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Division 5 high school football team previews

Payton Doyle will take over at quarterback for Dennis-Yarmouth this season.
Payton Doyle will take over at quarterback for Dennis-Yarmouth this season.(Barry Chin/Globe Staff file)

Here is a look at each EMass football team in Division 5 heading into the 2018 season.

View other divisions: D1 | D2 | D3 | D4 | D5 | D6 | D7 | D8

DIVISION 5 NORTH

Amesbury

Coach: Colin McQueen (2nd season). Career: 2-9..

Last year’s record: 2-9.

Strengths: Experienced offensive line, depth at skill positions.

Concerns: Overall depth, tough conference schedule.

Offense: Wing T

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Many people close to the Amesbury program feel the team is dramatically improved from last year’s 2-9 campaign. The Indians are confident they can have a breakout season and be competitive in a challenging Cape Ann League. Amesbury will live and die by its seniors this year, with captains Noah Cotrupi, Jake Hamel, and Matt Scibelli set to pace the offensive and defensive lines. There is already a competition for snaps under center between incumbent senior Blake Bennett and junior Troy Hamel. Coach Colin McQueen wants both guys to be comfortable under center with each bringing a different skill set to the table. The Indians also return running backs Hayden Ayotte and Pat Birmingham, with both playing main roles in the run-heavy offense.

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Saugus

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Bedford

Coach: Tom Tone (2nd season). Career: 2-9.

Last year’s record: 2-9.

Strengths: Offensive and defensive lines, quarterback.

Concerns: Experience at skill positions.

Offense: Spread

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Despite a rough 2017 season, optimism remains high for the Buccaneers this season. This will be a growing season for Bedford, as many players from last seasons talented jayvee team will become full-time varsity, leading to an enthusiastic attitude around the program. Both starting quarterbacks from last season are back and senior Pete Kapanides and junior Greg Cormier will split time under center. Theyll have a big offensive line to protect them, highlighted by senior Alexi Panagiotou. The running game will be strong for Bedford, with senior Tyler Dussault and sophomore Zack Poor providing a two-pronged attack. The Buccaneers lack much experience in the secondary and at wide receiver, troubling signs ahead of a challenging schedule.

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Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Burlington

Lynnfield

Coach: Patrick Lamusta (1st season).

Last year’s record: 8-3.

Strengths: Team speed and athleticism.

Concerns: Size, lack of experience.

Offense: Spread

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Pioneers return only two starters from last years team as former assistant coach Pat Lamusta takes charge in 2018. Early in pre-season, Lamusta is already having to make tough decisions. A competition for quarterback between senior Brett Cohee and junior Clayton Marengi is underway as both were part of a dominant offense last season. Cohee saw action as a backup last year and moved the offense well. Hell have a few weapons to throw to this year in senior receivers Leo Quinn and John Lee. Lamusta and his young team face high expectations and ‘‘are eager to keep the winning tradition alive in Lynnfield.’’

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Newburyport

Newburyport

Coach: Ben Smolski (2nd season). Career: 6-4.

Last year’s record: 6-4.

Strengths: Team speed, work ethic.

Concerns: Experience.

Offense: Spread

Playing surface: Artifical turf

Outlook: The Clippers will have a battle at quarterback to begin the season between sophomore Charlie Cahalane and senior captain Thomas Murphy. The latter started at receiver last season and his positioning will dictate how the offense operates. Replacing Myles Maloof in the backfield will be the biggest task, something coach Ben Smolski says will be ‘‘running back by committee.’’ Leading the charge will be senior captains Seamus Webster and Robby Johnston. Anchoring both the offensive and defensive lines will be senior Thomas Doyle. An illness in the offseason left Doyle weighing just 155 pounds, though Smolski says his ability wasn’t hindered. The most dynamic player is two-way lineman Walker Bartkiewicz, who will to handling the kicking duties.

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Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Lynnfield

Pentucket

Coach: Steve Hayden (37th season). Career: 215-162.

