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    2018 MIAA high school football team previews

    Foxborough-12/1/17- Division 2 superbowl- Lincoln-Sudbury vs King Philip- Superbowl champions King Philip celebrate with their trophy. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff(sports)
    John Tlumacki/Globe Staff file
    King Philip celebrated after winning the Super Bowl last season.

    Here is a look at each EMass football team heading into the 2018 season. Schools are listed alphabetically; click on a letter below to jump to a different section.

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    Abington

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    Playoff alignment: Division 7 South

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    Coach: James M. Kelliher (45th season). Career: 274-189-10.

    Last year’s record: 7-3

    Strengths: Returning players.

    Concerns: Tough schedule, depth.

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    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Though the Green Wave graduated a talented group of seniors, a healthy number of this year’s roster earned playing time in last year’s march to the South final. Junior Will Klein (5-10, 180) figures to be a dynamic threat in the offense, receiving reps in the slot, at running back, and at safety. Senior Christian LaBossier was solid at quarterback in a scrimmage against Sandwich. Twin brothers Jarib and Jarae Cole will anchor the D line. Defensive back Colin Leary returns, and senior Justin Murphy is a strong two-way threat on the perimeter. ‘‘We have to make sure we get the work done in every single game, then we can look forward to something special afterwards,’’ said coach Jim Kelliher.

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

    Acton-Boxborough

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

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    Coach: Tim Bassett (2nd season). Career: Career: 5-6..

    Last year’s record: 5-6

    Strengths: Depth at skill positions.

    Concerns: Inexperienced offensive line.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Colonials once again will be led by Finn Murray, a three-year starter at quarterback and three-sport captain. The 6-foot-2 Murray, also a starting safety since his sophomore year, will have five returnees at receiver as targets. Victor Otero is the most consistent, according to second-year coach Tim Bassett. Stanley Bernard is a downfield burner capable of taking the top off the defense. Senior Patrick Kronenwett and sophomore Alex Berrouet are expected to share reps in the backfield. Acton-Boxborough doesn’t bring back as much experience defensively, but Bassett hopes for a big season from sophomore Hollis Dirstine, a two-way tackle.

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

    Amesbury

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

    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

    Andover

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

    Coach: EJ Perry (9th season). Career: Career: 54-32..

    Last year’s record: 4-7

    Strengths: Experience on defensive front.

    Concerns: Inexperience at quarterback.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: For the first time in several years, there is a battle for the starting quarterback position at Andover. Junior Mark Bentley, sophomore Jolfy Frias and freshman Victor Harrington all were competing for reps and shared time during a scrimmage with Lexington Aug 25. A week before the season though, it looks like the 6-foot-4 Bentley has edged out Harrington for the position. Overall, Andover returns 15 starters and 26 lettermen. Senior Brendon Moody will be asked to step up at receiver following the graduation of Cedric Gillette, while Tommy Duncan and Joshua Ramos return to share reps at running back. Defense has not been the Golden Warriors’ strong suit in the past, but Bryant University commit Vincent Bono leads a talented defensive line along with MVC all-star Dan Blatman. Senior captain Nick Zalanskas leads the linebackers. Junior Shamus Florio performed well at the Kohl’s National Kicking Showcase in Wisconsin this summer and will give Andover an edge on special teams.

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

    Apponequet

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

    Coach: Zane Fyfe (4th season). Career: 10-23..

    Last year’s record: 2-9.

    Strengths: Skill positions.

    Concerns: Inexperience.

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: What Apponequet may be lacking in age, it certainly is not lacking in experience. The Lakers have only four seniors on the roster yet they have 17 returning starters. ‘‘We’re definitely going to be looking towards the veteran players for leadership,’’ said coach Zane Fyfe. ‘‘We’re going to have to rely on them.’’ The returners are led by senior running back and linebacker Brent Dixon, who is coming off of a torn ACL he suffered four games into last season; senior wide receiver and defensive back Cobi Desrosiers, who had 22 catches for 311 yards and three touchdowns while recording 65 tackles and an interception on defense; and senior fullback and linebacker Shayne Comey, who led the team on offense with 426 rushing yards and seven touchdowns while also pacing the defense with 98 tackles, two sacks and five forced fumbles. Although Apponequet struggled in 2017, Fyfe is confident that if the Lakers can master the fundamentals they’ll be a good team this year.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6:30 p.m., vs. Middleborough

    Archbishop Williams

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 South

    Coach: Matt Reggiannini (1st season). Career: First year, assistant coach for 14 seasons..

    Last year’s record: 6-5

    Strengths: Returning starters, offensive line.

    Concerns: Depth, younger players at skill positions.

    Offense: Pro set

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Matt Regiannini takes over as head coach after Bill Kinsherf ended his run at 22 seasons. The Bishops return senior linemen Timothy Downs, Ryan Bellew, Sebastian Joseph and junior Matthew Herrick, but will start sophomores and juniors at the skill positions. Junior quarterback Neil Sanders will move into an expanded role after rushing for 128 yards and passing for 632 more and five TDs last fall. Colton Casper is another well-rounded player that will move into an expanded role. If we are successful, I think it definitely has to be on the backs of our linemen, said Regiannini.

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

    Arlington

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 North

    Coach: Ryan Gendron (4th season). Career: 15-18.

    Last year’s record: 6-5

    Strengths: Experience

    Concerns: Depth with underclassmen

    Offense: Pistol

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Arlington is determined to avoid a similar dip to 2016, when a 3-8 finish followed a 6-5 campaign in coach Ryan Gendron’s first season. The Spy Ponders return two-year starter Adam Bowler, who has thrown for 2,465 yards and produced 933 more on the ground in his career, with 22 touchdown passes and 10 more rushing. Senior back Joey Pazzia and senior receiver Peter Roche as focal points of the offense. Pazzia and senior Leo Minniti are also leaders on the defensive line. Bowler, Pazzia and Minniti were all Middlesex League All-Stars in 2017. ‘‘We want to compete for a league championship and then we want to win as many playoff games as we can,’’ Gendron said. ‘‘I’d like to play all the way to Gillette [Stadium].’’

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

    Arlington Catholic

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

    Coach: Anthony Petrelis (1st season).

    Last year’s record: 5-6.

    Strengths: Running back, skill players, senior leadership.

