, and the Lions will be strong in the defensive backfield with senior safety Todd Dowery.

Chelsea

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Michael Stellato (15th season)

Last year's record: 2-8

Strengths: Team attitude, work ethic.

Concerns: Depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Chelsea gets an unexpected boost with the news Pope John was suspending its own program and forming a co-op with its neighbor, fomerly of the Catholic Central Small. That should help coach Stellato's team improve from last season. "Giving opportunities to these kids to continue playing football, I think it's a great thing," Stellato said. "We're all as one and I think it's a good thing for everyone involved." The coach added that the game experience of his returning starters will help create a base of improvement going throughout the season.

Cohasset

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Peter Afanasiw (8th season)

Last year's record: 6-5

Strengths: Athleticism.

Concerns: Size, depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: As one of the smaller schools in its division, Cohasset will need its key players to stay healthy this fall. "Overall the senior leadership that has been displayed in offseason and in preseason this far has been phenomenal. We have 19 seniors, the largest number in my eight years at Cohasset and all of them are really quality student athletes," said coach Peter Afanasiw. Captains Chris Haggerty, Mickey Barry and Jack McElgunn's competitive spirit and work ethic will make all the difference this season.

Concord-Carlisle

Playoff alignment: Division 3NW North

Coach: Mike Robichaud (5th season)

Last year's record: 4-7

Strengths: Experience and leadership on the line.

Concerns: Inexperience elsewhere.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Captains Adrian DiRomualdo, Edward Akubude, and Robert Shapiro are set to anchor the Patriots line this season. They'll be charged with protecting sophomore quarterback Austin Hoey, who has impressed coach Mike Robichaud. "[Hoey's] so far had a really good camp," said the Concord-Carlisle coach. "He's a really smart kid, who is maturing physically as well. Smart, good leader so far, good decision-maker as well." Robichaud said he expects the Patriots to spread the carries around this season between Jeff Adegbe, Andrew Kielar and one other still-to-be-determined back. "There are some guys that are really fighting for that third running back spot right now," Robichaud said. "We've typically been a more run-oriented team and I think those guys will be important for what we're doing back there." Expects junior tight ends Jack Barrett and Will Blumenberg to have increased rolls in this year's offense, with Blumenberg dropping to the slot – and even the backfield - in some formations. One player that's really stood out to the coaching staff this fall has been 6-foot-6-inch junior defensive end Ben Shorey, who after being injured for the majority of last season has come back with something to prove. "Ben just really doubled-down in the offseason on strength training and got himself going," said Robichaud. "So far in the preseason, on both sides of the ball, he's been big for us."

Coyle & Cassidy

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: Thomas Pileski (8th season)

Last year's record: 3-7

Strengths: Returning offensive players.

Concerns: Lack of depth on both sides of the ball.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Warriors may not have a ton of returning players from their 2012 team but veteran coach Tom Pileski is expecting big things from his seniors. Running back Josh Cobb rushed for 10 touchdowns last season while wide receiver John Monohan grabbed six through the air. "If we can get them the ball, we expect to have some balance offensively," said Pileski. The coach and athletic director is expecting a solid season from his team but only if it can avoid the injury bug. "We think we have some quality kids but we cannot afford any injuries, especially on offensive and defensive line. We're very thin there."

Danvers

Playoff alignment: Division 3NE North

Coach: Sean Rogers (4th season)

Last year's record: 5-6

Strengths: Running game, work ethic.

Concerns: Defense.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: A slow-but-steady team-wide improvement during his tenure at Danvers High will culminate in this final season for Alex Valles, the team's star running back and captain. Senior Anthony Cordoba will assist him in both those departments, while fellow senior captain Mike Favreau will be on the field for just about every play as an offensive and defensive lineman. Coach Sean Rogers has pegged Nick Andreas his starting quarterback, and he fully expects the junior to take some pressure off the backfield. Being in the newly formed NEC South will present the Falcons with a new challenge: facing some teams, including Lynn Classical and Revere, that they haven't seen in several years. "We're a very capable team that can improve this year," Rogers said. "We have to be able to hang with [physically bigger teams] the first half and have our conditioning pay off the second half."

Dartmouth

Playoff alignment: Division 3SE South

Coach: Richard White (10th season)

Last year's record: 3-7

Strengths: Good senior leadership; experienced; skill positions.

Concerns: Injuries.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Dartmouth head coach Richard White said his team hit the ground running at camp, and with 25 returning lettermen he expects the team's experience and senior leadership to be a recipe for success. Senior running back Tim Smith is close to full strength after knee surgery on his ACL last season. White said junior Blaine Almeida is a candidate to replace Dalton Soares at quarterback. Soares injured his ACL playing lacrosse last spring and is out for the season. Senior wide receiver Nick Simonetti and defensive linemen Joel Sodeinde and Eddie Cadorette are players to watch.

Dedham

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: David Flynn (3d season)

Last year's record: 1-10

Strengths: Defensive backs, experience, running game

Concerns: Passing efficiency.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: With the new playoff format in place, the Marauders return to Bay State Herget play after two years playing as an Independent. There were many growing pains during a one-win campaign a season ago, but coach David Flynn feels that valuable experience was gained and will be used toward a turn-around year. "[We] are looking to build upon all the positives taken from most of the team's returning starter's first varsity experience last year," said Flynn who returns 15 starters. Running back Jay Maxwell will look to spark the offense and is expected to handle the bulk of the workload for Dedham who will use a multiple spread attack. He will also spearhead a defensive backfield that includes captain Eric DeAngelis, Ron Pucci and Gersaint Excellent. The strength of both lines comes from senior Mason Costa as four starters return to the trenches. Linebacker Joe Linnehan will serve as the anchor of their 4-4 defense as the Marauders look to attack their opponents up front.

Dennis-Yarmouth

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: Paul Funk (12th season)

Last year's record: 6-4

Strengths: Team speed.

Concerns: Lack of depth.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: With 16 returning starters, the Dolphins are looking to carry over the momemtum of a season-ending three-game win streak. "I think those last three games was a testament to the leadership that has emerged as the kids get older and as they play," coach Paul Funk said. "We're hoping to continue the success we had in the end of last year into this year."

Dighton-Rehoboth

Playoff alignment: Division 3SE South

Coach: Dave Driscoll (33d season)

Last year's record: 9-2

Strengths: Offensive backfield.

Concerns: Lack of depth and experience on the offensive and defensive lines.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: In a newly designed South Coast Conference, the Falcons will be defending their championship from a year ago in the SCC Large. After losing a number of players through graduation coach Dave Driscoll will look to junior, and 2012 SCC All-Star, quarterback Nathan Kowalski to lead the way. Led by Chris Duffy, an inexperienced offensive line will be asked to protect and block for the likes of Norman Manchester, Kyle Rose, and Jacob Juncker. The offensive explosiveness out of the backfield should be enough for the Falcons to compete for a repeat.

Diman

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Richard Vickrey (8th season)

Last year's record: 5-6

Strengths: Eager to learn and work ethic.

Concerns: Undersized players.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Coach Richard Vickrey and his Diman squad have put on their horse blinds in anticipation for their opening day game against Bishop Connolly. Vickrey said that while his players are excited, the team is not allowing themselves to look too far down the line and are taking the season game-by-game. "They have set some goals. They want to leave their legacy," Vickrey said. "They want to win the first game."

Dorchester

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Richard Moran (8th season)

Last year's record: 10-1

Strengths: Dorchester is bringing back much of the leadership that led them to the Division 5 Super Bowl last season. They'll look to their strong defense to once again make them very competitive.

Concerns: Offensive line needs to be tightened up. They also lack some of the speed they had last season.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: After losing to Upper Cape in the Division 5 Super Bowl, Dorchester hopes to win the South again and get another shot at a Super Bowl title. But that will be much more difficult this year because of the new state-wide playoff system that will require them to win two playoff games before qualifying for the Super Bowl. The team is also going to be playing their first home games of the school's history with the installment of artificial turf to Roberts Field. Under eighth-year head coach Richard Moran, the Bears have a lot to look forward to. "I always expect to do well," Moran said. "We're trying to build a program here that's about improving each year. I tell the kid's that each year anyone can win and it definitely keeps them motivated and excited."

Dover-Sherborn

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Coach: Joe Schotland (3d season)

Last year's record: 1-10

Strengths: Many returning starters, experience.

Concerns: Injuries and staying healthy.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: After injuries contributed to an 0-4 start last fall, the Raiders main focus in the 2013-14 season is to stay healthy. Coach Joe Schotland says the key to success is his team's health. Last season quarterback Will Scatchard and his backup were injured and the Raiders turned to then sophomore Mark Czeisler and fourth backup freshman Nick Tupanjanin to run offense.

Dracut

Playoff alignment: Division 3NE North

Coach: Jason Houston (4th season)

Last year's record: 2-9

Strengths: Passing game; defensive secondary.

Concerns: Depth, running backs.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: With returners in the secondary, receiving, and quarterback positions, both passing offense and defense should be a strength for the Midshipmen.

Durfee

Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

Coach: LaJhon Jones (3d season)

Last year's record: 0-10

Strengths: Quarterback, large junior class, receivers

Concerns: Depth

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Hilltoppers can only improve after last year's winless season, and Jones has every intention of turning the program around. Now in his third season at the helm, Jones finally has a the program in order from a numbers standpoint, and has a roster that is filled with players he has developed since his first season. That's left him with a strong junior class, and a core of returning seniors. Trevelis Oliver returns at quarterback, and has a strong line in front of him, with four returning starters. Jones is confident Oliver has the skills to lead Durfee to an improved 2013 campaign.

Duxbury

Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

Coach: Dave Maimaron (9th season)

Last year's record: 11-1

Strengths: Offensive line and quarterback play.

Concerns: Defensive line.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Duxbury has been the Patriot League's top team for the past four years, and coach Dave Maimaron wants to make it five. With 26 heavy graduation losses, he says it will be a challenge, but doable. "We have good new kids, and great kids coming back that have been working hard in off season," he said. "There's plenty of competition this year but I'm looking forward to getting them on the field." Maimaron said the Dragons' yearly challenge is the Harbormen, and expects them to be better than ever. "Hingham has always been right with us, but we've always been able to make a play when we needed one," he said. "They've improved, so we just have to keep getting better."

East Boston

Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

Coach: John Parziale (4th season)

Last year's record: 5-5

Strengths: Offensive line, core of returning starters.

Concerns: Depth, preseason injuries to lineman and running backs.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Jets, one year removed from sitting atop the Boston North standings, just might be in position this year to make another strong run. Last season was a bit of a disappointment, who were green on the line and in the backfield, especially at quarterback. With a year's worth of experience under them, the line should be stronger and in better position to help do what Eastie loves to do most and that's pound the football on the ground. Be on the lookout for Eastie's Connor Henry. If the team can block for Henry, he has the speed to hit each and every hole.

East Bridgewater

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Coach: Shawn Tarpey (9th season)

Last year's record: 7-4

Strengths: Depth

Concerns: Who is going to step up on offense?

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: While parts of the South Shore League are undergoing transitions, East Bridgewater is trying to capitalize on the continuity that it brings into the 2013 season. "Things are going well," coach Shawn Tarpey said. "They're running our offense well and we're playing strong on defense." Senior James Shea is an offensive weapon for the Vikings at wide receiver and running back, and can do "a little bit of everything," Tarpey said. Owen Harrington and Sean Pierce are in competition for snaps at running back, and the starting quarterback has yet to be determined as well. Mike Kelly and Ryan Graham are the candidates for the starting role, which Tarpey hoped would be decided by Week One. Seniors Chris Stanton and Blake Henderson are both back from injuries last year and will be key contributors at outside linebacker. Tarpey called Abington the team to beat, and East Bridgewater will have a key game against the Green Wave in Week Seven, right before the playoffs are decided.

Everett

Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

Coach: John DiBiaso (32nd season)

Last year's record: 11-1

Strengths: Defensive experience.

Concerns: Offensive inexperience.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Everett heads into the season in search of its fourth straight Super Bowl title, but accomplishing such a feat will not be easy. The Crimson Tide lost all five starters from last year's offensive line, including former All-Scholastic John Montelus (Notre Dame). Coach John DiBiaso will also have to replace All-Scholastic wide receiver Jakarrie Washington (Wisconsin), as well as WR/RB Jalen Felix, and WR/K Gilly DeSouza. "We're a work in progress," said DiBiaso. "We have so many young guys, we've just got to rep them up." Senior Raheem Wingard, who was the Tide's quarterback for much of last season's second half, and senior Pat Long have taken the most reps at the position during camp. Defensively, the Tide returns a number of starters, including senior linebackers Angel Duarte and C.J. Parvelus. The heavily recruited Lubern Figaro will stary in the secondary.

Fairhaven

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Coach: Rudy Bulgar (4th season)

Last year's record: 7-3

Strengths: Overall program momentum.

Concerns: Inexperience. Replacing key players from graduation.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: After making giant strides over the last two seasons coach Rudy Bulgar may be in for a transition year in 2013. Replacing 13 of 53 players due to graduation doesn't seem to be a daunting task, but when those players accounted for 94 percent your points scored from a year ago it very well might be. A continued trend in the right direction for the defense should keep the Blue Devils competitive.

Falmouth

Playoff alignment: Division 3SE South

Coach: Steve Femino (4th season)

Last year's record: 2-8

Strengths: Size.