Last year’s record: 3-7.

Strengths: Work ethic, senior leadership.

Concerns: Offensive line depth, staying healthy.

Offense: Wing T

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Consistency will be the biggest task for the Sachems this season. With a strong senior class filled with hard-working, talented players, coach Steve Hayden is ‘‘optimistic about the way were moving.’’ Senior quarterback Gus Flaherty leads the charge on offense, but questions about his offensive line’s durability have surfaced. Cape Ann All-Star Jordan Journeay and fellow senior captain Jacob Luke anchor the o-line with junior Jacob Codair transitioning from fullback to offensive guard to help fill the void. Flaherty will have a shortage of experienced weapons, with junior split end Jake Etter and sophomore running back Andrew Melone shaping up to be his two main options.

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Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Winthrop

Saugus

Coach: Anthony Nalen (2nd season). Career: 23-33; 4-7 at Saugus.

Last year’s record: 4-7.

Strengths: Experience on both sides.

Concerns: Overall depth at key positions.

Offense: West Coast

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: With 15 starters returning this season, the Sachems are hoping their experience will carry them to success. On offense, junior rushing leader Marvins Jean (13 TDs, 800 yards) and junior receiving leader Christian Correia (12 TDs) will pace the dual-threat attack. At quarterback, sophomore Mason Nikolas faces the tall task of replacing single-season touchdown record holder Mike Mabee. Coach Nalen believes Nikolas ‘‘has a huge upside of potential and will fit nicely into the offensive system.’’ Defensively, Saugus struggled last season to get stops, especially early on, as opponents averaged 28.2 points per game. Senior James Moise will anchor the secondary while fellow captains, linebacker Dante McGrane and defensive end Jake Morgante, will be crucial parts of the pass rush.

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Amesbury

Somerville

Coach: Makonnen Fenton (4th season). Career: 16-17.

Last year’s record: 7-4.

Strengths: Athleticism, speed at wide receiver and defensive line.

Concerns: Depth, injuries.

Offense: Spread

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Highlanders will showcase some of the best speed in Eastern Mass this season, even after losing its top two offensive players. Junior running back Fred Castin is back after a 10-touchdown campaign and will see the majority of the touches out of the backfield. Replacing UConn recruit Elijah Jefferys at quarterback this year is junior Louis Montina, who offers a similar dual-threat skillset as Jefferys. Varsity newcomer Myard Joseph with be his top receiver and is already an impact player. The 6-foot-3 junior had 140 receiving yards in just two short series in the first scrimmage against Barnstable and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds this summer.

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Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Peabody

Swampscott

Coach: Bob Serino (4th season). Career: 15-18.

Last year’s record: 7-4.

Strengths: Team speed, talented junior class.

Concerns: Depth and staying healthy.

Offense: Spread

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Despite some hefty losses, coach Bob Serino feels his team has ‘‘more firepower’’ than last season. The Big Blue are loaded with juniors, including new quarterback Graham Inzana, who Serino calls ‘‘a great student of the game who works extremely hard.’’ After showing a lot of promise at the JV level, Inzana will lead a Swampscott offense with plenty of receiving weapons, including junior captain Jonathan Oriakhi and sophomore Andrew Augustin. In the backfield, junior Dylan January will see most of the touches with freshman Xavier Bascon set for a main role as well. Xavier will replace his brother, Swampscott graduate Isaiah, at running back and inside slot receiver.

Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 12 p.m., vs. Greater Lawrence

Triton

Coach: Ryan McCarthy (1st season).

Last year’s record: 5-6.

Strengths: Team speed, depth at skill positions.

Concerns: Inexperience at the varsity level.

Offense: Spread

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Triton will have to not only overcome a difficult schedule this season, but will need to do so with an extremely young and inexperienced team. The Vikings lost their two most valuable offensive players Tommy Lapham and Christian OBrien to graduation. Stepping up in their place are returning receivers Dylan Shute and Jack Tummino. The duo will also contribute on the defensive side of the ball, leading a secondary with few returning starters. One of those new members of the secondary, sophomore Kyle Odoy, is expected to be the starting quarterback this season. Despite his age, Odoy possesses good size and a strong arm with the ability to move an offense successfully.