    Concerns: Inexperience.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: With new coach Anthony Petrelis, who used to be the defensive coordinator, and few returning starters, the Cougars are inexperienced on the field and the sidelines. However, what Arlington Catholic lacks in experience, it more than makes up for in other areas. ‘‘We are an inexperienced team,’’ Petrelis said. ‘‘But we have a lot of skill and athleticism.’’ That skill and athleticism takes form in senior returning RBs Josh Smith and Christian Santillana. Additionally, the Cougars are returning seniors 6-foot-3 WR Matt Morganelli and 6-foot-4 TE Frank Cancelliere to lead a big, athletic offense.

    Season opener: Thursday, Sept. 6, 6:30 p.m., vs. Watertown

    Ashland

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

    Coach: Andrew MacKay (8th season). Career: 38-39..

    Last year’s record: 5-6.

    Strengths: Depth, quarterback.

    Concerns: Inexperience.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Starting this fall Ashland will be playing in the Tri-Valley Large. Moving up from the Small Division to Large is sure to be different but coach Andrew MacKay is looking forward to the challenge. ‘‘We’re super excited,’’ MacKay said. ‘‘We’re cautiously optimistic but we know if we take things day by day we can succeed.’’ The Clockers return five key seniors in QB/S Jackson Hornung, RB/ILB Brady Assencoa, DB/WR Nathan Sickles, S/WR Jake Latessa, and C/DL Ryan Dwinells.

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

    Atlantis Charter

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 South

    Coach: Jerome Thompson (2nd season). Career: Career: 0-9.

    Last year’s record: 0-9

    Strengths: Athleticism

    Concerns: Commitment

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: After an 0-9 campaign in their first year at the varsity level, the Tritons have their eyes set on making the playoffs. Second-year coach Jerome Thompson admits it may be ‘‘audacious’’ but he feels with a roster numbering 35, he can can keep his best players fresh and rested for the fourth quarter. Senior running back/corner Dezmin DePina is considered the program’s best athlete. Brian Arruda is a 235-pound guard/linebacker. Former soccer player Nasrallah El-Lakis has displayed skill as a kicker, receiver, and corner.He also expects to be a source of leadership for a young team.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m., at Martha’s Vineyard

    Attleboro

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

    Coach: Michael Strachan (6th season). Career: Career: 26-29..

    Last year’s record: 5-6

    Strengths: Size on defensive line.

    Concerns: Experience at skill positions.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Bombardiers are not lacking for size up front with 6-foot-4 senior Nick Evans leading a stout defensive line and 6-foot-6 junior Qualeem Charles plugging up the middle at defensive tackle. Jason Weir, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound junior, will move from defensive end to quarterback, with sixth-year coach Michael Strachan describing Ware as a ‘‘Tim Tebow-type runner.’’ Ware will work in tandem with 5-foot-8 senior back Justin Cote, who will also play outside linebacker. Michael Strachan Jr., the coach’s on, starts at inside linebacker and tight end as a sophomore. Defense has been an issue for the Bombardiers in years past, but Attleboro may have the right personnel to stop the run and compete against a tough schedule this season.

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

    Austin Prep

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

    Coach: Bill Maradei (40th season). Career: 273-147-4 overall; 173-86 at Austin Prep..

    Last year’s record: 1-10.

    Strengths: Senior class, quarterback, backfield.

    Concerns: Depth, offensive and defensive lines.

    Offense: Double wing

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Austin Prep hasn’t even played a game yet and things are already looking up. The Cougars are coming off a 1-10 season that coach Bill Maradei described as the toughest year he’s ever had, but with a move from the Catholic Central (Large) to the Catholic Central (Small), Austin Prep’s outlook is nowhere near as bleak as you’d think. ‘‘Moving leagues is never easy,’’ said Maradei, who will retire after 2018. ‘‘But we’ll be more competitive.’’ The Cougars return 10 starters and are looking for their double wing offense’s backfield to carry the load. Among the returning starters are senior captain quarterback Matt Rubino, senior captain running back Lucas Gebolys and senior running backs Dylan Cann and Chris Tucker. Maradei had high praise for senior captain and two-way lineman Nick Christopher, citing Christopher’s leadership as a major reason why the team’s senior class will be a strength this year.

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

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    Barnstable

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

    Coach: Ross Jatkola (1st season).

    Last year’s record: 3-8

    Strengths: Depth and experience.

    Concerns: Difficult schedule.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: In his first year in charge of the Red Raiders, Ross Jatkola has plenty of senior experience to help ease the transition. Returning senior QB and captain, Matt Petercuskie, is coming off a season where he set school records in pass attempts (326) and pass completions (196). Senior WR Trevor Blaze and junior tight end Colby Burke along with junior WR Drew Valentine will give Jatkola and Petercuskie plenty of options offensively. The Red Raiders will open up the season at home against Jatkola’s alma mater Dennis-Yarmouth (Sept. 7) before traveling to Braintree (Sept. 15). A challenging start for sure.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m., vs. Dennis-Yarmouth

    BC High

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

    Coach: Jonathan Brillo (1st season).

    Last year’s record: 10-1

    Strengths: Defensive depth.

    Concerns: Inexperience at skill positions.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The 2017 season ended in heartbreak for BC High -- with archrival Catholic Memorial stunning the Eagles with a last-second Hail Mary in a Division 1 South semifinal. Longtime assistant Jonathan Brillo steps in at head coach for Jon Bartlett, who remains the school’s athletic director. Brillo can expect some growing pains with the graduation of three All-Scholastics, quarterback Will Bowen (North Carolina/lacrosse), tailback Danny Abraham (Harvard) and offensive lineman Tommy Aicardi (Harvard). Junior Joe Brink is slated to start at quarterback and he will be handing off to a backfield by committee. Sophomore Carter Rice is one to watch at wide receiver, while senior captain Kaleb Moody could be ask to contribute offensively in addition to his role at safety. Defensive tackle Keith Henderson and linebacker John Destefanis are key components of a strong defensive unit and fellow captain John Freeman is the leader of a relatively inexperienced offensive line. BC High has 17 seniors on the roster, but roughly half of those did not start or see significant time last season.

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

    Bedford

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

    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.

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

    Bellingham

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 South

    Coach: Dan Haddad (4th season). Career: Career: 12-21.

    Last year’s record: 4-7

    Strengths: Senior leadership.

    Concerns: Young defensive secondary, line.

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Blackhawks will feature 12 seniors along with a group of freshmen. At quarterback, senior three-year starter Jimmy Kilduff returns as a dual threat. Senior back Dan Unegbu powers the ground game with outside zone carries. Senior end Jayden Caron and outside linebacker Kenny Morrissey will be key factors on defense. Senior back Evan Laroche could be a factor after missing most of last season. Coach Dan Haddad feels the seniors on the team will have to set the tone. ‘‘If they do, the team will go far,’’ said Haddad.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 12 p.m., at Blackstone-Millville/Hopedale

    Belmont

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 North

    Coach: Yann Kumin (5th season). Career: 13-31.