Concerns: Overall depth.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: This season Steve Femino plans to put a lot of emphasis on playing better in the second half, an area the Clippers struggled with last season. "We need to be able to compete for four quarters," Femino said. "We've always competed for two. We need to take that next step now to be able to sustain in the second half." With seven returning starters, and a roster filled with 22 sophomores, Femino is confident that the Clippers will be able to compete for a league - and all four quarters.

Foxborough

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: Jack Martinelli (32nd season)

Last year's record: 8-3

Strengths: Running back and receivers.

Concerns: Brand new secondary.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Foxboro faces the challenge of replacing the void left by the graduation of 2012 Hockomock League MVP Kiivone Howard, who rushed for 1,750 yards and a Division 3-leading 25 touchdowns. But this year, the Warriors turn the backfield over to senior Luc Valenza, a three-year starter at linebacker. Coach Jack Martinelli likes what he's seen out of his skill players and said this year's team will feature roughly half seniors and half underclassmen. Martinelli also feels a slew of tough exhibition opponents in Catholic Memorial and Brockton will serve the team well when the games start to count and believes his team is starting to jell. "We've been pretty strong against the run defensively, and if the passing game comes along, which it should, that'll be a strength as well," he said.

Framingham

Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

Coach: Gary Doherty (16th season)

Last year's record: 5-6

Strengths: Attitude.

Concerns: Inexperience.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Flyers are returning nine lettermen from last year's 5-6 squad, but only Josh Robles and Tristan Perez started in 2012. Coach Gary Doherty noted his team has "a lot of new people doing new things," but is hoping attitude makes up for inexperience. "They're doing a great job of bringing enthusiasm and positive attitude to practice. They're doing their very best to try to become a team," Doherty said.

Franklin

Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

Coach: Brad Sidwell (17th season)

Last year's record: 7-4

Strengths: Depth at skill positions.

Concerns: Handling physical teams and developing younger players.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Franklin rebounded from a tough 2011 campaign to finish 7-4 last year, but still only managed a fourth-place finish in the Hockomock (Kelley-Rex) league. But coach Brad Sidwell's Panthers bring back a slew of players on both sides of the ball, including all-Hockomock running back and defensive back Bobby Dellorco. "He's not a very big guy," Sidwell said, "but he's very explosive and he's always around the ball making plays." Franklin also boasts an experienced linebacking core of senior Chris Roche and junior Colton Cardinal, as the Panthers gear up for their first season after moving from Division 2 to Division 1.

Georgetown

Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

Coach: Paul Sobolewski (10th season)

Last year's record: 1-9

Strengths: Offensive and defensive line.

Concerns: Depth, avoiding injuries.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Not too long ago, the Royals were a powerhouse in the Commonwealth Small conference. But the team has struggled the past two seasons (2-19). After starting last season with an encouraging 42-6 win in Week 1, the team not only lost the reminder of its games, three players had suffered ACL tears by Week 3. Coach Paul Sobolewski was quick to say after last year's freak injuries that the players are focused first on "just getting their identity back." With talented running back Matt Prescott returning from an ACL tear and a crop of lineman returning for their third consecutive year as starters, look for the Royals to do just that.

Gloucester

Playoff alignment: Division 3NE North

Coach: Tony Zerilli (3d season)

Last year's record: 4-7

Strengths: Returning seniors.

Concerns: Depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Zerilli says that with mostly seniors starting on his squad, the Fishermen should be better this season. Both the defensive and offensive lines return. Look for strong play from David DiMaio and Drew Shairs on the D-line and Jordan Pallazola at middle linebacker. Pallazola (FB), Connor Harris (WB), and John Curcuru (RB) will lead the offense.

Greater Lawrence

Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

Coach: Tony Sarkis (8th season)

Last year's record: 8-3

Strengths: Enthusiastic and hard-working team.

Concerns: Team is young, may take a while to mature.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Reggies are young this season, returning just two starters from last year, but they're taking that in stride and trying to use it to their advantage with an enthusiastic group. Junior wide receivers Angel Martin and Yoel Batist are the two returners for coach Tony Sarkis. The quarterback battle is ongoing, between senior Ellicen Pena and junior Jeremy Torres. Shane Dunn, Albert Villa, and Victor Pena will all be in the mix at running back. Sophomore tackle Dejore Hollins has had a strong camp, and will look to anchor the young lines for Greater Lawrence.

Greater Lowell

Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

Coach: Shane Abrams (2nd season)

Last year's record: 5-6

Strengths: Offensive and defensive line.

Concerns: Gaps left by graduations, specifically on defense and in the backfield.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Coming off his first year as head coach of Greater Lowell, Abrams and his team are headed to the Commonwealth Large. Abrams said the season will be a challenge, especially since Greater Lowell hasn't beaten any of the conference's teams in the last seven years. "I think they'll respond well; we've had a lot of kids entered in and worked real hard in the strength and conditioning program and I think they're going to work really hard in practice," Abrams said. Second-year quarterback Nick Rossetti started six games last year. Abrams said the offense will run at a quick pace to let Rossetti show off his speed.

Greater New Bedford

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Coach: Chuck Allaire (7th season)

Last year's record: 6-6

Strengths: Depth and speed.

Concerns: Special teams.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: "We're going to try and make a run to the conference championship," said coach Chuck Allaire about his team's chances of winning the new SCC Small. Allaire has a lot of experience on his roster with 25 seniors. The man under center is a junior, Nick Richard. He will be helped by running back Sean Aldrich and fullback Jacob Tavares, who also should make an impact up front defensively. "It's going to be different with the new format," said Allaire. "But we're going for it."

Hamilton-Wenham

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: Andrew Morency (8th season)

Last year's record: 6-4

Strengths: Potent running attack and offensive line. Veteran leadership at wide receiver.

Concerns: Inexperience at quarterback and center position.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Enthusiasm and a strong senior class excited for a playoff run should bode well for coach Andrew Morency and the Generals in 2013. Having the largest player turnout since Morency took over eight years ago doesn't hurt either. The worry at quarterback should be lessened by the presence of sophomore runner Cam Macri, who is an "overall dynamic back" who can hurt a team with his ability to run and catch.

Hanover

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: Chris Landolfi (1st season)

Last year's record: 2-8

Strengths: Leadership of the senior class.

Concerns: Depth and size of junior class.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Chris Landolfi spent nine seasons building as defensive coordinator in Duxbury, helping to build the Dragons into a perennial football power. Now with his first head coaching job, Landolfi hopes to bring his winning ways to Hanover, who failed to win a conference game last fall. One of the biggest wildcards for the Indians could be senior quarterback Dean Prouty, who has committed to Merrimack College on a lacrosse scholarship. Prouty didn't take many snaps under center last season behind league All-Star Ryan Bennett, but Landolfi views him as a tough-nosed, intelligent leader who can be mobile in the pocket. Fellow senior Chris Rosinski, who has been getting interest from local college football programs, should prove to be an explosive, two-way player for the Indians as both a tight end and a defensive end. Depth is a concern for Landolfi, who brings 14 seniors and only 10 juniors into the 2013 season, but the attitude and work ethic of his senior class has never been a worry. "They're pretty skilled," said Landolfi. "All together, they're just good leaders. They worked hard all offseason. They've done everything we've asked. They've been great setting an example for the younger kids." Freshman Matt Hughes (6-1, 220) should make an immediate impact at offensive guard, while fellow freshman Patrick Flynn (6-2, 205) will provide stability as a backup on the offensive line.

Haverhill

Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

Coach: Tim O'Connor (4th season)

Last year's record:

Strengths: Defensive secondary and LB core, as well as O-Line

Concerns: Defensive line and experience at the skill positions.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Haverhill had an excellent season last year, going 8-1 and coming in second place in the MVC Small behind only Tewksbury. A very physical defensive team, the Hillies should ride their 17 returning starters to another good record, but rookies at the quarterback and running back positions may slow them a bit on offense.

Hingham

Playoff alignment: Division 3SW South

Coach: Paul Killinger (17th season)

Last year's record: 8-3

Strengths: Returning players, Spaziani, Brodie, Benger.

Concerns: Size.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Harbormen's goal is the same every year – beat Duxbury. With a new turf stadium that should be ready for the Harbormen's October 4th home opener, Killinger thinks 2013 will be their year to take home the league title. "Everyone's excited about it," he said about the stadium," We're hoping to get Duxbury that night to christen the field." Not only is the field working in the Harbormen's favor, but three returning senior captains and one talented recruit. Joe Spaziani, son of former Boston College coach Frank Spaziani, Sammy Benger, and Caleb Brodie will lead as captains, and Hingham baseball phenom Austin Irvin will start at wide receiver. Killinger said his approach is to take it one game at a time, but has a feeling that this might be the year of the Harbormen.

Holbrook

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Luke Riso (1st season)

Last year's record: 6-2

Strengths: Enthusiasm from a new coach

Concerns: Injuries and depth

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Coach Riso takes over from longtime coach Fran Cass. Riso was an assistant coach at Holbrook so the transition shouldn't be difficult. And with back-to-back 6-2 seasons there's obviously talent, even with the absence of strong feeder programs in town. The new playoff sysytem could be a plus for Holbrook.

Holliston

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: Todd Kiley (11th season)

Last year's record: 7-4

Strengths: Speed, experience at the skill positions.

Concerns: Depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Following three straight Tri-Valley Large titles from 2009 to 2011, Holliston is looking to reclaim the TVL's top spot after dropping the title match to Westwood last Thanksgiving. Holliston returns many of the offensive weapons that drove the Panthers to the highest points-per-game total in Division 3 last fall (30.4), but will have to replace TVL Large MVP Max Athy at quarterback (1,300 yards rushing, 19 total touchdowns). Under center, the Panthers will rotate between juniors Joe Bellomo and Nick Athy. Alex Mitchell, a 5-9 sophomore, will man the backfield as well as a defensive end position. Juniors John do Carmo (tight end and linebacker in 2012) and Connor Lefevra have worked hard in the offseason to prepare for stints along the offensive line, one of the places where the Panthers have concerns entering the season. "We've got some younger guys, so three or four kids are playing in different roles for us," said Kiley. "They're unselfish kids who came to us in the offseason recognizing we needed certain help in certain areas."

Hopkinton

Playoff alignment: Division 3SW South

Coach: Jim Girard (4th season)

Last year's record: 9-2

Strengths: Experienced linebackers; special teams.

Concerns: Inexperience on offense; size on offensive and defensive lines.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: There has been very little standing in the way of Hopkinton and a playoff berth over the past two seasons, as the Hillers have rattled off a 19-3 record and averaged over 30 points per contest. The only issue is that all three losses have come in league play, falling to Holliston for their lone loss in 2011, and dropping to Holliston and Westwood last fall. This season, the Hillers will spend the first part of the season gaining an identity on offense, as Hopkinton returns only two starters on offense. Junior Patrick Ryan will quarterback the offense, taking the place of Hank Rudden, who tied Mike Pecina for the program's single-season record for passing touchdowns (18) in 2012. Jake Lehman (offensive line) and Ryan Bohlin (linebacker) were three-year starters the Hillers will have to replace as well. Outside the numbers, coach Jim Girard thinks senior wideout Luke Moschini could be a threat to opposing secondaries after getting stronger and faster during the offseason. "We know we're young," said Girard, "so it'll take a little longer for us to get going, for kids to figure out positions and what to do. It might be slow going at first but our goal is to compete, be aggressive on defense, take chances on offense, and be disciplined. It's going to be about taking care of the football."

Hull

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Jake McGrath (11th season)

Last year's record: 4-7

Strengths: Team speed, coachability.

Concerns: Depth, lack of experience.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Pirates are counting on this season's new playoff format to give them an opportunity to improve from last year. "We have a positive outlook on the new schedule. Our school only has 140 boys so they don't have to play schools with 400 to 500 boys. It obviously gives a lot more chances for everybody to get postseason play," said coach Jake McGrath. Sophomore Joe Dubovy will take over as quarterback this season after a promising performance in preseason.

Ipswich

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: Greg Brotherton (1st season)

Last year's record: 2-9

Strengths: Enthusiasm from a new coach

Concerns: Loss of four seniors on offensive line

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Tigers will start with new faces on the offensive line, just one of many challenges for new coach Greg Brotherton. But Brotherton isn't all that new. He's an Ipswich graduate and former assistant coach so it's familiar turf. The Tigers must recharge an offense that scored just 14.5 ppg last fall.

King Philip

Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

Coach: Brian Lee (9th season)

Last year's record: 10-1

Strengths: Experience.

Concerns: Revamped offensive and defensive lines.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: King Philip coach Brian Lee's squad brings back all its playmakers on the offensive side, including seniors Joey Johnston at the tailback spot, Brett McEvoy at tight end and John Dillon under center. But the Warriors look drastically different up front with senior right guard Mike Cook as the only returning starter on either line from a team that finished tied for first in the Hockomock (Kelley-Rex) league. "When you lose four out of five starters on the O-line and your whole D-line, you're concerned about it," Lee said. But Lee also likes what he sees out of his first units on both sides of the ball, and KP will likely be in the thick of the Hockomock playoff picture as October wraps up.

Latin Academy

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Rocco Zizza (6th season)

Last year's record: 8-3

Strengths: Quarterback Kyle Dance an experienced offensive line.

Concerns: Staying healthy, staying eligible with good grades.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: After leading Boston South in points per game last year with 23.1, Latin Academy looks to continue its dominance as it eyes a South Division championship. Along with senior leadership from Dance the Dragons expect to excel once again in coach Rocco Zizza's sixth season. "Our outlook is to show up every day, and finish the year," Zizza said. "As long as we work hard everyday and play hard, and improve we can accept the record at the end of the year. Our goal is not necessarily to win games, but to play as well as we can. And we can live with that."