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Marblehead

Watertown

Coach: John Cacace (12th season). Career: 71-52, 68-53 at Watertown.

Last year’s record: 7-5.

Strengths: Team speed, experienced backfield.

Concerns: Depth, inexperienced offensive/defensive line.

Offense: Multiple

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The reigning Division 5 North champions lost some firepower after 2017 with only eight seniors on the roster and 33 underclassmen. Senior quarterback Nick McDermott is back for his final season under center after setting a school record with nearly 2,000 yards passing a year ago. Running a combination of a spread and Wing-T offense, McDermott can spread the ball around to his well-trusted running back Mange Camara. The passing game took a hit with leading receiver John Korte graduating after 77 catches for 1,180 yards last season. McDermott’s top receiver this year will be junior Brennan Cook, who offers a similar skill-set to Korte.

Season opener: Thursday, Sept. 6, 6:30 p.m., at Arlington Catholic

Weston

Coach: Rich Brissette (2nd season). Career: 6-5.

Last year’s record: 6-5.

Strengths: Skill positions.

Concerns: Inexperienced secondary and linebackers.

Offense: Wing T

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Wildcats will play five of their first six games at home this season, the first full slate on the school’s new turf field. Playing an independent schedule, Weston will take on a variety of opponents including Monument Mountain, Carver, and Burke, something coach Rich Brissette says ‘‘provides good experience and pays dividends.’’ Running a Wing-T offense, senior running backs Julian Antoine and Junior Uga will headline a rush-heavy offense behind quarterback Jack Noonan. On the defensive side of the ball senior Cade Rutkowksi and junior captain Hayden Zeller will be the leaders of a secondary that is largely comprised of young players.

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Dover-Sherborn

DIVISION 5 SOUTH

Canton

Coach: Dave Bohane (13th season). Career: 47-75-1.

Last year’s record: 5-6.

Strengths: Athleticism, depth at skill positions.

Concerns: Experience.

Offense: Multiple

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The young Bulldogs are hoping to pick up where they left off after winning their final three games to close out 2017. ‘‘It took awhile to get up to speed, but I think you saw the finished product when we beat Stoughton on Thanksgiving,’’ said coach Dave Bohane. Junior quarterback John Hagan again takes the reigns. A pair of two-way players, juniors Kyle Fitzgerald and Gersom Rivera will handle much of the rushing duties offensively and will also be a key part of the Canton secondary. Fitzgerald is described as a ‘‘defensive catalyst by Bohane.’’ The offensive line is highlighted by junior Jack Connolly, who has garnered attention from Ivy League schools already. All-Hockomock linebacker and senior captain Brendan Albert will be another contributor on defense and is a big pass rush threat.

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Dighton-Rehoboth

Dennis-Yarmouth

Coach: Paul Funk (18th season). Career: 106-55-1.

Last year’s record: 13-0.

Strengths: Skill positions.

Concerns: Experience, depth.

Offense: Spread

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: After losing 22 seniors from one of the best teams in school history, the Dolphins are hoping to continue their success despite a big drop in numbers. D-Y was so dominant last season, many of its second and third-string players, now starters this year, saw valuable playing time at the varsity level. With big shoes to fill at quarterback, senior Payton Doyle will assume the starting role after seeing most of his action at receiver last year. Wide receivers Geoffrey Jamiel and Daryun Thompson are also holdovers from last season as is tight end Micheal Gurney. Aside from this core of returning skill players, D-Y will be looking for contributions from its younger players without a lot of depth at its disposal. The defensive line was hit hard by graduation, with Andrew Campbell one of the few seniors back for 2018.

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m., at Barnstable

Falmouth

Coach: Derek Almeida (5th season). Career: 31-15.