    Last year’s record: 2-9

    Strengths: Offensive firepower

    Concerns: Discipline on defense

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Coach Yann Kumin feels that his Marauders have a team minus any individual egos, which has led to a different energy in the locker room during the preseason. Belmont returns four two-way starters, seniors Sam Sagherian (guard/defensive end), Connor Shea (tackle/defensive end), Killian OConnell (running back/defensive back), and junior Derrick Brown (guard/defensive tackle). Other starters back include senior offensive tackle Jake Parsons, senior receiver Jared Edwards, senior linebacker Sam Harris and junior corner Justin Rocha. Junior quarterback Avery Arno is set to lead the offense in his first year as a starter. ‘‘We feel we’re a pretty well-kept secret,’’ Kumin said.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m., vs. Milton

    Beverly

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 North

    Coach: Andrew Morency (3rd season). Career: 70-55 (including 10 years at Hamilton-Wenham).

    Last year’s record: 3-8

    Strengths: Tight end, size

    Concerns: Schedule, depth at linebacker

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Two years removed from a sectional title, the Panthers have just two starters remaining from the state semifinalist squad: two-way end Bobby Adams and defensive end/running back Clayton McAlpine, each now a senior captain. Coach Andrew Morency hopes McAlpine, along with senior quarterback/receiver Ryan Barron, can create a potent one-two punch on offense. ‘‘Both have had tremendous offseasons and are looking to make a huge splash for their senior year,’’ Morency said. The key for Beverly? Improvement on third down defensively, an area in which the team struggled to get off the field in 2017. ‘‘A huge turnout and strong preseason has the team enthusiastic and driven,’’ Morency said.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m., vs. Lynn English

    Billerica

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 North

    Coach: Duane Sigsbury (5th season). Career: 30-15.

    Last year’s record: 7-4

    Strengths: Team speed and athleticism

    Concerns: Depth

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Eyeing a fourth consecutive playoff appearance under coach Duane Sigsbury, the Indians face a number of challenges. Billerica added nonleague contests against Bishop Feehan and Catholic Memorial in addition to their always-challenging trek through the Merrimack Valley Conference. The Indians have 12 seniors that played a role on the 2017 squad that reached the Division 3 North semifinals, including two-way linemen Travis Cole and Phil Xu. Sigsbury is also encouraged by the play of Mike Avery, a junior offensive lineman/linebacker, as well as junior receiver/defensive back Nick Gualtieri. ‘‘The Indians will need to use their overall team athleticism and speed to continue the program’s success and carry on the great tradition of Billerica football,’’ Sigsbury said.

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

    Bishop Feehan

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 South

    Coach: Gary Doherty (2nd season). Career: 105-136-2 (including 19 seasons at Framingham)..

    Last year’s record: 7-4

    Strengths: Offensive line, quarterback

    Concerns: Depth at key positions

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Shamrocks won seven of their final eight games after an 0-3 start last season. Second-year coach Gary Doherty is determined to avoid another slow start. Tim D’Ambrosia is a three-year starter at quarterback for the Shamrocks and he’ll have plenty of weapons. Among his targets? Junior tight end Caleb Fauria son of former New England Patriot Christian Fauria and running back Rex Bruschi, yes, the son of Tedy Bruschi. Stan Koss, a 6-foot-1, 260-pound senior, is the anchor of the offensive line.

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

    Bishop Fenwick

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

    Coach: Dave Woods (21st season). Career: 161-77..

    Last year’s record: 4-7.

    Strengths: Quarterback, receiving core.

    Concerns: Offensive line depth.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: After losing star QB Cory Bright to a torn ACL just two games into the 2017 season, the Crusaders are looking forward to getting back the school’s career passing touchdown leader. Bright, who had 1,990 total yards and 20 touchdowns in his last healthy season, headlines a strong group of senior captains. The Crusaders are returning WR/DB Keegan O’Connor, DB/WR Derek DelVecchio and OL/DL Tom MacDonald. Including the four captains, Bishop Fenwick is returning 13 returning starters, something that, according to coach Dave Woods, has created high expectations for the team.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Hamilton-Wenham

    Bishop Stang

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

    Coach: Dennis Golden (2nd season). Career: 79-96-1 overall; 4-7 at Bp Stang..

    Last year’s record: 4-7.

    Strengths: Ground game, receiving core, experience.

    Concerns: Defensive line, linebacker.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Bishop Stang is going from an inexperienced 2017 team into an experienced 2018 team. The Spartans return 15 starters, eight on offense and seven on defense. Coach Dennis Golden’s team made some improvements last year, but he knows the clock is ticking. ‘‘They have to be ready to go before Week One,’’ Golden said. Senior offensive guard Doug Chicca and senior defensive tackle Jarod Potocki are the leaders of the team and headline a senior class that should give the Spartans a big experience boost.

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

    Blue Hills

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 South

    Coach: Ed Catabia (11th season). Career: Career: 71-42.

    Last year’s record: 4-7

    Strengths: Team eager to learn

    Concerns: Inexperience

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: After failing to qualify for the playoffs last season, the Warriors are a team ready to learn and compete for the Mayflower small division. Blue Hills is young: juniors Connor Pfingston (quarterback) and Mason Murphy (running back) will be expected to carry the load. But coach Ed Catabia is confident. ‘‘They are great kids to be around, they’re eager to learn and the players are very coachable.’’

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 5 p.m., at Hull

    Boston English

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 North

    Coach: Ryan Conway (3rd season). Career: 6-15..

    Last year’s record: 2-8.

    Strengths: Skill positions, speed

    Concerns: How the team handles adversity.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The challenge for coach Ryan Conway this off season was to figure out the best way to build his team after taking in New Mission as a co-op. Conway didn’t want the kids from New Mission to feel timid coming into a new team and he didn’t want his English kids to feel entitled because it’s their team. ‘‘I was very mindful to remind the coaches and the players that the best players will play and that all positions were open,’’ said Conway. Boston English senior Tristan Champagnie is emerging as the favorite to start at quarterback for English. ‘‘Tristan is way out in front right now but we don’t want him to know he probably will win the job,’’ said Conway. English also expects New Mission sophomore and ball-hawking linebacker Luke McDonald to emerge as one of the team’s best defenders this year and in years to come.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Keefe Tech

    Boston Latin

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

    Coach: Ray Butler (3rd season). Career: 10-42 (6-16 at Boston Latin).