Lawrence

Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

Coach: Mike Yameen (9th season)

Last year's record: 3-8

Strengths: Offensive line.

Concerns: Youth, lack of depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: With three returners on the offensive line protecting him, a lot of pressure has been placed on returning junior QB Nelson Valerio, who threw for over 2,000 yards last season. Should Valerio and the other young Lancers continue to improve, expect last season's 3-8 record to improve with them.

Lexington

Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

Coach: George Peterson (3d season)

Last year's record: 4-7

Strengths: Young but athletic at the skill positions on offense.

Concerns: Youth, especially along the offensive line.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: In his first two seasons as Lexington's coach, George Peterson was lucky enough to have a roster full of experience; seniors who had played in a handful of contests, and bench players to match. This fall, Peterson will line up seven players on both side of the ball who have never played in a varsity game. Lexington was hit hardest up front, as the Minutemen return only one player on the offensive line, and must move on without offensive and defensive tackle Nick Nerolian (University of Albany). While the offensive line works to find its identity over the first few weeks of the season, sophomore Jeff Costello will line up behind the line's only returning starter, Rhett Adley. An "elusive, very accurate thrower," according to Peterson, Costello will replace last year's dual-threat starter in Xander Erickson (1,640 yards and 10 passing touchdowns; 159 rushes for 429 yards and seven touchdowns). Junior wideout Connor Murphy and running back Mike Fernandes should provide some pop in the Minuteman offense, but change won't come overnight. "We try to take things on a day to day basis and that's what we preach and focus on." said Peterson "We're focused on getting better every single day. Having to get through the mistakes and the learning curve of playing in a varsity game will be the biggest change for us."

Lincoln-Sudbury

Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

Coach: Tom Lopez (36th season)

Last year's record: 10-1

Strengths: Good core.

Concerns: Secondary; filling holes.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Lincoln-Sudbury enters as three-time defending Dual County (Large) champs. To win a fourth, the Warriors will have to overcome "a ton" of lost starters. Coach Tom Lopez says the team is rebuilding a bit and "experimenting by trial and error" trying to find players to fill the holes left by last year's seniors. Quarterback Henry Guile and linebacker Chris Georgio have graduated. Senior Ben Collello will step into the quarterback position. With all the losses, Lopez still believes the team has a good enough core to have another successful campaign.

Lowell

Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

Coach: John Florence (3d season)

Last year's record: 9-2

Strengths: Skill positions

Concerns: Depth on offensive line

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Lowell is loaded with skill players at the receiver and running back positions. Receiver Jack Galvin had 10 touchdowns and over 900 yards last season, and Ngaiiva Mason and Shy Cullen combine for a strong backfield. The concern will be stocking the offensive line, which graduated all five starters. For the third straight year, Lowell has a new quarterback. Brian Dolan, a 6-foot-1-inch senior from Lawrence Academy, will step in. Lowell gave up 21.7 points per game last season, but the defense looks primed for an improvement with Cullen and Nicolau Coury at linebacker.

Lowell Catholic

Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

Coach: Rick Sampson (3d season)

Last year's record: 10-1

Strengths: Teem speed

Concerns: Loss of graduated starters

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Coach Rick Sampson will be challenged to have back-to-back great seasons in his third year as coach while dealing with the loss of a number of starters to graduation. The hope is for the team captains to lead the way and continue their success of last year. "The captains are all outstanding young men and three year starters," coach Sampson said. Connor Sullivan, an outstanding slot back, Chris Tamukedde, a running back, and Kevin Paige, a strong defensive player, are all key figures in 2013. "We have to stay healthy," said Sampson. "We have a lot of numbers but not a lot of depth at the varsity level, so its important to stay healthy."

Lynn Classical

Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

Coach: Tim Phelps (6th season)

Last year's record: 7-3

Strengths: Experienced offense, team chemistry,

Concerns: Defensive line.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Rams made a huge jump last season, finishing 7-3 after a 4-6 campaign in 2011, and will look to keep it up this fall with what coach Tim Phelps described as a group that has gelled well early. "Not to say everything is running exactly how it should be," Phelps said. "But it's a pretty tight-knit group." Their double-winged T offense features four returning all-conference players who will again be key cogs: senior quarterback Jordan Brown, senior running back Brad Scuzzarella, junior running back Devon Crayton, and senior fullback Justin Avery. "It starts up front," Phelps said. "All [four] started as sophomores. We're going to look to them for strength." The offensive and defensive lines return a combined three starters.

Lynn English

Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

Coach: Peter Holey (6th season)

Last year's record: 6-5

Strengths: Skill positions.

Concerns: Offensive line.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Coach Peter Holey is confident in his skill positions, highlighted by a battle at quarterback between Haverhill transfer Jordan Javier and Lucas Harris. The question mark for the Bulldogs is the offensive line. Defensive Player of the Year in the CAL/NEC Division 1 Chris Tinkham anchors the offensive line, but Holey says others are "untested at the varsity level." Regardless, Holey says the team will be able to score points and be aggressive on defense.

Lynn Tech

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: James Runner (4th season)

Last year's record: 3-7

Strengths: Experience on the line

Concerns: Depth

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: After a disappointing year in 2012, the Tigers return 12 seniors and are looking to get back to their winning ways. They've moved to the Small Division of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference and head coach James Runner believes it will help in the long run. "The competition will be right where it needs to be for us," Runner said. Senior defensive ends Roberto Brown and Billy Ferrar will anchor the defensive line, as Runner called them his "twin towers." Playing together since freshman year, "they've gone through it all," Runner said. In their final year, they have the chance to put Lynn Tech back on track. "We're moving forward as far as the program goes," Runner said.

Lynnfield

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: Neil Weidman (6th season)

Last year's record: 9-3

Strengths: Depth at wide receiver and team speed.

Concerns: Inexperience at varsity level(graduated 17 seniors).

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Consistency, that's what coach Weidman thinks it'll take for Lynnfield to make the leap to Super Bowl champions instead of runner-up in 2013. The Pioneers rode their defense into the postseason (9.4 pg/a) before losing, 21-7, to Bishop Feehan in the D3A finale. It was the team's inability to score when they needed it most that hindered the team. "We just need to be more consistent on both sides of the football," said coach Neil Weidman. Team speed and a strong crop of runners and receivers should help the Pioneers offensive attack improve enough to compliment their defense and give them another shot at a title.

Madison Park

Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

Coach: Roosevelt Robinson (19th season)

Last year's record: 7-4

Strengths: Defensive awareness, team speed.

Concerns: Depth. New playoff format.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: You can never count out the Cardinals as long as Roosevelt Robinson is at the helm, no matter what division they're in, no matter what playoff format is in place. Madison Park surprised a few by taking it all the way to Gillete last season before losing to Cathedral in the Division 4A Super Bowl. Robinson again wants to run the ball led by what he hopes is a strong line. The Cardinals will be super young as a team (returning only 4 starters total), but if they approach last year's defensive effort (7.6 pa/g), MP could be in the hunt again.

Malden

Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

Coach: Joe Pappagallo (5th season)

Last year's record: 3-8

Strengths: Offensive line; defensive speed.

Concerns: Offseason injuries.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Golden Tornadoes finished third in the GBL a year ago, and with nearly the entire starting defense returning coach Joe Pappagallo is expecting good things for the upcoming season. Some offseason injuries on defense have been "disheartening," according to Pappagallo, but he said the team's goal is still to make the playoffs. "We have a lot of good athletes. We're coming in with depth and experience, but we need to build skill." The coach anticipates big things from offensive linemen Matt Delaney, a senior captain, and junior Josh Bessey, as well as senior running back Ray Sainristil. "He's a special athlete," said Pappagallo of Sainristil, who rushed for 12 touchdowns last season. "We have to ride those legs. Give him space and he's going to have one heck of a year."

Malden Catholic

Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

Coach: Jeff Smith (3d season)

Last year's record: 2-9

Strengths: Depth at running back and skill positions.

Concerns: Overall depth, inexperience.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Senior quarterback Brendan Tobey, who has started since he was a sophomore, was injured last season and returns to lead the Lancers. Tobey, a dual threat under center, also has a strong supporting cast in the backfield, with backs like Alex Massa and Devin Gauthier. The looming concern for Smith is that his team is inexperienced, resulting in the use of freshmen and sophomores in key positions. But the Lancers dealt with a similar situation last season, and the third-year coach is confident his team can play through the adversity.

Manchester Essex

Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

Coach: Michael Athanas (10th season)

Last year's record: 3-8

Strengths: Superior offensive line, strong core of experienced linebackers.

Concerns: Depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Coach Athanas believes the Hornets have a "good mixture" of young and old on the team this season, which he thinks will turn into a winning recipe. His football philosophy on winning revolves around defense, and with a strong core of linebackers returning, Athanas is optomistic it will be team strength this fall.

Mansfield

Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

Coach: Mike Redding (26th season)

Last year's record: 8-5

Strengths: Speed and experience at skill positions.

Concerns: Size and experience on both offensive and defensive lines.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Mansfield appears destined for another deep playoff run, as the Hornets bring back 11 starters from last year's squad that fell to Reading in the Division 2 Super Bowl. Senior quarterback Kyle Wisnieski has a very familiar cast of weapons at his disposal with the receiving core and backfield largely remaining intact from a year ago, headlined by senior receiver Brendan Hill. But injuries and player discipline cases will keep Mansfield from being at full strength to start the season, and coach Mike Redding is eyeing the start of October as the point when his team will begin to reach its potential. "We may be three or four weeks away from being a very good football team," Redding said.

Marblehead

Playoff alignment: Division 3NE North

Coach: Jim Rudloff (5th season)

Last year's record: 8-3

Strengths: Receivers.

Concerns: Inexperience at key positions.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Coach Jim Rudloff returns league All-Star seniors Brian Daley and Jeremy Gillis leading the pack. Rudloff said, "how and when this team comes together and plays to their potential will determine our success." The Magicians kick off the season against rival Danvers and don't face their first league opponent until September 28 against Swampscott.

Marian

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Gene Robinson (4th season)

Last year's record: 2-9

Strengths: Returning starters.

Concerns: The secondary.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Coach Gene Robinson has the luxury of having his entire starting offense return this year. The familiarity should bode well for the Mustangs who hope to have a stronger season and be more competitive. "We have a lot of kids that have all played football before," coach Robinson said. To go along with their returning offense, the Mustangs also see 75 percent of their starting defense returning. Robinson expects quarterback Andrew Sharkey, two-time all-star and senior captain to have a big season. Senior Brandon Walsh, an all purpose player and two-year captain, will also lead the squad. "Both of these players are excellent role models, leaders in the school and very good student-athletes," said coach Robinson. "They do everything that's asked of them on and off the field."

Marshfield

Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

Coach: Lou Silva (33d season)

Last year's record: 0-11

Strengths: Experience.

Concerns: Very young team.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Rams are looking to overcome a tough season last year in which they struggled to win a single game. The young team's extra year of experience will hopefully help them record a win a game in the tough ACL.One plus is the return of 6-4, 250-pound lineman Aidan Beresford. Opening against defending champion Plymouth South won't help with a fast start but look for the Rams to be much-improved.

Martha's Vineyard

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Coach: Donald Herman (26th season)

Last year's record: 7-4

Strengths: Speed and athleticism.

Concerns: Size and experience, along with a challenging schedule.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Vineyarders have 10 returning players from last year's squad and the longest-tenured head coach in the Eastern Athletic Conference. MV is trying to equal or best its 7-4 record from a year ago but coach Herman admits it won't be an easy road. "We have a very challenging schedule," said Herman. "Of our first seven games, only Brighton is in our division. All other [opponents] are either one or two divisions above us." Herman is hoping his team's speed and having more depth on the roster this year will power the Vineyarders through a tough schedule in 2013.

Masconomet

Playoff alignment: Division 3NE North

Coach: James Pugh (25th season)

Last year's record: 9-3

Strengths: Depth and strength.

Concerns: Experience at quarterback.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Masconomet looks to have the makings of another playoff team as it welcomes back 13 starters, including senior running back Michael Tivinis, who was inactive for most of 2012 with a lingering hamstring problem. Head coach James Pugh expects Tivinis and fellow senior MacKenzie Cashin to be a dynamic backfield, calling them a "strong, athletic tandem" and one of the better units the program has seen. The Chieftains are in the Large division of the Cape Ann League after it split from the Northeastern Conference, and Pugh is looking forward to the challenge that presents. "We haven't played the Cape Ann teams in two years, so we're looking forward to it."

Mashpee

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Matt Triveri (9th season)

Last year's record: 8-3

Strengths: Athleticism, toughness.

Concerns: Depth, lack of experience.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: After losing the majority of its starters, including the entire backfield, Mashpee will look to the few returning to step up as leaders. Freshman Nick Carpenter will take on the role of quarterback and Triveri says he's shown great potential, but the challenge will be his lack of experience. Junior linebacker Ethan West returns after making 54 tackles as a sophomore last season. Another asset will be sophomore DeShaun Dias who scored 5 touchdowns as a freshman.

Matignon

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Anthony Nalen (1st season)

Last year's record: 2-9

Strengths: Offensive line.

