North

Globe North: Players to watch, top 10 football teams

Players to watch

Dan Bailey, North Shore Tech: The leading tackler for the Commonwealth Small champions last fall, the junior middle linebacker is the “best defender the Bulldogs have ever had,” said coach Paul Worth.

Drew Belcher, Reading: In his last two seasons, the 6-foot-4 quarterback has tossed 35 touchdowns and has rushed for 28 more scores. A year ago, he piloted the Rockets to a 13-0 record and the Division 2 Super Bowl.

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Andrew “Bug” Carper, Governor’s Academy: The 6-foot-1 linebacker, headed to the University of North Carolina to play lacrosse, is the defensive anchor for a club that has not lost a game since 2010.

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D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie, Central Catholic: The 6-foot, 205-pound safety carried the Merrimack Valley’s top defense to a 9-2 mark last fall; now he has six offers from Football Championship Subdivision programs.

Lubern Figaro, Everett: The 6-1 safety will bolster a Crimson defense that allowed just 12.6 points per game last fall. Wisconsin, Syracuse, and Boston College are among nine Division 1 programs seeking a commitment.

Jack Galvin, Lowell: In the last two seasons, the 6-1 receiver has amassed more than 1,800 receiving yards and has hauled in 20 touchdowns. QB Cam Latta has graduated, but Galvin will continue to be the go-to receiver.

Kyle McGah, Lynnfield: The 5-foot-9, 230 pound running back, 20 yards shy of 1,000 last fall, scored the Pioneers’ lone touchdown in their Super Bowl loss to Bishop Feehan.

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Sam Mulumba, Beverly: The outside linebacker was the sack leader for a Panther defense that yielded just 10.5 points per game last season en route to a 13-0 record and a Division 2A Super Bowl trophy.

Rufus Rushins, Bishop Fenwick: The 6-foot, 225-pound running back from Lynn lived up to his name last season as a sophomore, rushin’ for 1,302 yards, scoring 17 times for the Crusaders. He also surpassed the 1,000-yard mark his freshman year.

Johnathan Thomas, St. John’s Prep: Arguably the most feared running back in the state, the Maryland-bound Globe All-Scholastic ran for 1,794 yards and 15 touchdowns as he carried the Eagles to a D-1 Super Bowl title.

Snow’s top 10 teams

(Listed with 2012 final record)

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 1. St. John’s Prep (11-1)

 2. Everett (11-1)

 3. Reading (13-0)

 4. Central Catholic (9-2)

 5. Lowell (9-2)

 6. Andover (10-2)

 7. Beverly (13-0)

 8. Burlington (10-2)

 9. Masconomet (9-3)

10. St. Mary’s (11-2)

Week 1 slate

(All games at 7 p.m. unless noted otherwise)

Friday

Manchester-Essex at Northeast, 6 p.m.; Andover at North Andover; Burlington at Billerica; Greater Lawrence at Cambridge; Lawrence at Central Catholic; Lowell at Westford; Lynn Classical at Gloucester; Malden Catholic at Quincy; Marblehead at Danvers; Methuen at Malden; North Quincy at Medford; Springfield Central at Everett; Tewksbury at Chelmsford.

Saturday

Austin Prep at Whittier, 10:30 a.m.; Triton at Swampscott, noon; Tri-County at North Shore 1; Arlington Catholic at Shawsheen, 1:30; Bridgewater-Raynham at St. John’s Prep, 1:30; Haverhill at Beverly. 2; Georgetown at Cathedral.

Game of the week

Springfield Central at Everett, Friday, 7 p.m. Matching up against what could be their toughest opponent of the regular season, defending Eastern Massachusetts Division 1A Super Bowl champion Everett will kick the season off against a Springfield Central squad that coasted to a 27-0 Western Massachusetts Division 1 Super Bowl victory last fall. Last September, Everett ousted Springfield Central 33-14.

Taylor C. Snow

Taylor C. Snow can be reached at taylor.snow@globe.com.