    Last year’s record: 2-9.

    Strengths: Offensive line.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Like most teams, it all starts on the line for Boston Latin. Senior Kevin Qi is a three-year starting tackle on the Wolfpacks offensive line and an ominous presence in the trenches. ‘‘Theres a big difference between when hes in there and when hes not in there,’’ Latin coach Ray Butler said. Throw 6-foot-3, 260-pound senior Johan Stavri into the mix on the offensive line and that gives second-year quarterback and senior Devin Vasquez plenty of protection. Senior Paul Curran is moving to running back from tight end, ‘‘based on his athletic ability and depth at that position,’’ according to Butler. Boston Latin has all the pieces of a balanced offense, and Butler said the team will work on consistently executing plays to make sure that translates into wins on the field.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 5 p.m., at O’Bryant

    Bourne

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 South

    Coach: John McIntyre (9th season). Career: 36-61.

    Last year’s record: 3-8

    Strengths: Senior leadership.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: The Canalmen return a seasoned group, many of whom are four-year starters. Senior captains Spencer Rose (receiver), James Cahoon (quarterback), Malcolm Brown (defensive end), Trevor Violette (offensive line), and Jack Neil (tight end/linebacker) have been instrumental in pushing the pace to get Bourne ready for the season. The Canalmen will also implement the spread attack, which will be a good fit for a talented core. ‘‘I think this will be a pretty good season for us. Were looking to improve on last year, said coach John McIntyre. ‘‘We have a lot of dedicated kids that have a selfless, team-first attitude.’’

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 12 p.m., at Upper Cape

    Braintree

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

    Coach: Brian Chamberlain (8th season). Career: 34-42..

    Last year’s record: 7-3

    Strengths: Skill positions and size/strength on lines.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: In his eighth season in charge of the Wamps, Brian Chamberlain feels like this could be the season the program takes the next step. Senior RB/LB Billy Silvia, who finished second in Division 2 in scoring last season is described by Chamberlain as a ‘‘ball hawk.’’ Silvia highlights a group of returning tailbacks that includes powerful runner and blocker Noah Brooks. Senior OL/DT Matt Doyle is a physical presence on both sides of the ball who will have a huge impact for Braintree.

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

    Bridgewater-Raynham

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

    Coach: Dan Buron (26th season). Career: 194-79-2..

    Last year’s record: 9-2.

    Strengths: Skill positions.

    Concerns: Inexperience.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The graduation of 25 seniors from last year’s team will have Dan Buron - in his 26th year - relying on young players to take up the slack. Sophomore Anthony Morrison and freshman Austin Hartsell have been battling things out in camp for the starting quarterback position, and whoever is the starter will have a key target in senior tight end Jeff Ciccio. The lines on both sides of the ball will be led by returning starters Nolan Anderson, Matt Cady, and Tim Brennan. Defensively, B-R has a returning veterans in CB Nico Carruci and S Kyle Duggan.

    Season opener: Thursday, Sept. 6, 7 p.m., vs. Duxbury

    Brighton

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 North

    Coach: Randolph Abraham (7th season). Career: 42-22..

    Last year’s record: 6-4.

    Strengths: Skill positions.

    Concerns: Young offensive line.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Bengals are going to be young and inexperienced after the graduation of a 15-player senior class, led by Quincy Taylor, William Jean and Jerrod Clark, all of whom were league all-stars. And Clark is on scholarship at Coastal Carolina. With senior Patrick Bynoe (5-11, 180) back at quarterback and classmate Tre Jackson Berry (6-3, 280) back on the offensive line, juniors KeSean Rue (5-11, 195) and Kevin Phan could have big seasons. The Bengals will start two freshmen on the offensive line. We are working with young men who are pushing themselves really, really hard and are learning fast, coach Randolph Abraham said. Im confident that we will defend our league title and go for our sixth in a row and were looking good.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6:30 p.m., vs. South Boston

    Bristol-Plymouth

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 South

    Coach: John Parris (12th season). Career: Career: 55-54.

    Last year’s record: 7-4

    Strengths: Experience throughout.

    Concerns: Developing chemistry.

    Offense: Pro set

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: A seasoned group of 17 upperclassmen will look to continue what was a strong finish in 2017. Senior captain Roman Barros was called a strong pocket passer by coach John Parris, but he’ll need a new prime target after the graduation of all-league receiver Nick Powers. Senior Akbar Christmas is the top candidate to fill the role. Senior backs Marcus Pittsley and Jamie Carson, both elusive with catching ability, will split carries. Center Michael Skwarto, a senior captain, and tackle Jacob Harrison will help anchor a solid line. This is one of those groups you look forward to having, said Parris.

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

    Brockton

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

    Coach: Peter Colombo (16th season). Career: Career: 106-55..

    Last year’s record: 3-8

    Strengths: Experience on offensive line.

    Concerns: All-around depth.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: After a rare non-winning season, the Boxers returns 10 starters and brings back five experienced players on the O line. Junior back Eddie Ferreira has reportedly put on some 25 pounds of muscle as he prepares carve out chunks of yardage behind that sizable front. Head coach Peter Colombo enters his 16th season, but he will do so minus 15-year defensive coordinator Robert O’Neil, who stepped down to spend more time with his family. Longtime assistant Matt Campbell and former Brockton star Carlito Weaver (‘08) will share duties at defensive coordinator and lean on a physical defense line anchored by 6-foot-4, 260-pound senior Segun Okunlola. Senior Mike Norman, a pocket passer piloting Brockton’s spread attack, takes over at quarterback for graduate Jose Monteiro Jr. He’ll have ample weapons on the outside including 6-6 senior Taisaun Glenn-Doherty and 6-4 sophomore Nayvon Reid. But the tradition of Brockton football remains its ground game. ‘‘We want to run the football,’’ said Colombo. ‘‘We pride ourselves on being a good running team. If we can do that, we can find balance ... and try to be better in all three phases.’’

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

    Brookline

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

    Coach: Chad Hunte (1st season)..

    Last year’s record: 3-8

    Strengths: Team speed, skill positions.

    Concerns: Adjusting to new system.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Warriors should excite under first-year coach Chad Hunte, who takes the helm of his alma mater with a number of dynamic athletes working around new quarterback Mark Barrett. A 6-foot-4 basketball standout at Brookline, Barrett returns to the gridiron for the first time since his Pop Warner days at the behest of Hunte and the senior is reportedly having a terrific training camp. Barrett will look to seniors Chris Lopez and Amari Withers as his primary targets. As a junior, Withers was outstanding at safety, picking off five passes and scoring two touchdowns. Middle linebacker John Fisher is the leader on defense. Hunte is happy to welcome back defensive tackle Kobe Yossef after the junior missed most of last year due to injury.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m., vs.