Concerns: Lack of depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Coach Anthony Nalen enters his first season as head coach of the Matignon Warriors. The coach is not the only new piece to enter the program this season as the Warriors expect to start seven sophomores and two freshman. Nalen expects his team leaders to provide the leadership necessary and become role models for the younger players. "If we got off to a rocky start, I would expect our senior led group to just put our nose to the ground and keep battling week in and week out," said coach Nalen. Running back Akeem Anderson, one of the only three seniors returning, has been a three-year starter and a player the team is really counting on. Rounding out the senior group are defensive lineman Dennis Biddy and middle linebacker Ryan Bono.

Medfield

Playoff alignment: Division 3SW South

Coach: Erik Ormberg (3d season)

Last year's record: 4-7

Strengths: Good depth at the skill positions.

Concerns: Many first-year varsity starters.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Things appear to be looking up for Medfield, a team looking for its first conference victory since 2010 and first winning season since 2008. The Warriors have entered camp in peak condition, according to third-year coach Erik Ormberg, a variable he hopes will help his team in the long run. Two-way starter Tommy Sears will be back under center, and his ability to both stand in the pocket and run with the ball could greatly benefit the Warrior offense. Junior Matt Patry, who was injured part of last season, could be poised for a breakout year at the split end position, while tight end Alex Wong has had a great preseason. The backfield will have to replace the offense of graduated running back Ryan Spillane, but a group of five backs will all be fighting for carries - senior Ross Bovarnick, juniors Griffin Melina, Zach Demello, and Josh Hirschfeld, and sophomore George Sawan. Linebacker Joe Davanage, who missed games last fall with an illness, should alleviate the loss of Tri-Valley Large All-Star Arthur D'Angelo, an outside linebacker who Ormberg called "one of the best defensive players I've ever coached." "One of our goals this year is we want to be .500 or better in the TVL large," said Ormberg. It's a very competitive division, but we know if we want to be in the discussion in this new playoff system, we need a couple of wins within our league."

Medford

Playoff alignment: Division 3NW North

Coach: Jason Nascimento (2nd season)

Last year's record: 0-10

Strengths: Senior leadership; Skill positions

Concerns: Transition to new offense; depth of offensive and defensive lines

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Jason Nascimento is entering his first full season as head coach of the Mustangs and said that his inaugural training camp has gone well. "Camp's been good. The kids bonded well," said Nascimento, referring to the team's trip to New Hampshire. After going without a win last season, the Mustangs will rely heavily on the senior class. "The entire senior class, we've challenged them. We need them to have a major impact and a lot of them came in in good shape," said Nascimento. Medford is transitioning to a new spread/hurry-up offense, and while Nascimento said it will take time to get everyone on the same page, he still expects good things from a number of players on that side of the ball. Senior quarterback Reggie Thelemaque headlines the offense, while sophomore WR Myles Olivier, and juniors Jose Lopes (WR) and Xavier Gibson (RB) could also have an impact.

Medway

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: Dave McSweeney (6th season)

Last year's record: 5-6

Strengths: Experience; senior leadership.

Concerns: Depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: In Dave McSweeney's first three seasons with Medway, the Mustangs steamrolled the opposition en route to a 29-4 record, but losses in conference play failed to earn the schools first-ever playoff berth. Following the first sub-.500 season of the McSweeney era, Medway returns a seasoned group of 29 seniors, most of whom have been within the program since freshman year. With the return of Tri-Valley Large All-Star Anthony Parchesky (just under 1,700 yards rushing) and the emergence of quarterback Andrew Henry at the tail end of last fall, the Mustang backfield appears strong. Senior Tim Huffam will be a player to watch at the tight end and middle linebacker positions, while all eyes will surely be on the offensive and defensive lines this season. Led by 6-4, 285-pound Kevin Sheehan and 6-5, 290-pound Lafayette-commit Cam Smith, the O-line should be a destructive force on defense and should open holes for Parchesky. "Our ultimate goal is to make the playoffs," said McSweeney, "and you can't make the playoffs unless you take care of business every week."

Methuen

Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

Coach: Tom Tone (3d season)

Last year's record: 3-8

Strengths: Offensive chemistry.

Concerns: Defensive experience, offensive line.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: With an influx of seniors, the Rangers look to improve upon a dismal 3-8 campaign last fall. Overall depth may pause that quest for the time being, though.

Middleborough

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: Pat Kingman (3d season)

Last year's record: 6-4

Strengths: Veteran skill players on offense; seasoned secondary.

Concerns: Leadership, 11 graduating seniors.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Sachems took a giant step forward in 2012, locking up the program's first winning season since the team was an independent school in 2005. Though they lost 11 seniors, the Sachems have plenty of role players returning to be excited about. Junior Cody DiBiase will take over under center, and has both the arm and the speed to be a dual-threat quarterback. Fellow junior Casey Tucker will line up behind DiBiase in the backfield, while Taylor Frazier and Lucas Poteau will line up at wide receiver and slot receiver, respectively. The Sachem linebacking core takes a hit with the loss of four-year starter Alex Allioth (142 tackles in 2012), but a solid defensive line should keep opposing offenses honest.

Milford

Playoff alignment: Division 3SW South

Coach: Joe Todd (1st season)

Last year's record: 2-9

Strengths: Running game.

Concerns: Develop quarterback, passing game.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Joe Todd takes over as head coach at Milford as the team moves to the Hockomock (Davenport) for the first time this season. Todd is familiar with the Hockomock, as he was the former defensive coordinator at Mansfield. Todd wants his Eagles to be balanced on offense out of the spread, but if push comes to shove, he wants to pound the ground game. "If all things were equal and it's a balanced defense, we're going to run the ball," he said. Junior quarterback John Hearns serves as a duel threat on offense with Milford running the zone run scheme.

Millis

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Dale Olmsted (8th season)

Last year's record: 10-2

Strengths: Offensive and defensive lines.

Concerns: Young team.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: After back-to-back successful seasons, coach Dale Olmsted's biggest concern coming into the season is having a young team. The Mohawks graduated 18 seniors last spring. Boston College-bound senior John Baker is anchoring the offensive and defensive lines which is one of the Mohawks strongest points coming into the season. The lack of experience is one the primary concerns for Olmsted, with sophomores in the starting line and most likely will have to call up some freshman. "If they are not competitive its gonna be a long season," he said.

Milton

Playoff alignment: Division 3SW South

Coach: Jim Bowes (5th season)

Last year's record: 6-5

Strengths: Experienced quarterback, running game and offensive line

Concerns: Defensive pass coverage

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: When the Wildcats started their 2012 campaign 1-5, it looked as if a repeat of their 1-10 season from 2011 was imminent. Instead, Milton rattled off five straight wins to finish their season over .500 as head coach Jim Bowes equaled the win total from his first three years at the helm. Senior signal-caller Liam Collins will take his place behind center with two full seasons of experience under his belt and will look to utilize a skilled receiving corps led by junior Jonathan Pierre who led the team with six touchdown receptions a year ago. Chula Loomis and Leroy Goodman provide Collins with stability in the backfield, giving the offense a wealth of go-to options. Senior linemen Zack Mazzarella and Kevin Sampson will give Collins some time to work his reads while both also factor in the pass rush on the defensive side of the ball, with Loomis standing tall behind them in the linebacking unit. The Wildcats will be tested right out of the gate when they face Division 2 Super Bowl runner-up Mansfield in week one.

Minuteman

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Brian Tildsley (6th season)

Last year's record: 5-5

Strengths: Attitude, experience, and senior leadership.

Concerns: Returning to the Commonwealth Athletic Conference.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Minuteman Mustangs will make their return to the Commonwealth Small this year, after going 12-8 over the past two seasons playing as an Independent. Last year the Mustangs earned their first post-season berth in the program's history as a finalist in the Vocational Super Bowl. The team will be lead by running back Zahir Ramsey who comes in with 162 points over the last three seasons. Seniors Matt Ball and Braeden Kerins will also be "go to" guys for what should be a very fast-paced offensive attack. Defensively the Mustangs will be anchored by John Kelly and Devante Thorton, both tipping the scales at 300-plus. "The players and coaches are chomping at the bit to get going this year. We know about our potential this year with the new format and are excited about returning to the [Commonwealth Small)," said Coach Tildsley.

Monomoy

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Terrence Roche (1st season)

Last year's record: 1-1

Strengths: Quarterback and wide receiver.

Concerns: Depth, size,and rejoining the South Shore League.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Entering his first year as head coach after two years as assistant at Monomoy, Terrence Roche has to build from the ground up. His first priority is developing younger players and then focusing on one game at a time. After only playing two varsity games as an independent school last season the Sharks will face schools with much more experience. With a new turf field and new head coach, the Sharks are starting off on a clean slate.

Mystic Valley

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Craig Turner (1st season)

Last year's record: 1-9

Strengths: Depth on offensive and defensive lines and returning wide receivers.

Concerns: Youth and inexperience.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: After a disappointing season last year, Mystic Valley is on the cusp of a fresh start with first-year coach Craig Turner. Turner said he can already see positive changes occurring after switching from the Wing-T to the spread offense. He believes the switch will have a direct effect on their record. "It's generated a lot of excitement from the kids. They seem excited and rejuvenated by it," Turner said. As far as the new playoff format, Turner said playing against more small schools can only benefit his team.

Nantucket

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Bill Manchester (3d season)

Last year's record: 4-7

Strengths: Team size, versatility, and athleticism.

Concerns: Inexperience at the varsity level. Depth.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: In 2011 the Whalers took home the Division 5 championship in coach Manchester's first year. After struggling in 2012, Nantucket should be able to regroup this season with younger players who gained some experience during game time last fall. Manchester is excited, though, claiming his team is the "the biggest they've been in a long time". If the younger players can latch on to the team's plans quickly enough, Nantucket's mixture of size and athleticism could make them a dangerous opponent.

Natick

Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

Coach: Mark Mortarelli (4th season)

Last year's record: 11-2

Strengths: Passing game

Concerns: Running game

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: You would be hard pressed to find a better passing attack than that of the Red and Blue's. With the return of All-Scholastics Brian Dunlap and Troy Flutie, the sky is once against the limit for Natick's hopes of returning to glory. Dunlap, a junior receiver, has racked up 155 catches, 41 for touchdowns, in just two seasons and the BC-bound Flutie, now in his senior season at quarterback, is a threat with both his arm and legs (over 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing last year). Add to the mix senior receivers Alex Hilger and Justin Robinson and you have a recipe for big offense. Natick's running game may be a question mark, but with a passing attack like this, the door will be open for someone to breakout behind Flutie. Defensively the Red and Blue will rely on senior Mike Abbruzzese to lock down the opponents passing attack, while senior Gus Black leads the linebacking unit. With a loss in last year's Division 2A Super Bowl fresh in their memories, look for Natick to come out swinging as they try to return to the title game under the new playoff format.

Nauset

Playoff alignment: Division 3SE South

Coach: Keith Kenyon (4th season)

Last year's record: 9-2

Strengths: Team Speed.

Concerns: Lack of depth, inexperience.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Warriors graduated 24 seniors and will have to try to make the playoffs with a young team. Coach Keith Kenyon is confident in his returning starter Jimmy Sullivan, who led the team in rushing and passing, to run the single-wing offense. Kenyon also emphasized the importance of his team's ability to remain healthy in order to compete for a playoff berth in the new system. "There's no room for error," Kenyon said. "You have to play hard every week, so you have to stay healthy if you're going to have a chance to qualify for the playoffs." While Kenyon voted for the new playoff format, he believes that it may need some improvement. "It's not perfect," Kenyon said. "But it's a step in the right direction and I think there's going to be some wrinkles to iron out of it as we go forward."

Needham

Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

Coach: David Duffy (18th season)

Last year's record: 8-3

Strengths: Strong running game.

Concerns: Depth on the line, injuries.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: When you start with Mike Panepinto you know the Rockets will be able to put points on the board. The senior back had an All-Scholastic season, finishing with 2,085 yards and 26 touchdowns. Ryan Charter returns at quarterback. The focus will again be on the running game and with Westwood and Walpole first up for Needham, the Rockets will find out quick if they have what it takes to return to the postseason.

New Bedford

Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

Coach: Dennis Golden (10th season)

Last year's record: 5-5

Strengths: Experience at skill positions

Concerns: Tightening up defense.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Senior receiver Kevin Nunes returns to the Whalers offense which means New Bedford will again be able to put points on the board. But the Whalers also gave up a lot last fall and the focus will be on tightening up the defensive side of the ball.

New Mission

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Michael Pittman Forman (2nd season)

Last year's record: 0-8

Strengths: Skill positions, especially at quarterback and linebacker.

Concerns: Offensive and defensive line, overall team size.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: After New Mission's first season with a football team, Forman looks to build a program on dedication and commitment. New Mission has some returning skill players on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, so Forman hopes to build off of that and win his first game as head coach. "This year I expect to be more competitive, to win some games," Forman said. "We didn't win any last year, and the overall goal of any city team is to win that city championship."

Newburyport

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: Ed Gaudiano (26th season)

Last year's record: 6-5

Strengths: Defense, team speed.

Concerns: Offense.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: With the hiring of new assistant coaches on the offensive side, Newburyport is ditching the shotgun in favor of running the trap option from under center. Junior Michael Shay leads an inexperienced offense that coach Ed Gaudiano thinks will benefit from having its bye week in Week 1, calling the unit "a work in progess." "We've got a lot of guys who were junior varsity guys (last year) who are trying to make the jump up," Gaudiano said. Meanwhile, the defense is anchored by league All-Star and senior Dillon Guthro, who enters his third season as a starter on the defensive line. Guthro was the defensive player of the year in the Cape Ann Small last year.