Last year’s record: 6-5.

Strengths: Experience on offensive/defensive line and linebacker.

Concerns: Inexperience at running back and secondary.

Offense: Triple option

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: The Clippers are looking for the offensive and defensive line to carry much of the weight this season. As a unit, the offensive line is deep and will be tasked with helping the running game. On defense, the pass rush will be key, led by senior Kyle Cardoza. Coach Derek Almeida calls Cardoza, ‘‘one of the better football players in the state who can dominate on both sides of the ball.’’ In addition to his defensive work, he is a talented tight end with good hands and blocking awareness. Cardoza’s presence will help second-year starting quarterback Kyle Connolly garner a better command of the offense.

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Bishop Feehan

Foxborough

Coach: Jack Martinelli (37th season). Career: 266-115-5.

Last year’s record: 5-6.

Strengths: Experienced offensive line, aggressive team defense.

Concerns: Replacing 34 seniors.

Offense: Spread

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Losing 34 seniors from last seasons team is proving difficult for the Warriors entering 2018. There are only a few holdover starters from a year ago, with senior quarterback Liam Foley being the most notable. Foley did begin the 2017 season as the starter before falling into the backup role behind Devin Hassett. This year, Foley is expected to lead a deep, senior-laden offense and is described by his coach Jack Martinelli as ‘‘a pure thrower as a quarterback.’’ Senior running backs Michael Luong and Keyshawn Sanders will share touches out of the backfield while receivers Rob Fay and Tom Gallagher will be Foley’s go-to passing options. Gallagher will also lead a young Warriors secondary that will be a work-in-progress this year.

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Hingham

Hanover

Coach: Christopher Landolfi (6th season). Career: 38-19.

Last year’s record: 5-6.

Strengths: Senior leadership, team speed & size.

Concerns: New offensive system.

Offense: Multiple

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: A hard-working Hanover team is looking to work its way back to the top in 2018 with a strong senior class. Senior captain and second-year quarterback Andrew Carroll will be entering his fourth year as a varsity starter. Carroll will have a few returning passing options at his disposal in seniors Jack Delahunt and Ethan DaSilva. However, learning a new offensive system will be the biggest challenge for the Indians as they look to change things up from last season. The Indians will welcome back left tackle Wyatt Campbell who lost the last two seasons to injury. Entering his first full year of football ever, the 6-foot-5, 355-pound Campbell won the Offensive Lineman challenge at the Boston College football camp this summer and is starting to garner attention from several college programs.

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Cardinal Spellman

Holliston

Coach: Todd Kiley (16th season). Career: 130-42.

Last year’s record: 5-5.

Strengths: Team speed, athleticism.

Concerns: Overall depth.

Offense: Double wing

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The Panthers will be a hard-working team in 2018 with some formidable size up front. Scott Elliott will anchor both the offensive and defensive line in his senior season, having already committed to play at Harvard next year. There is a battle for quarterback as well between junior Matt Arvanitis and sophomore Jack Elliott. Among the key returning starters on offense are juniors Dylan Ibbitson at running back and senior Anthony Dzindelet at receiver. Ibbitson had five touchdowns last season and averaged 5.8 yards per carry. Staying healthy will be a priority for the Panthers who lack depth.

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7:30 p.m., at Norton

Medfield

Coach: Erik Ormberg (8th season). Career: 37-40.

Last year’s record: 9-2.

Strengths: Defensive line, competition for starting job.

Concerns: Experience.

Offense: Multiple

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Losing 18 seniors from last seasons team, the Warriors will be hurting on both sides of the ball. In addition, quarterback Mitchell Gonser transferred to Milton Academy, leaving the offense in disarray. Coach Erik Ormberg is prepared for a challenging season as Medfield prepares to ‘‘start over with guys lacking experience.’’ There are a few key returners coming back led by senior Cameron Lunn. The three-way starter plays tight end and defensive end while also handling kicking and punting duties. Lunn and senior defensive end Dan Dealy are the core players Ormberg will use to build a defense before forging an identity on offense. The offense could be a run-heavy attack with returning tailbacks Cam Giunta and Joe Vachon sharing snaps.