    Burke

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 North

    Coach: Byron Beaman (8th season). Career: 21-52..

    Last year’s record: 2-8.

    Strengths: Running back.

    Concerns: Selfishness.

    Offense: Wishbone

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Coming off a 2-8 campaign in 2017, the Bulldogs will feature a young team that will need to rely on a few key players if they want to have a successful 2018. There will be a lot of young guys vying for spots and to prove themselves. Coach Byron Beaman is putting it on himself and his staff to put those young players in the best spots to succeed. One of the senior leaders the team will look to is 2017 Boston City All-Star Audriel Guante, who plays fullback in the Bulldogs’ wishbone attack. A playmaker that the team will turn to will be junior Avantai Withers, a starting running back as a sophomore. Beaman figures Withers will be the team’s starting quarterback this year to take advantage of his athleticism.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 14, 6:30 p.m., vs. Weston

    Burlington

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

    Coach: Dan MacKay (2nd season). Career: 1-10..

    Last year’s record: 1-10.

    Strengths: Experience.

    Concerns: Consistency.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Burlington went through a rebuilding year in 2017 during Dan MacKay’s first season as coach, but he expects the Red Devils to surprise some teams in the Middlesex Freedom this year. Burlington returns 10 defensive starters and nine on offense, including all five offensive linemen. ‘‘We’re going to be much more competitive because of the experience that we have,’’ MacKay said. Junior Khyle Pea returns at quarterback for the second year in a row, as does junior wide receiver Ryan O’Halloran. MacKay is confident in his receivers’ abilities to run routes and work with Pea to produce points in their pro-style spread system. Junior Jake McCauley, is an athletic 6-foot-2, 190-pound outside linebacker. He returns after leading the team with 78 tackles last season.

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

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    Cambridge

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

    Coach: Roy Howard (2nd season). Career: 1-10..

    Last year’s record: 1-10

    Strengths: Experience.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: After a bumpy first season at the helm for Roy Howard, a group of talented skill players look to right the ship for the Falcons. The return of senior WRs Tariq Lucona, Troy Nickens, and Nelton Dormevil give Cambridge a chance to improve under Howard. Five of the Falcons’ 10 losses last season were by 10 points or less, and Cambridge lost its first three games by a total of 10 points all together. With a bit more experience under the belt, a change of fortune could be in store.

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

    Canton

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

    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

    Cape Cod Tech

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 South

    Coach: Chris Leonard (8th season). Career: Career: 11-55.

    Last year’s record: 4-6

    Strengths: Defense

    Concerns: Depth

    Offense: Read option

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Defense will be the strength of the 2018 Crusaders, according to coach Chris Leonard. That starts with senior ends Trevor Castillas and Richardson Pierre, and their ability to pressure the quarterback. Senior captain Payton Walker will man the middle at linebacker. Archer Estenvil, a 2017 Mayflower League All-Star, is shifting to quarterback as a senior, trying to make the read option even more dangerous. Archer’s brother, Keke, expects to be a part of the running back rotation along with Kyle Chase.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6:30 p.m., at Monomoy

    Cardinal Spellman

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

    Coach: Ron St. George (11th season). Career: 262-129-5 overall; 79-44 at Spellman..

    Last year’s record: 6-5.

    Strengths: Captains, offensive line.

    Concerns: Inexperience.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: One of the youngest, most inexperienced teams in the Catholic Central, Cardinal Spellman enters the 2018 season with just three returning starters, all on the offensive line. Seniors Rob McAlpine (C/DT), Andrew Force (OL/DL), and Collin Tracey (OL/DL) are captains and will be looked to for both veteran leadership and strength on the lines. ‘‘Those three supply the team leadership,’’ said coach Ron St. George. ‘‘We need them to be at their best if we want to compete.’’

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

    Carver

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 South

    Coach: Doug Borsari (1st season). Career: .

    Last year’s record: 4-7

    Strengths: Returning players, combined program.

    Concerns: Schedule.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: First-year head coach Doug Borsari takes over at Carver, which now is affiliating with Sacred Heart of Kingston for a co-op. The program has 10 seniors, along with a number of new players. Senior captain Trevor Drakakis (Carver) will be the go-to back and classmate Steven Dwyer starts at QB. A senior line of returning starters features captains James Silva (Carver), Cam Stoloski (Sacred Heart) and Dan Sinclair (Sacred Heart).

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Coyle & Cassidy

    Case

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 South

    Coach: Anthony Palladino (5th season). Career: Career: 17-38.

    Last year’s record: 5-6

    Strengths: Offensive line, skill positions.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Pro set

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: After a 5-7 season, Case could be a tough out in D7 this season. The return of a high-powered offense and solid line will be a tough task for opposing teams to contain. Senior Chris Costa (6-0, 175) returns after notching 1,100 all-purpose yards and 15 TDs as a running back/receiver. Junior quarterback Danny Silva will be back under center. Senior captain RB/LB Ty Couto is a key returner, described as the ‘‘heart and soul’’ of the team by coach Anthony Palladino. Senior linemen Isaac Tucker and Noah Casado will anchor the line. ‘‘Our goal is to a physical team that runs the ball and stops the run,’’ said Palladino.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Bristol-Plymouth

    Cathedral

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 North

    Coach: Derrick Beasley (1st season).

    Last year’s record: 10-2.

    Strengths: Defensive line.

    Concerns: Quarterback.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Panthers start 2018 with a new coach, Derrick Beasley, a new quarterback, senior Tito Okundaye, and a roster of new faces for a program that finished 10-2 a year ago. Paul Sobolewski, the Globe’s 2017 D8 Coach of the Year, is now at Pope John. And All-Scholastic back Khalil Blair and his 34 touchdowns departed via graduation. There were other key losses to graduation, and transfer. Okundaye’s twin brother, Tuto, will start in the backfield. And senior Chris Jean-Louis has exhibited potential, but is working his way through a new injury.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m., at Old Colony

    Catholic Memorial

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

    Coach: John DiBiaso (1st season). Career 304-75-1 at St. Patrick’s, Weston and Everett..

    Last year’s record: 6-5

    Strengths: All three levels on defense.