Newton North

Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

Coach: Peter Capodilupo (30th season)

Last year's record: 5-6

Strengths: Senior leadership, depth at skill positions.

Concerns: Inexperience at key positions.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Longtime Tigers coach Peter Capodilupo has plenty of returning players from last year's 5- 6 team, and he has confidence in his 2013 captains. Newton North is looking to make noise in the Carey Division on offense with its plethora of talent at the skill positions. In order to have success, Capodilupo believes his underclassmen will have to play a big role. "Our sophomores are as key for us as our senior class. We've got some kids who are very good if they can become accustomed to playing varsity football."

Newton South

Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

Coach: Ted Dalicandro (8th season)

Last year's record: 3-8

Strengths: Athleticism; skill positions.

Concerns: Offensive and defensive line depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Newton South won three games last season, an improvement over their winless season of 2011. This season, with 27 returning lettermen and 12 starters back, the hope is to up the win total a little more. "Our expectation is to be competitive in every game we play," said head coach Ted Dalicandro. "Our goal is to get better every week and win games." Junior quarterback Nick Heras and senior receivers Drew Levine and Tyrone Thornton will anchor the offense, while seniors Kevin Dober (OLB) and Jake Alexander (SS) are players to watch for on defense.

North Andover

Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

Coach: John Rafferty (13th season)

Last year's record: 4-6

Strengths: Offense, particularly QB/WR.

Concerns: Four rookies on defense, including two in the secondary.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: If the defense holds strong, this senior-laden, experienced squad might make some noise. "Three returning starters on the offensive and defensive lines gives us experience there," said coach John Rafferty." Third-year starting quarterback Casey Walsh is a strength as well as returning starting receivers Matt Iannone and Robert Shkliew. Tom Stabile will hold down the running back position.

North Attleborough

Playoff alignment: Division 3SW South

Coach: Don Johnson (5th season)

Last year's record: 7-4

Strengths: Versatility and depth at running back.

Concerns: New faces on offensive and defensive lines.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: A lot of turnover for North Attleboro this season as the Red Rocketeers only bring back five starters from a year ago. Seniors Jack Blase, Matt D'Attilio, and Mike Lambert round out a deep backfield, which coach Don Johnson said will "give us good balance and allow us to throw and run the ball." Senior offensive tackle Evan Sweeney anchors an inexperienced offensive line, but Johnson hopes that the new players up front can mature quickly. "We're not going to be as big as in the past, so we'll have to rely on our athleticism."

North Quincy

Playoff alignment: Division 3SW South

Coach: Mark Nutley (1st season)

Last year's record: 3-7

Strengths: Experience at running back.

Concerns: Depth and overall youth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: After previously serving as North Quincy's defensive coordinator and special teams coach, coach Mark Nutley is eager to guide the Red Raiders to their first winning season since 2010. The offense will be without former quarterback Andrew Minton and starting center Matt Deagle, but the Red Raiders return a dynamic duo of Patriot Fisher All-Stars to platoon their backfield. Led by seniors Antoine Allen (over 1,350 yards rushing) and Eddie Guinto (980 rushing yards), North Quincy will look to capitalize on plenty of two-back sets in its new offense. Nutley thinks there could be some serious potential in junior offensive lineman Nick Manning as well as senior defensive lineman Chris Clare, who was banged up last fall. The number of upperclassmen on the roster is still a concern for Nutley, but with a group of 20-plus sophomores filling in the 52-man squad, he knows this is an opportunity for young players to not only get valuable playing time, but get acclimated with his new system. "We're starting everything brand new," said Nutley. "Our offense is completely different. Our defense is completely different. Our whole numbering system is different. It's a whole new package for these guys."

North Reading

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: Jeff Wall (11th season)

Last year's record: 8-2

Strengths: Work ethic.

Concerns: Inexperience at quarterback.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: North Reading graduated a strong senior class that helped the Hornets continue their dramatic rise as a program. But coach Jeff Wall doesn't want people to forget about this year's cast of seniors whom he said played a big role in last year's 8-2 campaign. "Everyone's kind of putting us in the shadows of last year, but these kids want to make a name for themselves," Wall said. The Hornets seem to be prepared for that challenge as they return six starters on both sides of the ball. Wall expects a big year out of senior running back CJ McCarthy out of the single wing, run-heavy attack. But North Reading was forced to make a quarterback change, with senior Ryan Sanborn running the show. Wall said Sanborn has never played the position before, but Wall isn't concerned since the passing attack is not a big part of the Hornet offense. "We needed pretty much our best athlete back there," Wall said. On defense, senior Michael Cresta mans the middle linebacker spot with his combination of aggressiveness and intelligence.

North Shore

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Paul Worth (18th season)

Last year's record: 8-4

Strengths: Hard off-season training, great work ethic and a strong backfield.

Concerns: Lack of varsity depth.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: This season will be former defensive back Ian Lefazour's first under center, however that does not worry coach Paul Worth. That could be due to his stud tailback Ross Murphy returning to North Shore's backfield. "Murphy's a horse. Having Murphy back is nice," Worth said. "He's going to be carrying the ball a lot." Murphy's 953 yards on 155 carries was enough to get North Shore to the playoffs last year until a loss to Cathedral. As long as the entire team competes, Worth believes his squad will have a chance for the league title.

Northeast

Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

Coach: Don Heres (8th season)

Last year's record: 7-4

Strengths: Strong senior leadership and experience returning.

Concerns: Depth on the offensive line.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Led by 10 returning senior starters, the Golden Knights will look to build on last year's 7-4 season. Two of those seniors are co-captains Troy Tartarini and Marvey Mathurin, who coach Don Heres called "great leaders" and "the type of kids we're trying to produce here." Tartarini is the incumbent quarterback and Mathurin returns at linebacker. Northeast brings back depth in the backfield as well, as seniors Izzy Silva and Christian Perez and junior Kevin Rosado will all take carries. Silva and Perez both practiced with the Golden Knight team that won the Division 4A Super Bowl in 2010, and Heres is hoping that experience will pay dividends this fall.

Norton

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: Ted Currle (5th season)

Last year's record: 6-5

Strengths: Veteran experience

Concerns: Depth on both lines

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Norton finished second in the TVL Small for a second straight year and there are signs the Lancers could be competitive again in the new Division 4 South. Norton played more than its share of low-scoring, close games. The matchup with Millis on Oct. 25 could have playoff implications.

Norwell

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Coach: Jim Connor (1st season)

Last year's record: 3-8

Strengths: Returning experience; numbers and depth

Concerns: Learning a whole new system and trying to catch up quickly

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: New coach Jim Connor is trying to change the culture in the Norwell football program, and he's happy with how his team has responded so far. There are 70 players in the program, compared to the less than 40 remaining at the end of last season. This fall, Connor is hoping his five seniors will step up and spark the turnaround. Those five seniors are Aaron Hartford, George Williams, Anthony Wood-Cassella, Mike Ross, and Greg Cammaratta. "I'm looking for these guys to play a significant role for us," Connor said. "We're as good they will take us." Hartford will line up at tight end and serve as a big target for new quarterback Kris Kellaway, who started at cornerback last year. Kellaway has been thrown into the fire but is hungry to learn more, Connor said. He'll have experienced help in the backfield, as Ross and juniors Dave Talanian and Dan Hilson will carry the load at halfback. Wood-Cassella and Cammaratta will be key linebackers, while Williams will anchor the lines at defensive tackle and center. "The kids have been really buying in to the system," Connor said. "I'm very pleased with that so far."

Norwood

Playoff alignment: Division 3SW South

Coach: John Sarianides (4th season)

Last year's record: 3-8

Strengths: Senior leadership, skill positions

Concerns: Inexperience on both sides of the ball

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Just when it looked as if the Mustangs had turned a corner with a 7-4 record in 2011, they returned to norm with their third 3-8 mark in four seasons. However, there was much to take away from last season, as their offense showed great bursts, scoring 20 or more points on six occasions. Those results may not be so easy to duplicate as the offense looks to regroup in most of the skill positions, including the quarterback role which has come down to sophomores Joe Leanos and Jake Vail. The offensive and defensive lines have been depleted, but coach John Sarianides plans to use multiple looks and players to bring the units up to par as quickly as possible. Despite the lack of experience, this is a team that put a major scare into Natick last season, so they are always capable of catching teams off guard. "We only return four total starters on both sides of the ball," said Sarianides. "Despite that, we expect to be competitive. We believe that once our young guys come around, we'll be a tough out."

O'Bryant

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Kevin Gadson (6th season)

Last year's record: 6-5

Strengths: With a solid slate of returning seniors, O'Bryant will rely on their experience to provide leadership.

Concerns: Blending the more experienced players with the new guys. Also the continuance of building their system to keep attracting players in the years to come.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: After an average season during which they went 3-3 at home, O'Bryant will lean on senior leadership during their run for a South championship in 2013. The Tigers expect to rely on a stout defense that allowed an average less than two touchdowns a game last season and a work ethic echoed by head coach Gadson. "If we stay disciplined, stay hungry and if we stay academically eligible I think they'll do well for themselves." Gadson said.

Old Colony

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Bryce Guilbeault (2nd season)

Last year's record: 3-7.

Strengths: Skill at wide receiver, experience on the line and senior leadership.

Concerns: Depth, staying healthy, inexperience.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Coach Guilbeault, in his second year with the program, has been a realist. He's aware that the program hasn't had a winning record in ages. But that hasn't stopped him from being optimistic. He believes that running the same offense that's been in place since before he arrived is key for the team's success this year. But before vying for a championship this year, the Cougars will need to find a way first to get to .500.

Old Rochester

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Coach: Henry Quinlan (10th season)

Last year's record: 5-6

Strengths: Experience.

Concerns: Line play.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: It's all about the experienced gained in 2012 that will propel the Bulldogs toward competing for the conference title in 2013. A roster of 14 seniors is optimistic that their experience will change the fortune of a program that lost five games a year ago by 6 points or less. Two of those games needed overtime. The Bulldogs will look to twin brothers Hayden and Nolan Bergeron to lead them. Nolan will be the man under center leading the offense onto the field while Hayden's primary responsibility will be guiding the defense as a middle linebacker. With an adopted motto of "Team First" the Bulldogs are ready to make a push toward the postseason in 2013.

Oliver Ames

Playoff alignment: Division 3SW South

Coach: James Artz (8th season)

Last year's record: 6-5

Strengths: Offensive and defensive lines.

Concerns: Coming together as a team.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: It was a tough go for Oliver Ames in the Hockomock Davenport last year, as it finished last with a 1-3 mark. This year, coach James Artz is banking on some good line play, particularly from senior defensive end and offensive guard Colin Lozzi and junior linebacker Joe Tepper. Artz also likes the depth at the skill positions, with seniors Matt Berksza (running back) and Nick Cidado (quarterback) running the show for the Tigers. But Artz knows it's going to take more than just the senior class to make a dent in the Hockomock. "It's going to take contributors from all three grade levels," he said.

Peabody

Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

Coach: Scott Wlasuk (6th season)

Last year's record: 0-10

Strengths: Running game, team speed, fundamentals.

Concerns: Size up front, defense.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Taking over a team that was winless the previous season is never easy, but Marc Bettencourt had a bit of an advantage: He knows some of the Tanners, including quarterback Michael Raymond and running back Ryan Collins, from his role as baseball coach. They have helped convey Bettencourt's coaching philosophy —discipline (no swearing), dedication (show up to practice), and work ethic — to the rest of the team. "When you're taking over a team that had a tough season they had least year, you're always worried about their attitudes," Bettencourt said. "The biggest thing for me so far is their spirits are up and they're committed to learning." The offense will mostly work from the ground, but Raymond, a junior who saw time at QB at the end of last season, can make some noise.

Pembroke

Playoff alignment: Division 3SE South

Coach: Robert Bancroft (31st season)

Last year's record: 7-4

Strengths: Passing game.

Concerns: Experience in the backfield.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: As two-time defending Patriot Fisher champions, Pembroke begins the 2013 campaign carrying the league's biggest target. A three-peat won't be easy for the Titans, something coach Bob Bancroft acknowledges, especially with tough competition to start the season. Pembroke's greatest loss this season is that of offensive tackle Austin Graham, a glaring hole Bancroft expects to fill with juniors Drew CaraDonna (6-4, 225) and Alec Scroggins (6-5, 265). The Titans will also have to replace nearly 1,600 yards of offense generated by last season's four-back set, all of whom graduated. "(Junior) Kyle Horn and (senior) Ryan Sheehan are letter winners, but didn't get a lot of time last year," said Bancroft. "We're hoping they will fall into our tradition of having solid running backs." What Pembroke lacks in the running game they make up for in the passing game. Fisher All-Star quarterback Cory Brandon (1,400 yards, 13 touchdowns) is back under center and will be flanked by receivers Adam Litchfield and Matt Benting and tight ends Ken Blasser and Alec Frizzell. Receivers Nick Burns and Tommy Johnson add depth to an offense already loaded with potential.

Pentucket

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: Steve Hayden (32nd season)

Last year's record: 6-5

Strengths: Team unity.

Concerns: Experience, depth.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Pentucket brings back a solid nucleus from last year's squad that includes seniors Ryan Kuchar (quarterback/defensive back) and D.J. Engelke (running back/defensive back). The pair have contributed since their sophomore seasons, but Engelke missed the majority of last year with a broken ankle. If the Sachems can stay healthy, coach Steve Hayden is optimistic about what 2013 can bring. "If our guy goes down, we want to have another guy come in and step up," Hayden said.