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Dedham

Norton

Coach: Robb McCoy (1st season). Career: 27-19; 24-11 at Norton (2006-08).

Last year’s record: 6-5.

Strengths: Offensive line, depth, senior leadership.

Concerns: Familiarity with new system.

Offense: Spread

Playing surface: Grass

Outlook: Robb McCoy returns to the sidelines as head coach of the Lancers following a 10-year hiatus, looking to re-instill his winning ways and lead them to another Super Bowl. McCoy is equipped with some quality returners and leaders on both sides of the ball, including senior captains quarterback Tyler Elliott, running back Lucas Combs, and lineman Jacob Chapman. In all, 13 starters on both sides, including a few two-way players, are back for the Lancers. The team is heavy on upper-classmen with 16 seniors and 17 juniors. The junior class may be even more talented, as tight end Hunter Murphy and defensive backs Sean McNichols and Colin Cochrane headline the bunch while defensive end Ayinde Williams is hoping to be healthy by mid-October. Sophomore Nate Sicard is the real catch, starting at both fullback and linebacker with college programs taking early notice.

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7:30 p.m., vs. Holliston

Sandwich

Coach: Matt MacLean (1st season).

Last year’s record: 3-8.

Strengths: Skill positions, depth at linebacker.

Concerns: New offense, depth on the offensive/defensive line.

Offense: Spread

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: After seven seasons as an assistant at both Abington and Sandwich, coach Matt MacLean takes over the head coaching role for the Blue Knights, looking to grow the young program in its 19th season. His biggest challenge will be competing in a tough Atlantic Coast League after losing a lot of size on both the offensive and defensive lines. Switching over from a Wing T, Sandwich will look to senior quarterback Cam Lopes to lead the charge, with MacLean referring to him as ‘‘our number one athlete.’’ His main weapons will be senior captains Charlie Chapman and Brendan McGillicuddy out of the backfield and junior receiver CJ Wiper. Defensively, McGillicuddy, Mike Norton, and Jacob Maiato are all returning starters at linebacker.

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. St. John Paul II

Scituate

Coach: Herb Devine (11th season). Career: 69-42.

Last year’s record: 8-3.

Strengths: Skill positions, athleticism, experience.

Concerns: Depth, size.

Offense: Spread

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: Expectations are sky-high for the Sailors following an historic 2017 season. For the first time in program history, Scituate earned victories in the postseason, advancing all the way to the Division 5 South final. Some big names return this fall for Scituate, including senior captain and quarterback Aidan Sullivan. Coach Herb Devine calls Sullivan ‘‘one of the best decision makers Ive ever coached.’’ Along with offensive returners -- juniors Dan May at receiver and Max Roche at tight end -- Sullivan will have junior running back Will Sheskey and junior wide receiver Nate Gould at his disposal. On defense, senior captain and linebacker Josh McKeever is back after leading the team in tackles last year. Despite the experience, depth remains a big concern for the Sailors.

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Norwell

Somerset Berkley

Coach: Nick Freitas (10th season). Career: 68-31.

Last year’s record: 7-3.

Strengths: Senior leadership, depth at running back.

Concerns: Getting young players up to speed.

Offense: Double wing

Playing surface: Artificial turf

Outlook: The competition for quarterback is still ongoing for the Raiders as the task of replacing dual-threat Chase Stafford is proving difficult. Senior Jake Meehan and junior Robbie Shaker are battling for the job but both will see time on offense this season. The backfield is shaping up to be versatile with a combination of size and speed to provide more variety offensively. Seniors Ben McMahon and Mike Gagliardi will see most of the touches, with McMahon making the transition from offensive lineman to the running game this year. Both will also start at linebacker and set the tone for the younger players on defense.

Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Durfee