    Concerns: Inexperience at skill positions.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Moving over to Catholic Memorial after a legendary 26-year-run at Everett, John DiBiaso inherits a roster that is loaded with talent on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive end Lucas Folan and defensive backs Khari Johnson and Hunter Tully are all-scholastic candidates and 6-foot-4, 325-pound senior Hunter Salmon is a force at offensive guard and defensive tackle. Junior Barrett Pratt is the favorite to start at quarterback with Johnson and Tully serving as his primary receivers. Junior Jamall Griffin leads the competition at running back and sophomore Owen McGowan is expected to lead the linebackers and potentially see some reps on offense. ‘‘I was very excited all summer and couldn’t wait to get started,’’ said DiBiaso, who won 12 Super Bowls with Everett. ‘‘There are going to be bumps in the road, but hopefully the kids will buy in, work hard and we’ll get better every week.’’

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 7 p.m., at St. John’s (Shrewsbury)

    Central Catholic

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

    Coach: Chuck Adamopoulos (22nd season). Career: Career: 160-69..

    Last year’s record: 10-1

    Strengths: Team speed.

    Concerns: Inexperience on offensive and defensive line.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Last fall, a loaded Raiders team ran into an unstoppable juggernaut in Everett, ending their quest for a Division 1 state title in a 10-1 season. Now Central Catholic returns just three starters and features a new starting quarterback, senior Jared Silverio. He took reps when Merrimack Valley D1 MVP Bret Edwards (now a freshman at New Hampshire) was injured last year and he has the inside track for the starting job under center. Standout corner Joe Howshan is expected to be the leader on defense. Linebacker Shawn Morgan is the sole returner in the defensive front seven. Central coach Chuck Adamapoulos expects Cam Boes to make an impact at defensive end and will look for other young athletes to step up in a rebuilding year.

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

    Charlestown

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 North

    Coach: David Cahill (5th season). Career: 8-28..

    Last year’s record: 5-3.

    Strengths: Experience at QB, RB.

    Concerns: Numbers.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Townies had quite the two-year turnaround under coach David Cahill as they went from 1-8 in 2016, to 5-3 and a playoff berth in 2017. Charlestown is loaded up with 10 returning starters from last season and is ready for another shot in the playoffs after losing to New Mission last fall. That’s been something that has stuck with Cahill and one of his goals this season is to get over that hump and get to the semi-finals. A key player to the Townies’ success is gifted quarterback Steven Williams, a Boston City All-Star a year ago. Williams will need weapons and someone who Cahill expects to take a big step this year is sophomore receiver Wellington Arias. Combining that duo with a solid rotation of experienced running backs should make a potent offense for the Townies.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 14, 6 p.m., vs. West Roxbury

    Chelmsford

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

    Coach: Dave Kaizer (3rd season). Career: 9-13..

    Last year’s record: 5-6.

    Strengths: Size up front, work ethic, speed at skill positions.

    Concerns: Depth, inexperience.

    Offense: Read option

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Lions are ready to get the season rolling. Coach David Kaizer credits the team for putting in an excellent preseason, and bringing energy to practice every day. In the past two years the program has taken steps in the right direction and this year they could take another step in a competitive MVC. The loss of last year’s Division 2 leading scorer, Sal Lupoli, puts a void on the offensive side of the ball for Chelmsford, but senior RBs Andrew Shore and Mike Vecchione have explosive talent in them as well. Senior TE Peter Caruso and senior WR Brian Mitchel should provide offense for the Lions as well.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Acton-Boxborough

    Chelsea

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 North

    Coach: Rasi Chau (1st season).

    Last year’s record: 2-8.

    Strengths: Solid line, athletic defense.

    Concerns: Inexperience at skill positions.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Rasi Chau takes over as head coach after working as a defensive coordinator for the Red Devils. Theyll lean on a fast, athletic defense and a line of upperclassmen to start the season. Senior Tony Falcon will take over as starting QB. Top targets for him will be senior Gabriel Rosado and sophomore Walter Gonzalez. Chau said the senior leadership has been a driving factor for the team, coordinating summer workouts and making sure the team is ready for this campaign. ‘‘I think we’ll be better than last year, said Chau. All the coaches are committed. The players are dedicated.’’

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m., at Mystic Valley

    Cohasset

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 South

    Coach: Peter Afanasiw (13th season). Career: 88-40.

    Last year’s record: 6-5

    Strengths: Athleticism, returning players.

    Concerns: Offensive line, depth.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Skippers could be the favorite in the South Shore Tobin League with an experienced group returning this season. Senior quarterback Matt Lund has familiar targets senior receivers Cliff Ward and Mark Mahoney. On defense, senior captain Jackson Fitzgerald returns at defensive end, helping reinforce a solid pass rush and run stop. Junior Tucker Fulton (6-4, 185) is back at defensive back. ‘‘I think we have the potential to challenge Abington and Mashpee for a league title,’’ said head coach Pete Afanasiw. ‘‘This team has a lot of untapped potential.’’

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

    Concord-Carlisle

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 North

    Coach: Mike Robichaud (10th season). Career: 73-31.

    Last year’s record: 5-6

    Strengths: Offensive and defensive lines

    Concerns: Depth and experience

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Mike Robichaud said he likes what he has in the trenches, both offensively and defensively, spearheaded by captains DJ Jelin, Drew Freund and Reid Corliss. Junior linebackers Christian Gemelli and Cam Ladd, each in their second full year as starters, provide experience at the next level defensively. ‘‘Success this season is continued development of the team,’’ Robichaud said. ‘‘Transition from inexperienced to forged competitors through supreme effort and attitude in every practice and every game.’’ The Patriots have been eliminated in the first round of the postseason each of the last two years after an appearance in the D3 North final in 2015.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Oliver Ames

    Coyle & Cassidy

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 South

    Coach: Chris Pabst (4th season). Career: Career: 8-25.

    Last year’s record: 5-6

    Strengths: Senior leadership

    Concerns: Staying healthy

    Offense: Triple option

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Bounced in the D8 playoffs by St. John Paul II as a seventh seed, the Warriors are looking to build on that experience with a team heavy on underclassmen. Heading into his third season as starter, junior captain Jackson Murray will be leading the dangerous triple option attack after scoring 10 touchdowns in the final five games last season. ‘‘Smartest kid on the field,’’ said coach Chris Pabst. ‘‘He’s going to turn heads this year.’’ Another player to watch: 6-4, 270-pound two-way tackle Kurtees Poisson, who is already garnering college interest as a junior. ‘‘He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with,’’ said Pabst.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Carver/Sacred Heart

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    Danvers

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 North

    Coach: Ryan Nolan (2nd season). Career: 6-5.