Plymouth North

Playoff alignment: Division 3SE South

Coach: Kevin Cobban (2nd season)

Last year's record: 3-7

Strengths: Running game.

Concerns: Lack of depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: In his second season as head coach of the Eagles, Kevin Cobban is looking to bounce back from a three-win campaign. Junior Christian Carr, who ran for over 1,000 yards and scored 15 touchdowns last season, could be key. Cobban added that the Eagles are hoping to improve this season and build a competitive program to compete in the ACL for one final season, as they prepare to move to the Patriot League along with Plymouth South next year. Cobann hasn't put much thought into the move, but he does know that the ACL will be losing a lot of history. "It will be interesting because you're losing some great rivalries that you have right now," Cobban said.

Plymouth South

Playoff alignment: Division 3SE South

Coach: Scott Fry (10th season)

Last year's record: 8-4

Strengths: Experience of returning starters.

Concerns: Lack of depth along the offensive line.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: After only winning two games in 2011, the Panthers went undefeated in the ACL to capture their first league title in school history. Coach Scott Fry's expectations for his team this season are simple: "Win another league championship and compete for a state title." While the Panthers enter this season with a new quarterback under center, they return 14 starters including senior running back Dylan Oxsen, who led the state in rushing touchdowns last season.

Pope John Paul II

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: John Muldoon (3d season)

Last year's record: 7-4

Strengths: Senior leadership

Concerns: Depth and potential injuries.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Coach John Muldoon's Lions have 12 seniors that are returning. "They all do a very good job in terms of getting the job done on and off the field, something I'm proud of," Muldoon said. While the Lions have plenty of leadership, the team also has an abundance of youth. "Depth is always our biggest concern," said Muldoon. "Twenty of our kids are freshman, depth is every football coaches biggest concern, and that's where we are." Senior captain Steve Grogan leads the team on both sides of the ball and is a hard worker. Another leader the Lions will look to is defensive lineman and four-year starter Shane Lawler. The core group of this year's squad has been with coach Muldoon since his first year with the program prior to becoming a varsity team. "If we stay healthy, we can do some things," said Muldoon.

Quincy

Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

Coach: Bill Reardon (6th season)

Last year's record: 7-4

Strengths: Offensive line, junior quarterback James Lam

Concerns: Depth on both sides of the ball, experience

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: In his eighth year, Reardon and the Presidents had a strong 2012 season, finishing second in the Patriot Keenan behind powerhouse Duxbury. The 7-4 record was a dramatic improvement from 2-8 the previous season. The challenge will be to continue that improvement despite the graduation of a strong senior class. Reardon graduated many key players, including Jalen Green (17 TDs). The Presidents only have 4 returning starters and 7 players total with any varsity experience. Luckily, Reardon has junior quarterback James Lam who threw for 15 touchdowns last year and ran for 5. Reardon is taking each game at a time, but is hopeful the Presidents will make it to the play offs this year. "We are hoping to be competitive this season in every game we play," he said. "Hopefully there's a spot for us in the Division 2 playoffs in November."

Randolph

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: Keith Ford (1st season)

Last year's record: 3-8.

Strengths: Speed, offensively and defensively

Concerns: Inexperience.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: It is a brand new start for Randolph this fall, in all facets of the program. With a new coaching staff, a new field, new uniforms, and a new conference, there is "a new atmosphere and a new mindset," said first-year coach Keith Ford, previously the offensive line coach at Curry. One mainstay is junior quarterback Brent White, who will look to lead the Blue Devil offense. The 6-foot, 225-pound captain is the emotional leader of the team, and his arm will be relied upon heavily. Senior captain Emmanuel Neal is a "big-hit" guy, and he will be joined by Kris Depina, Darius Banks, and sophomore captain Fabian Thanes as key linebackers. The fourth captain is junior Willie Pittman, who will provide some size up front on the offensive and defensive lines. "There are a lot of new faces in the program," Ford said. "Guys are hungry. We're really excited."

Reading

Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

Coach: John Fiore (10th season)

Last year's record: 13-0

Strengths: Experienced, explosive offense.

Concerns: Holes in the defensive line.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: If teams in Division 2 are hoping for a slower, softer Reading team in 2013, they might have to wait until next year. With a 13-0 season fondly in the rearview mirror, coach John Fiore and the Rockets return a plethora of talent from their Division 2 title run last fall, especially on offense. Senior Drew Belcher, the Division 2 Player of the Year, returns for an encore performance following a junior campaign in which he threw 1,700 yards and 21 touchdowns to complement his 800 yards and 15 scores on the ground. Belcher will miss two of his favorite targets in Ryan Maney (eight touchdowns) and Chris Godwin (five touchdowns), but tight end Robert DiLoreto will return for his senior year. Along with a stacked offense, the Rockets return many of the players that comprised the most prolific defense in the state (4.7 points per game allowed in 2012 was the lowest in EMass). Gone is All-State defensive lineman Matt Comerford and linemate Peter Fodera. Senior lineman Chris Polleys is sure to step up and fill one spot, with the other potentially going to 225-pound sophomore Sean Valente. Three-year starter Liam Kenneally is heading the linebacker position, the Rockets will continue to hit and hit hard. "I think that we have to try to find as much consistency as possible at everything were doing," said Fiore. "We can't compare last year to this year. We can only build off the things we do each year that resulted in success. How we're practicing and what we're doing in the offseason to get ready, the teamwork, the leadership the kids bring to the table, that's what we have to continue on with."

Revere

Playoff alignment: Division 3NE North

Coach: Lou Cicatelli (12th season)

Last year's record: 5-5

Strengths: Running back, offensive line.

Concerns: Quarterback, overall depth.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Two-year starting quarterback Joe Ritchie has graduated, so the Patriots have a big hole to fill. Sophomore Danny Murphy and senior Ravi Ryland are the main candidates for the job. "They can both do it," coach Lou Cicatelli said. "Danny is making a lot of strides for a young guy. He's showing a lot of poise." Cicatelli expects to run a wing T offense with senior Tommy Portrait and junior Caleb Silva forming a formidable 1-2 punch no matter who is taking snaps. Those two, plus senior offensive lineman Ed Volcimus, are the team's core leaders. "The problem at Revere is depth," Cicatelli said. "If we can stay healthy — like any other team — we'll be there down the stretch."

Rockland

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Coach: Brian Kelliher (2nd season)

Last year's record: 3-8

Strengths: Experience.

Concerns: Depth.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Bulldogs went through some growing pains last year, but they return 12 players who were starting as sophomores and juniors. Senior fullback Andy Reardon is healthy after missing time last season, and coach Brian Kelliher is expecting big things from him. "We're counting on him to carry the load," Kelliher said. Reardon is joined in the backfield by senior running back Colin Aylward, who started there last season. At quarterback, Joey Reardon returns as a junior after an offseason of strong development. "I'm expecting a lot from Joey," Kelliher said. John Kamande is back at middle linebacker and Kelliher said he'll be counting a lot on Kamande and fellow junior linebacker Liam Ball to lead Rockland's defense. Seniors Ethan Rooney and Joe Rizzotto and juniors Jason Cameron and Fabiano Rosa return on the offensive line. Though there is strong experience returning, Kelliher said the team won't be getting ahead of itself. "We're just focusing on one week at a time, one day at a time," Kelliher said.

Sandwich

Playoff alignment: Division 3SE South

Coach: Bill Luette (8th season)

Last year's record: 4-7

Strengths: Physicality.

Concerns: Lack of depth.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Indians find themselves in the midst of a quarterback battle. When Dan Perry broke his foot in the offseason, coach Bill Luette asked senior wide reciever Jake Kangas to play out of position and has been pleased with his production. Perry, who returned late in the summer, Kangas, and sophomore Adam Billard are battling for the starting role. Luette also expressed his confidence in all three quarterbacks to step in and assist in the spread-option offense. "I've never had a situation where I had a senior, junior, sophomore at quarterback where I feel comfortable with any of them playing quarterback," Luette said. "And right now, I feel good about either one of them."

Saugus

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: Mike Broderick (9th season)

Last year's record: 6-5

Strengths: Team speed and athleticism.

Concerns: Inexperience.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: After making a four-win jump a year ago, Saugus enters trying to continue in the right direction. However, the Sachems graduated a large senior class, leaving only five returning starters on the roster. Coach Mike Broderick acknowledged there's been some mental mistakes through camp and the preseason, but is seeing signs of growth. "We are very excited for this team," Broderick said. He later added, "I know we play in a difficult league, but I see ourselves being very competitive." Saugus has a strong, two-headed backfield of senior Ryan Clarke and junior Dan Cacciola behind an offensive line consisting mostly of juniors. Clarke is a strong, tough runner while Cacciola, the Sachems' second-leading scorer in 2012, has tremendous athletic ability and vision.

Scituate

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: Herb Devine (6th season)

Last year's record: 6-5

Strengths: Athleticism on offense.

Concerns: New scheme on defense.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: With only two losses in league play since jumping from Patriot Keenan to Patriot Fisher, Scituate has developed into a perennial contender under sixth-year coach Herb Devine. For the Sailors, everything begins on offense. When former quarterback Mike Stewart went down with an injury last fall, Christian Brady, then a sophomore, stepped in and gained valuable snaps under center, time that should serve him well this season. Behind Stewart and Brady, 5-9 junior Dawayne Kirton exploded for 1,500 rushing yards and well over 2,000 all-purpose yards last fall, and Devine believes he could be in line for a spectacular senior season as well. Fellow senior wideout Noma Okundaye (6-3, 190 pounds) should be a dynamic player on both sides of the ball, and has the ability to burn secondaries who pay too much attention to Kirton. On the other side of the ball, Okundaye will quarterback a defense that will surely go through growing pains as it acclimates to a new defensive scheme, something that Divine said will be a learning process early in the season. "Our experience on offense with our athleticism and the return of our skill players should be a strength for us," said Devine. "Going into the season, [offense] will be the side of the ball we count on early, and hopefully the defense can get some good reps in practice and scrimmages and get ready to play." The biggest loss along the line will be that of lineman John Foster (Cornell), but the Sailors may have found his heir apparent in junior Devin McCarthy. At 6-2, 330 pounds, McCarthy has the size and the speed to be a dominant piece of the Sailors' defensive line for the next two seasons.

Seekonk

Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

Coach: Vernon Crawford (2nd season)

Last year's record: 2-8

Strengths: Offensive back field experience.

Concerns: Overall experience.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: It was a transition year in 2012 for coach Vernon Crawford, who was in his first season for the Warriors. With one year experience under his belt at Seekonk, Crawford is looking forward to turning the Warrior program into a winner. Much of the offense will be based around senior half back Mike Luti who was the Warriors leading scorer a year ago. With a year's worth of knowledge under their belt, look for the Warriors to improve from their 2012 finish.

Sharon

Playoff alignment: Division 3SE South

Coach: Dave Morse (3d season)

Last year's record: 10-3

Strengths: Experience at quarterback and athleticism.

Concerns: Replacing five starters on offensive line.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Sharon made a remarkable leap last year, jumping from a 4-7 2011 campaign in Dave Morse's first year at the helm to a 10-3 mark in 2012 and a Division 3 Super Bowl victory over Wayland. But the Eagles have their work cut out as they try and replace the entire offensive line, linebacker All-Scholastic Brad Schiff (154 tackles), and running back Sean Asnes. But Sharon has a familiar face at quarterback in senior Sean O'Neill, and senior running backs Evantz Elisma and Frank Sullivan will try to replace the production of Asnes. "We need to make the jump as an inexperienced team," Morse said. "We need to get better every day."

Shawsheen

Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

Coach: Albert Costabile (22nd season)

Last year's record: 9-2

Strengths: Large participation, great attitude and work ethic.

Concerns: Lack of experience at offensive skill positions.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Rams lost starters at quarterback, wide receiver, and running back from last year's league champions, but they do bring back 10 starters from that squad. Coach Al Costabile is looking for three seniors to take the lead: Chase Rebidue, Nick Hoar, and Joe Steen. Rebidue is a candidate to replace Mike O'Hearn at quarterback along with junior Chris Arkalis. Hoar returns at tight end and linebacker, while Steen will be a commanding 6-foot-2, 275-pound presence anchoring the offensive and defensive line. In a competitive Commonwealth Athletic Conference, Shawsheen will have its work cut out. "The league will be very strong across the board," Costabile said. "It will be a very competitive league schedule with all teams having the capability to win on any given weekend."

Silver Lake

Playoff alignment: Division 3SE South

Coach: Mike Aveni (3d season)

Last year's record: 0-10

Strengths: Senior leadership.

Concerns: Underclassmen stepping up on offense and defense.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Lakers didn't secure a victory in 2012, but Aveni is confident that 2013 will be a success. His starting line consists of many returning players due to small senior classes in past years. To get ready to take on the rest of the league, the Lakers have been working hard in preseason. He said seniors have been stepping up to help underclassmen fill "some holes" on offense and defense. "The seniors have been playing since sophomore year now," Aveni said. "They dedicated offseason to making sure they won't have another rough year. We have a whole different attitude this year.

Somerset Berkley

Playoff alignment: Division 3SE South

Coach: Nick Freitas (5th season)

Last year's record: 10-1

Strengths: Strong at skill positions, decent size.

