North

GlobeNorth: Targeting a playoff berth

George Rizer for The Boston Globe

Eye on five

With the introduction of a new state playoff system, a number of high school programs will kick off this season with renewed hope, with a legitimate shot at qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in memory.

Lowell (9-2 record/2012);

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Merrimack Valley Large; Division 1 North

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Lynn Classical (7-3);

Northeastern South; Division 2 North

Haverhill (8-3);

Merrimack Valley Small; Division 2 North

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Malden (3-8);

Greater Boston League; Division 1 North

North Reading (8-2);

Cape Ann; Division 4 North

PLAYER TO WATCH

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Johnathan Thomas,

St. John’s Prep:

The explosive 5-foot-11-inch, 205-pound senior will try to top a junior campaign in which he piled up 1,794 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns.

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