    Last year’s record: 6-5

    Strengths: Experience and versatility on offense

    Concerns: Talented but inexperienced skill position players

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Matt McCarthy, a senior captain, produced 1,000-plus yards from scrimmage last fall for the Falcons, in addition to playing corner and safety on defense. He will continue to line up all over the field for Danvers, a squad with plenty of talent at the skill positions, many of whom lack experience. Senior captain Tom Walfield is a mainstay on both sides of the line for the Falcons. Coach Ryan Nolan said that success for Danvers starts on the line, and that includes tight end and fullback, along with the front seven on D. ‘‘Last year these groups were young, undersized and inexperienced and got pushed around by physical teams at times,’’ Nolan said. ‘‘Ninety percent of these players return this year with experience, year-round strength training, and a commitment to running the ball and stopping the run.’’

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

    Dartmouth

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

    Coach: Richard White (15th season). Career: 105-49-3..

    Last year’s record: 6-5.

    Strengths: Offensive skill players.

    Concerns: Inexperienced offensive and defensive lines.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Most teams wouldn’t consider a 6-5 season a ‘‘down year,’’ but coach Richard White will aim to get the Indians back to the point where they’re capable of making a deep playoff run. There’s plenty of talent among a young group and White’s focus is making sure they’re well prepared. ‘‘Camp has been about getting guys to fit into the schemes on offense and defense,’’ White said. Junior quarterback Nolan Ellis is the focal point of the offense, a smart, composed leader who is a dual threat and can use the run option. White likes what he sees from a trio of running backs in senior Dustin Couto, junior Dylan Pacheco, and upstart freshman Javar Williams. Owen Gilbeault, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior will lead inexperienced offensive and defensive lines.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Central Catholic

    Dedham

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

    Coach: David Flynn (8th season). Career: 39-93..

    Last year’s record: 6-5.

    Strengths: Experience at skill positions, athleticism, depth.

    Concerns: Size and strength, inexperienced offensive line and inside linebackers.

    Offense: Pistol

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Coming off its best season in over a decade, Dedham is on the verge of becoming a perennially strong program. The Marauders return 28 seniors from its 6-5 squad in 2017 that made the playoffs before falling in the first round to Old Rochester. Among the returning seniors are captains WR/DB Jack Tannous, RB/DB PJ DeVirgilio, RB/LB Billy Casey, and OL/DE Elijah Brown. Senior Ryan Flaherty will once again be handling the quarterbacking duties after taking over the quarterback position midway through last season. The Marauders are returning seven starters on both offense and defense, and should be primed for more improvement in 2018.

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

    Dennis-Yarmouth

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

    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

    Dighton-Rehoboth

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

    Coach: Dave Moura (2nd season). Career: 4-7..

    Last year’s record: 4-7.

    Strengths: Senior class.

    Concerns: Offensive line.

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: The Falcons lost by two points to Silver Lake in last season’s Division 4 South quarterfinals, so coach Dave Moura described his team’s collective attitude in one word hungry. That hunger stems from a senior class that has 23 in its group, but only six with varsity experience. ‘‘We’re probably going to see a lot of different people contribute,’’ Moura said. ‘‘It’s nice in that sense that they’re going to be hungry for playing time.’’ D-R lost the lynch pin of its Wing-T system in fullback Dennis Monteiro (18 touchdowns in 2017), but senior Chase Carroll is ready to take that position while seniors Reis Foley and Joe Carrera and sophomore Jaren Ramos will also get carries. D-R has five new players on its offensive line. ‘‘Hopefully they’ll gel pretty quickly,’’ Moura said. Senior defensive tackle Mason Cadorette is a talented and ominous presence at defensive tackle at 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds. He’s getting looks from Stonehill College, Bryant University, and Franklin Pierce University.

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

    Diman

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 South

    Coach: Steve Winarski (3rd season). Career: 77-24-3 (62-17-3 at Durfee).

    Last year’s record: 7-4

    Strengths: Experience at skill positions

    Concerns: Depth

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Coach Steve Winarski feels theres room for improvement after a 7-4 campaign ended with a first-round playoff loss to eventual D7 state champion Mashpee. The Bengals lost two games to Bristol-Plymouth and Shawsheen by 6 total points. Ball security and turnover prevention were emphasized in the preseason. The offense is in good hands with junior quarterback OShaun Brooks, a dual-threat field general who split time under center last season. Hell be flanked in the backfield by senior back Jean Claude King, also an impact outside linebacker on defense. Senior edge rushers Zach Poitras and Lyndon Carreiro will provide valuable speed and athleticism from the outside. The defense should benefit from the improvement of junior middle linebacker Caesar Castro. Staying healthy will be key for the Bengals.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. West Bridgewater

    Dover-Sherborn

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

    Coach: Stephen Ryan (2nd season). Career: 13-9 (2004 at D-S)..

    Last year’s record: 4-7.

    Strengths: Skill positions.

    Concerns: Size on offensive/defensive line, overall depth.

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Heading into his second year at the helm of Dover-Sherborn, coach Stephen Ryan expects the Raiders to be competitive. D-S returns senior RB/DB Tylan Mendes, senior RB/DB Timmy Polk and senior TE/DL Jamie Wirth, a Tri-Valley League All-Star in 2017. The backfield combo of Polk and Wirth will be expected to lead the Raiders’ Wing T offense and will be looking to make up for a lack of size on the offensive line.

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

    Dracut

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

    Coach: Jason Rivers (5th season). Career: 12-30..

    Last year’s record: 4-6.

    Strengths: Skill players.

    Concerns: Offensive line.

    Offense: Read option

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Dracut’s read option offense may be poised for success this season with a number of returning skill players. Senior quarterback Devin Lambert returns after showing poise and talent in six starts last season. Dracut has an experienced group of receivers, led by seniors Cam McCullough, Joey Petka, Shawn McGuire, Lucas Ibarguan, and junior Jakob Rivers. Seniors Allyn French and Kyle Silva will both see time at running back. Senior Will Peters, who led the Merrimack Valley Conference with 11 sacks in 2017, will anchor both the defensive and offensive lines.

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

    Durfee

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

    Coach: Taylor Brown (5th season). Career: 15-28..

    Last year’s record: 2-8.

    Strengths: Experience at skill positions and returning seniors.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The three goals set for the Hilltoppers this season are simple: 1. Win the Big 3 Conference. 2. Make the MIAA playoffs. 3. Finish with a winning record. In his fifth season In Fall River, Taylor Brown will look to focus on the ‘‘little things’’ with the team on daily basis to help them achieve these goals. ‘‘This camp has been the best camp we have had up to this point since our staff has been here,’’ said Brown. This has made expectations rise at Durfee, and a winning record, and more, could be on the horizon for the Hilltoppers.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Somerset Berkley

    Duxbury

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 South

    Coach: Dave Maimaron (14th season). Career: 137-39.