Concerns: Varsity experience.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Blue Raiders enter 2013 with just three returning players from last year's 10-1 squad which admittedly has coach Nick Freitas worried. This is not a new problem for Freitas' coaching staff however, as their 2012 team was made up almost entirely of sophomores and juniors. In order to keep pace in the EAC, Somerset Berkley will have to rely on the few returning players and take advantage of the size advantage some players bring to the table.

Somerville

Playoff alignment: Division 3NE North

Coach: Tony Gulla (2nd season)

Last year's record: 1-9

Strengths: Experience; skill positions.

Concerns: Lack of depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Highlanders coach Tony Gulla has reasons to be optimistic. The program has grown from 52 players a year ago to 70 this fall, and of those 70, 32 are returning lettermen. But the increase is mostly in the freshmen class, leaving Gulla with no choice but to start sophomores and juniors at many key positions. "We're not in any position to say we're ready to win the league," said Gulla. "We'll take it one game at a time and focus on winning our first game." One impact upperclassmen that the Highlanders will lean on is quarterback Phoenix Huertas. Huertas was fourth in Division 1A last season with 11 touchdown passes. The senior is poised to get plenty of protection from his offensive line with seniors Steven Lamisere (6-3, 305 pounds) and Sergio Rodriguez (6-2, 250) blocking in front of him.

South Boston

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Ray Butler (1st season)

Last year's record: 3-8.

Strengths: Team work ethic, attitude.

Concerns: Depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Knights are in the midst of a transition. The team will no longer be under the guidance of Sean Guthrie, who coached the team for five seasons, and will hand the torch to newcomer Ray Butler. Aside from a change in players and coach, the team will also now be going through a change in philosophy. Averaging only 12.2 points per game last season, the Knights will need to revamp their offense if their going to have a chance. And coach Butler doesn't want to look too far ahead. "I'm not looking to the end just yet. I'm looking to that first game. My outlook is positive."

South Shore Voc-Tech

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Derek Mariani (15th season)

Last year's record: 4-7

Strengths: Ability to win on the road.

Concerns: Depth on both lines

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Veteran coach Mariani is coming off his second straight 4-7 season. Despite the struggle his team did well on the road, finishing 3-2. A little home cooking and South Shhore could be looking at a playoff spt in Division 6 South this fall. South Shore gave up 24.5 ppg last fall, a number it hopes to improve on.

Southeastern

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Dan Tripp (5th season)

Last year's record: 5-6

Strengths: Hard off-season training, senior leadership and a strong, experienced offensive line.

Concerns: Inexperienced backfield.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Coach Dan Tripp believes it is a realistic goal for his team to win the league this year if someone is able to fill the gap in the backfield left by Demetrius Fontes-Semedo. Fontest-Semedo recorded 22 touchdowns for Southeastern last season however, it still wasn't enough to eclipse the .500 mark. If they can solve their problem in the backfield, the experience of the offensive line and quarterback positions may just allow them to get it done this season.

St. Clement

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Colin Walsh (11th season)

Last year's record: 6-4

Strengths: Returning starters.

Concerns: Low numbers, depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: With a strong veteran squad, St. Clement looks to continue the trend of being over .500 and take the next step. Coach Colin Walsh is banking on the return of many key starters who understand the double wing system that he employs to be successful. Senior QB Michael Sullivan will lead the offense this year and senior Casey Baptiste will lead the defense. One of the smaller schools in terms of numbers in the division, coach Walsh will be leaning on his seniors to make a strong push against the larger schools.

St. John's Prep

Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

Coach: James O'Leary (30th season)

Last year's record: 11-1

Strengths: Skill positions

Concerns: Depth

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Johnathan Thomas rushed for nearly 1,800 yards and had 19 touchdowns for last year's Division 1 Super Bowl champions, and he comes into 2013 as the primary focus for the Eagles – an early favorite in Division 1 North. He made a major impact last season, but also shared touches with Alex Moore, the state's Gatorade Player of the Year. Now that Moore graduated, Thomas is set to shoulder the load and will be running behind a stout offensive line, anchored by Kent Blaeser and Sean Hoey. The Prep is not known for its passing attack, but senior quarterback Mike Geaslen is expected to step in and contribute, and has sharp weapons like Owen Rockett and 6-foot-5 tight end Jake Burt. The Eagles did lose linebacker Sean Smerczynski to Pingree, which is a big blow to the defense. But Thomas will contribute at linebacker, and Michael Fawehinmi provides a veteran presence in the secondary.

St. Joseph's Prep

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Clarzell Pearl (1st season)

Last year's record: 0-9

Strengths: Enthusiasm that comes with a new coach

Concerns: Depth on both sides of the ball

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Former Boston English quarterback Clarzell Pearl takes over in year two of St. Joseph's Prep (a combination of Trinity Catholic and Mt. St. Joseph). The 0-9 2012 record wasn't without highlights but Pearl and his roster will have to stay healthy and patient.

St. Mary's

Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

Coach: Matt Durgin (6th season)

Last year's record: 11-2

Strengths: Work ethic.

Concerns: Depth and the loss of Jordan Collier to New Hampton.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Spartans made it all the way to the Division 4 Super Bowl last year only to lose when a final drive stalled in the red zone, but head coach Matt Durgin says his team has a chance to do some damage again this fall. "If we can stay healthy and hungry, I think we'll be in the mix," he said. They'll have to do it without running back Jordan Collier, who ran for over 1,400 yards last season but left to play at New Hampton Prep. St. Mary's will still return two strong running backs in senior Jordan Manthorne and junior Connor Sakowich. Manthorne ran for over 1,000 yards last season. The battle for the starting quarterback job is still ongoing. On defense, Durgin is looking for strong seasons from linebacker John Gaeta, defensive end Luc Zikianda, and defensive back Austin Harvey. "The kids are motivated," Durgin said.

Stoneham

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: Bob Almeida (2nd season)

Last year's record: 7-4

Strengths: Skill players, team speed.

Concerns: Inexperience on offensive line

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Stoneham lost some key players to graduation including receiver Eric Mooney, five offensive lineman, and quarterback Andrew Cann, who threw 18 touchdown passes for the Spartans last season. Despite some inexperience on the team, coach Bob Almeida has set high goals for the squad this season. "With the new playoff system, it's really important for us to make the playoffs," he said. "Competing for a title and making the playoffs is our No. 1 goal." Almeida noted the team has a sense of urgency to win games and win them early.

Stoughton

Playoff alignment: Division 3SW South

Coach: Greg Burke (21st season)

Last year's record: 9-2

Strengths: Experienced offensive line.

Concerns: Lack of experience at quarterback.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: There's no doubting Stoughton's strength this season: the offensive line. The Black Knights return four of five starters up front (Joe Wilder, Ray Raeke, Tim Porter, and Dom Evangelista), three of which are captains. "They've all gotten bigger and stronger," coach Greg Burke said of the offensive line. "They'll be very, very competitive with everyone we're facing." The experience up front, along with a strong backfield, should help make up for the lack of experience at quarterback as the Black Knights try and take the next step to the playoffs. "If we stay healthy, I think we'll be OK," Burke said.

Swampscott

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: Steve Dembowski (15th season)

Last year's record: 5-6

Strengths: Depth on the lines, running back, and receiver.

Concerns: Kicking game.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: With over 40 players in the junior and senior classes, the Big Blue should be able to play with everyone their schedule. Captain Brendan McDonald is ready to assume the quarterback duties, and he'll be surrounded by experienced lineman. The overall depth of the team should allow flexibility in the schemes and the ability to overcome adversity. The Big Blue will need to start putting the puzzle pieces together quickly after being moved up to the NEC North. Leading the way are captains Ben Faulkner, Toby Hale, McDonald and Justin Nestor. Coach Steve Dembowski said the team has shown tremendous dedication in the conditioning program.

Taunton

Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

Coach: Chris Greding (2nd season)

Last year's record: 4-7

Strengths: Skill players and secondary.

Concerns: Brand new offensive line.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: It's Year 2 for Taunton in the Hockomock League and for coach Chris Greding at the helm. The Tigers welcome back four starters on both sides of the ball, and senior quarterback Kyle Madeira and senior fullback Domingo Jenkins are back to carry the offense. Junior safety Steven Harrison leads the defense, and Greding says he's "expecting him to bring the wood this year on defense." Greding has also been pleased with his team's work in the weight room over the offseason and is ready for another grueling Hockomock schedule. "The Hockomock is full of tough, hard-nosed football," he said. "It's anyone's league at this point."

Tewksbury

Playoff alignment: Division 3NE North

Coach: Brian Aylward (17th season)

Last year's record: 7-5

Strengths: Experience on offense.

Concerns: Inexperience on defense.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Redmen should win some battles at the line for a strong offense with four returning players on the offensive line. The defense, however, will be a work in progress, according to longtime coach Brian Aylward. Last fall the Redmen won the league and fell to Reading in the Division 2 semifinals. With a spot in Division 3 this fall, the postseason is a realistic goal.

Tri-County

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Anthony Mazzola (4th season)

Last year's record: 1-10

Strengths: Defensive line play, strong backfield, versatile quarterback.

Concerns: Youth in defensive backs and linebackers and overall depth.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: This season doesn't just bring a new playoff format for Massachusetts football. According to coach Anthony Mazzola, it brings a fresh start for Tri-County football. "I'm looking forward to us being a lot more competitive in our league and with that new playoff format, it gives everyone a little bit more of an opportunity to get in," Mazzola said. "We're going to go for it." Mazzola said his versatile three-year quarterback, Matt Donovan would help Tri-County bounce back after last year's tough season.

Triton

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: Pat Sheehan (4th season)

Last year's record: 1-10

Strengths: Experience.

Concerns: Leadership.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Heading into 2012, Triton faced a problem: only five seniors. This year, that misfortune is paying off, as the Vikings enter 2013 with a roster stockpiled with varsity experience, including 16 starters. "There's a lot of belief that we can be a very competitive football team this year and we understand there's a lot more work to be done," coach Pat Sheehan said. Sheehan raved about junior lineman Ellsworth Rogers, saying "he has the potential to be a dominant offensive and defensive lineman in the league" with his combination of strength and speed. Quarterback Bradley Whitman returns for his senior campaign after starting 10 games a year ago, and perhaps the biggest factor is the health of senior running back Justin Spillane, who despite playing only four games with a shoulder injury still managed to be the team's leading rusher. "He's running strong, his shoulder feels strong," Sheehan said. "We have high hopes for him."

Upper Cape

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Mike Hernon (3d season)

Last year's record: 10-1

Strengths: Returning skill players.

Concerns: Inexperience on the offensive line.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The formidable trio of Dylan Derby, Liam Kanaley, and speedster Jon Dumont (4.4 40-yard dash) in the backfield all helped lead the Rams to a spectacular 2012 campaign and a Super Bowl championship. With all three returning to take the reigns in the ground game in 2013, expect the Rams to be one of the teams leading the pack in division 6.

Wakefield

Playoff alignment: Division 3NW North

Coach: Mike Boyages (17th season)

Last year's record: 8-3

Strengths: Experienced quarterback, good team leadership.

Concerns: Lack of returning starters.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Wakefield is building a new football stadium and the team will look to transition from a grass field to artificial turf. The new stadium hasn't yet been completed but the Warriors are hoping to play their home opener on Sept. 20 on the new field. With the new playoff system, Wakefield is going to see more changes this season that just its field. Coach Mike Boyages noted the team will have to play its rival Melrose at least two times and maybe a third should the Warriors make the playoffs.

Walpole

Playoff alignment: Division 3SW South

Coach: Barry Greener (5th season)

Last year's record: 10-1

Strengths: Offensive line, quarterback, senior leadership.

Concerns: Defensive backfield, receivers.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: How do you fix a system in which a one-loss team with the most prolific offense in the state doesn't make the postseason? Easy, restructure the playoff system. The Rebels stood as the perfect example of why change was needed after a fantastic 2012 that was upended by just one blemish, to league rival Natick. Senior quarterback Will Bolster (17 TD passes as a junior) returns to key an offense that averaged 39.6 points per game a season ago. Gone are his two top scoring threats – Chris Collins and Mike Rando - but Connor Moriarty is an ample target out of the backfield. The offensive line will provide Bolster with tons of time to find his targets. Senior captains Noah Kung and Nick Cordopatri provide stability up front, with junior Matt Ordway filling the middle as a guard. The new playoff format was custom-built for a team like Walpole - with an eye on exacting a little revenge against Natick.

Waltham

Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

Coach: John Bourque (3d season)

Last year's record: 7-3

Strengths: Strong, experienced defense.

Concerns: Inexperienced offensive line.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: After a 1-3 start a year ago, the Hawks finished 6-0, good for second place in the DCL Large. Head coach John Bourque's hope is to continue that momentum. "We're looking forward to improving on last year," said Bourque. "Our goal is to build off of last year." Waltham has roughly 10 starters returning, with only a few holes to fill on the offensive line. Bourque believes his team's defense, led by the linebacking corps, will be its strongest asset. Senior linebackers Kens Morantus, Erik Goguen, and Dylan Lombardi anchor that group. Bourque also pointed to senior lineman Sean Reynolds - a three-year starter on both offense and defense - as one of the team's most important players.

Wareham

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: Dan Nault (15th season)

Last year's record: 9-2

Strengths: Size on the offensive line and a dedicated group of players.

