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Five teams and five players to watch in boys lacrosse north of Boston

Five players to watch

1. D.J. O’Brien, Billerica: The Indians’ goaltender was just one of four juniors to earn Globe All-Scholastic honors last spring after finishing the season with 295 saves. In his fourth season with the team, O’Brien will provide some mighty protection in the cage.

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2. Matt Comerford , Reading Memorial: The 6-foot-5 senior goalie is sure to leave little space open in the cage for opposing scorers. After helping the Rockets to the Division 3 Super Bowl football title last fall, Comerford hopes to help Reading advance deep into the postseason this spring.

3. Jay Drapeau, Westford Academy: As a sophomore, the junior attacker scored 95 goals and had 27 assists for 122 points. Drapeau, who committed to Loyola, will again be a thrill to watch for the Grey Ghosts.

4. Sam Francis , Newburyport: After helping the Clippers win the Cape Ann League’s Division 2 as a sophomore, Francis and his teammates went 15-2 last season but finished second to North Reading (19-1). This spring, the senior midfielder looks to lead a veteran Newburyport club back to the league title.

5. Tate Jozokos, Governor’s Academy: A star quarterback on the football field, Jozokos is an even better lacrosse midfielder. The senior, lined up to play for Division 1 lacrosse power University of North Carolina next season, will help the Govs try to match or top last season’s 16-1 record.

Five teams to watch

1. Andover: The Golden Warriors finished 10-6 last season, and 12-8 in 2011, after winning just four games in 2010. Despite star Matt McIver’s graduation last spring, Andover still might have what it takes to stir the pot in the Merrimack Valley Conference.

2. Billerica: The Indians have 18 seniors returning from last year’s squad, which finished 15-5 and advanced to the Division 1 East quarterfinals last season. Billerica is an early favorite to win the MVC.

3. St. John’s Prep: With 15 seniors and 11 juniors, coach John Roy’s club is extremely deep and is looking to rebound from a 10-10 finish last year.

4. Stoneham: Longtime former Malden Catholic coach Rick Mazzei, who became the first coach to enter the 400-win club in 2011 before retiring, is returning to coach Stoneham. Under his leadership, the Spartans will shake things up in the Middlesex League.

5. Westford: The Grey Ghosts finished 15-5 last season, good enough for second in the talent-laden Dual County League. Facing perennial powerhouses in Acton-Boxborough Regional and Lincoln-Sudbury Regional, Westford will have its work cut out this season.

Anthony Gulizia can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @gulizia_a.
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