Concerns: Inexperience.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Coach Dan Nault has more to worry about than replacing Division 3A's leading scorer Darien Fernandez. Nault is being asked to remake a roster that only has one player with varsity experience. With new systems in place on both sides of the ball the Vikings will turn to Nate Moore, Richard Austin, Owen Braley, Jordan Andrews, and Josh Onujiogu to step up in a big way. Any type of sustained success will likely be through the play of this particular group. "We have to improve daily," said Nault. "We hope to surprise the SCC competition."

Watertown

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: John Cacace (7th season)

Last year's record: 6-5

Strengths: Experience, work ethic.

Concerns: Depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Watertown has put together four consecutive winning season, and that's the goal coach John Cacace has set for the squad again this season. The Raiders are the smallest team in the league and in order to make the playoffs they'll have to knock off some top teams. Cacace said the difficulty of the team's schedule is their biggest challenge this season. Cacace said the team is still searching for its identity, but is focused on toughness and defense.

Wayland

Playoff alignment: Division 3NW North

Coach: Scott Parseghian (13th season)

Last year's record: 9-4

Strengths: Defense.

Concerns: Depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Warriors will be looking to a younger group of players to step up this season after graduating 21 from last year's Super Bowl team. There are nine seniors back and all of them are being expected to play big rolls this time around. "We're just looking for them to step us for their senior years," said coach Scott Parseghian. "And we're trying to fill in the other holes with some juniors and sophomores that have been working hard. I can't say enough about the team's offseason conditions, strength training. They did everything we asked of them to do to get ready for this season." Robert Williams, who finished last season on a roll (rushing for over 500 yards and eight touchdowns in the Wildcat's final three games) is back and is an early All-Scholastic candidate. "If he comes in this year like he ended last year, look out," said Parseghian. "He did have a senior line in front of him last year, that made him look good at times, but he still makes things happen with his natural ability." The most heated preseason positional battle on the Wildcats is at quarterback, where two juniors - Blake Welti and Robert Jones - were at a complete deadlock at the close of August. Also back for his senior season is kicker Eric MacLean, who connected on seven field goals last season (with a long of 48) for Wayland. Replacing middle linebackers Matt Devlin (a Globe All-Scholastic and DCL defensive MVP who is now playing at Union College) and Ben Boschetto (playing for WPI) won't be easy. However junior Andy Carmichael has coach Parseghian more than hopeful. "As a sophomore, if we didn't have [such linebacker depth] last year, this kid would have started," said Parseghian.

Wellesley

Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

Coach: Jesse Davis (2nd season)

Last year's record: 6-5

Strengths: Receiving corp and defensive experience.

Concerns: Interior line experience.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Jesse Davis' first go as head coach of his alma mater was a success. He turned a two-win team into a dangerous six-win squad, as evident by their signature win over Bay State power Natick. Bay State All-Star Brian Pederson, a 6-foot-3, 255-pound offensive tackle and defensive end, will be a force on both sides of the ball. Linebackers Brigham Blake and John Wilson will provide coverage across the middle of the field that will cause fits for the opposition's passing game. John Fadule takes over as quarterback, but will work with a matured receiving unit led by Matt Dziama (5 TD receptions), Ned Holmes (3 TDs) and John Wilson (1 TD). Davis will also look to Dziama to secure the defensive backfield as the Raiders look to take inject themselves into the Herget title race.

West Bridgewater

Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

Coach: Bill Panos (28th season)

Last year's record: 4-6

Strengths: Depth, returning starters, overall athleticism.

Concerns: Newcomers learning the playbook.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: This offseason coach Panos has preached that the "competitive spirit and eagerness to learn" from the younger players joining the team will add a lot of potential on both sides of the ball. Senior backs Jordan Ames and Aaron Pearson (15 TDs last season) will bolster a young but athletic Wildcats i 2013.

West Roxbury

Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

Coach: Derek Wright (2nd season)

Last year's record: 4-6.

Strengths: The running game and team defense.

Concerns: The offensive line could pose some trouble, having lost four starters from last year.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: In his first year as head coach, Derek Wright, former assistant to longtime Raiders coach Leo Sybertz, didn't have his season go as planned. But out of a four-win season came a few postives, including the development of quarterback David Bertucci and 250-pound rusher Michael Obiangiwe (13 touchdowns in 2012). "Both have improved over the past year," said Wright. "Having a seasoned runner and quarterback combo usually really works out well," he said. If the green lineman can open some lanes early, the dynamic Obiangiwe will be able to do some damage.

Westford

Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

Coach: Adam Gagne (1st season)

Last year's record: 7-4

Strengths: Senior leadership.

Concerns: Making up for losses.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: After finishing fourth in the league last season, the Grey Ghosts return just seven lettermen. And according to new coach Adam Gagne, "all spots are open." Gagne was the head man at Salem (N.H.) last season and prior to that was the offensive coordinator at Westford. His familiarity with the program should help in identifying players to take over roles, such as the one left by last season's quarterback, Justin Mount, who has moved on to Merrimack College. "Everyone is doing a good job of competing," said Gagne. "We take it day by day and work hard to get better." Gagne pointed to seniors Alex Antes (LB), Ben Rodman (RB), and Will Puduski (DB/WR) as the team's impact players.

Weston

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: Sean Mchugh (3d season)

Last year's record: 3-8

Strengths: Experience and senior leadership.

Concerns: Ability to play on the road.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Weston went from having three seniors last season to having 15 this time around. Which has been exciting for third-year coach Sean McHugh, who is finally seeing a team full of upperclassmen that have come through his system. "It's an experienced group," McHugh said. "We have some depth and there's some senior leadership." Senior Brett Rowe is back under center. The best positional battle on the Wildcats is at running back between Calfred Malcolm, Jeffrey Ivery-Mallard, and Ryan Welby. Weston has yet to win a league game under McHugh's tenure, but given the experience on his roster, there's a possibility they break through this season. This year's captains are Brett Rowe (QB) Deondre Molyneaux (WR/OLB), Greg Fligor (TE/OLB), Blake Fontain (C/ILB) and Blake Asis (OT/DT). The one you can hear yelling from your seat in the stands is probably Fontaine, who has been the most vocal of the group, according to McHugh. "We don't make specific goals for the season," McHugh said. "We just focus on each practice and getting better. We just want to prepare for each opponent as best we can and I think that if we can do that we'll be a very competitive football team."

Westwood

Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

Coach: Ed Mantie (3d season)

Last year's record: 8-4

Strengths: Familiarity with offensive and defensive systems; offensive line.

Concerns: Youth and inexperience with the junior class.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Westwood was finally able to reach the Tri-Valley Large peak in 2012, rolling three-time defending champion Holliston by a score of 42-14 on Thanksgiving Day for the Wolverines' first title since 2004. Xaverian transfer Joe Ghanem could prove an important addition along the defensive line and at tight end, especially with the loss of All-Star Nick Antonellis. Fellow All-Star Bo Berluti (13 receiving touchdowns) returns to the high-powered offense, and will spend time both at wide receiver and quarterback, sharing duties under center with newcomer Will Jessup. The duo will look to replace the offense created by Bo's older brother, Alex. Experience along the offensive line should do wonders for whoever is taking snaps. "This year might be more dynamic with both kids being quarterback and both being receiver," said Mantie. "It present different challenges for the defense. They're different styles of quarterback. With the no-huddle [offense], it should be a little tough to adjust on the fly. We like the flexibility it presents our offense."

Weymouth

Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

Coach: Kevin Mackin (9th season)

Last year's record: 8-4

Strengths: Experience at quarterback

Concerns: Loss of talented senior class

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: With receiver Tyler O'Brien back along with talented quarterback David Harrison, Weymouth should once again be able to put points on the board. Harrison was the second-leading scorer in Division 1 last fall with 128 points. The opening game with Natick should be a great test for both Bay State Conference schools, each with postseason hopes.

Whitman-Hanson

Playoff alignment: Division 3SE South

Coach: Mike Driscoll (3d season)

Last year's record: 6-5

Strengths: Leadership, running backs, and defensive backs.

Concerns: Inexperienced defensive line and young quarterbacks.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Panthers are coming off a fourth-place finish in the Patriot (Keenan) League, and third-year coach Mike Driscoll is striving for a better season. Although he lost six starters on offense and five on defense, he isn't worried. He said leadership will be the Panthers' greatest strength with many returning running backs and defensive leaders, singling out DB Torrey Champignie as a prime example. "Our seniors are a great group of leaders," he said. "We expect to have a winning season and to compete for the league championship."

Whittier

Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

Coach: Kevin Bradley (13th season)

Last year's record: 7-4

Strengths: Experience and speed.

Concerns: Aggressiveness on every play.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: After a young Whittier squad went 7-4 last season, the Wildcats return a lot of experienced juniors and seniors. Coach Kevin Bradley is looking for those returners to step up and take a leadership role to keep the season on track. Senior Jaylin Deveau is starting at running back again, and the 6-foot-4, 225-pound speedster will be a key part of the offense. Senior Scott Bonneau and junior Jesus Sanchez also return to the starting backfield, giving Whitter strong and fast depth at the position. With a tougher schedule this year, Bradley is hoping for his team not to skip a beat. "We have the opportunity to make some noise if we don't take plays off and if we fill the leadership role," Bradley said.

Wilmington

Playoff alignment: Division 3NE North

Coach: Mike Barry (6th season)

Last year's record: 2-9

Strengths: Big linemen, returning running backs.

Concerns: Overall depth.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Wilmington is coming of its first losing season in 17 years and is looking to rebound. During the offseason, Wilmington built a new field moving from grass to artificial turf. Coach Mike Barry is hoping the new field stirs up some excitement for the Wildcats season, but doesn't think his players will be impacted by the surface. "We've played on it enough visiting other teams and so forth so lately our kids are more used to it," he said. "I am not expecting any major challenges."

Winchester

Playoff alignment: Division 3NW North

Coach: Wally Dembowski (3d season)

Last year's record: 3-8

Strengths: New, promising weapons on offense.

Concerns: Inexperience on both sides of the ball; team speed.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The first few games will be crucial for Winchester this year, as the Sachems return only three starters on offense and five on defense. New quarterback Michael Grassey (6-4, 220 pounds) will replace Tim Mangano (1,400 yards passing, eight touchdowns), and will stand tall as a pocket passer. Winchester will also have a new face at running back, as John Costello makes way for senior captain Dana Marrocco. Seniors John Dooley and Quinn Johnson will line up outside the numbers as new threats for the Sachems. With all the new faces comes the inevitable wait for unity and cohesion, and that includes the offensive line, which will have two new linemen this fall. Two players who spent a handful of time on the shelf last season, junior slot receiver Davis Clarke and senior lineman Tony Oquendo-Loftman, could prove to be strong additions to a single-back formation that looks poised to throw the ball and throw often. "Players are starting to understand who I am and what I expect and just how to act," said Dembowski. "There are less kids now questioning what we do because when they execute the scheme and do it the right way they realize this stuff works. There's that trust between coaches and players now."

Winthrop

Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

Coach: Sean Driscoll (7th season)

Last year's record: 6-5

Strengths: Offensive skill positions, defensive backfield.

Concerns: Offensive and defensive line experience.

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Vikings — 6-5 each of the last two seasons — are looking to get over the hump, according to coach Sean Driscoll. Jordan Corbett-Frank is leading the charge. "Special player, special kid," Driscoll said. "He's gone through it all. He's one of the ones preaching, 'We're not happy to be 6-5.'" Driscoll said the team's junior class is a strong one, both in talent and numbers, and the offensive game plan is to run the ball. Quarterback Dylan Driscoll, a 5-8, 135-pound junior, will be a big part of that. "That's my son, unfortunately for him," the coach said. "I expect him to come in and be a seasoned veteran, not make sophomore mistakes."

Woburn

Playoff alignment: Division 3NW North

Coach: Rocky Nelson (28th season)

Last year's record: 5-5

Strengths: Young, skilled players on offense.

Concerns: Loss of four league All-Stars on offense.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: With the new football playoffs in place, Woburn will have a tough time duplicating the late-season success they found last fall. After starting the season losing four of their first five by a combined score of 84-15, the Tanners nearly took down eventual Division 2 champion Reading, holding one of the state's most prolific offenses to 18 points. This fall, the Tanners are going to have to fill huge holes on both sides of the ball, but may just have the talent to do it. Woburn graduated running back Jared O'Brien, tight end David Pratt, and offensive linemen Rory O'Brien and AJ Santiago, all of whom were Middlesex All-Stars last fall. Senior Rob Vocci returns under center after earning his way into the starting role last fall. Voci, a mobile quarterback himself, will be flanked by a pair of up-and-coming running backs in juniors Marvin Jean and Chris Jewett. On defense, Chris Scichilone will help anchor the front seven, while Christian Cesvette will help man the secondary.

Xaverian

Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

Coach: Charlie Stevenson (21st season)

Last year's record: 4-7

Strengths: Depth at receiver.

Concerns: Inexperienced.

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Xaverian will be looking to retool the defensive line with the graduation of Maurice Hurst, now at Michigan, and pass-rushers like Ray Gobbi and Elijah Jolly. But Shayne Kaminski and Joe Gaziano are returning at linebacker and defensive end, respectively, and should make an impact. Kaminski will also be counted on heavily out of the backfield. The Hawks are looking to replace quarterback Austin DeCarr, and coach Charlie Stevenson said a four-way battle for the quarterback will produce a solid starter. Whoever is under center will have the pleasure of throwing to AJ King and DJ Sperzel – two returning veteran receivers.

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week