    Last year’s record: 8-3

    Strengths: Returning experience on offense

    Concerns: Inexperience on defense

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Pretty much every season comes equipped with Super Bowl expectations in Duxbury, and this fall is no different. ‘‘It’s always the same, you’ve got to stay healthy and get a couple of bounces along the way,’’ coach Dave Maimaron said. The Dragons have all kinds of options on offense, with Colby College commit John Roberts at quarterback, fellow seniors Jack Jacobson and Will Prouty at wide receiver and Tim Landolfi at slotback. Roberts threw for 1,654 yards and 22 touchdown passes as a junior. Princeton-bound Quinn Murphy, a four-year starter, anchors the O line at 6-foot-6, 290 pounds. Linebacker Mike McCutcheon, another senior, is the heart and soul of the defense.

    Season opener: Thursday, Sept. 6, 7 p.m., at Bridgewater-Raynham

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    East Boston

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 North

    Coach: John Parziale (9th season). Career: 48-36..

    Last year’s record: 6-4.

    Strengths: Returning players in skill positions.

    Concerns: Young offensive/defensive line.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: With returning players in the skill positions, coach John Parziale feels he has a competitive group this season. Senior captain Angelo Blake and senior Hector Martinez will split carries at running back after the departure of senior Brandon Ortega (11 TDs). In the trenches, a line of mostly JV players from last season is an area of concern. Parziale said theyre working hard and improving, theyll just have to show it against a tough schedule. ‘‘We expect to do well this season,’’ said Parziale. ‘‘We have to prove it on the field.’’

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Lowell Catholic

    East Bridgewater

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

    Coach: Shawn Tarpey (14th season). Career: 93-62-1..

    Last year’s record: 3-8.

    Strengths: Quarterback, offensive line.

    Concerns: Skill positions, depth.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: East Bridgewater is heading into the 2018 season with hopes that its quarterback and offensive line can make up for some skill position depth issues. Coach Shawn Tarpey acknowledged that they’re working out some kinks at the skill positions. The Vikings return three-year starting QB Liam LeVangie, WR/DB Evan Dyer, OL/DL Sal Clifford and OL/DE Dan O’Shea. All four are the Vikings’ captains and will headline a returning class that contains 10 returning starters, with five on offense and five on defense.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m., at Wellesley

    Essex Tech

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

    Coach: Dan Connors (2nd season). Career: 2-9..

    Last year’s record: 2-9.

    Strengths: Veteran leadership.

    Concerns: Implementing new offense/defense systems.

    Offense: Triple option

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Returning seven starters on both offense and defense from a 2-9 squad last year, head coach Dan Connors is hoping the added year of experience can lead to a strong turnaround. ‘‘The rookies that went through a tough 2-9 season last year are now hardened veterans,’’ Connors said. ‘‘[They] spent the summer training four nights per week.’’ Amongst the returners are seniors QB Vinny Brazzo (179 rushing yards, 313 passing yards, five total TDs) and RB/S Hunter Lane (792 total yards and four TDs). Seniors LB Mason White, LB Manny Alves and DE Chris Levie are also expected to play big roles.

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

    Everett

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

    Coach: Theluxon Pierre (1st season)..

    Last year’s record: 11-0

    Strengths: Experience on offensive and defensive lines.

    Concerns: Adjusting to a new system.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Legendary coach John DiBiaso stepped down after leading a dominant Everett team to yet another Super Bowl championship. Now one of his former players, and longtime assistant, Theluxon Pierre, takes the helm. Pierre plans to run a spread offense with either sophomore Duke Doherty or freshman Ishmael Zamore working as quarterback under Reynaldi Audate, another former Crimson Tide player who is the team’s offensive coordinator. ‘‘When it’s a new system, everyone has to adjust and it takes time to trust each other,’’ said Pierre. ‘‘We have athletes, we’re just trying to find ways to get them the ball.’’ Everett welcomes transfer Isaac Seide, the Globe’s D4 Player of the Year last fall for Melrose in its march to an unbeaten season and Super Bowl win. The Crimson Tide will also continue to feature Virginia Tech commit Mike Sainristil, arguably the most dynamic player in the MIAA and a scoring threat in all three phases of the game.

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

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    Fairhaven

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

    Coach: Rudy Bulgar (9th season). Career: 28-56..

    Last year’s record: 5-6.

    Strengths: Fullback, running back.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Experience is always a good thing, and that rings true for Fairhaven. The Blue Devils return 15 starters, seven on offense and eight on defense. Were returning a pretty good core from last year, said coach Rudy Bulgar. That core includes a strong backfield in senior fullback Zach Guillote, junior running back Flynn Bourgault, and junior running back Owen Cebula. Calling the shots for that backfield will be senior quarterback Brady Bennett. The Blue Devils athletic backfield should carry the brunt of the load for the offense.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Greater New Bedford

    Falmouth

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

    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

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

    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

    Framingham

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

    Coach: Ed Mantie (2nd season). Career: Career: 3-8..

    Last year’s record: 3-8

    Strengths: Experience on offensive line and at quarterback.

    Concerns: Depth in defensive secondary.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Under the direction of second-year coach Ed Mantie, the Flyers will air it out, capable of putting points on the board with a solid spread attack. Junior Jack Beverly, who started six games in 2017, returns at quarterback, but reportedly, with 15 to 20 more pounds of muscle. Mantie has been impressed by Beverly’s leadership and command of the offense -- he watched his signal caller complete eight straight passes in the team’s first scrimmage. Junior Andrew Keane will work as a slot receiver opposite senior Jon Lonzo, who is also a returning starter at linebacker. Framingham returns three starters on the offensive line and six starters in the defensive front seven. But with only one starter returning in the defensive secondary, Mantie is concerned about his team’s pass defense.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6:30 p.m., vs. Stoughton

    Franklin

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

    Coach: Eian Bain (3rd season). Career: Career: 4-18..

    Last year’s record: 2-9

    Strengths: Offensive line and skill positions.

    Concerns: Inexperience at quarterback.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: With senior stalwart Jake Noviello at the controls, the Panthers threw for over 2,500 yards last fall. Franklin may take a more conservative approach this season with senior Nick Gordon and junior Tom Gasbarro competing for the starting position under third-year coach Eian Bain. The starting QB will have a great target with 6-foot-4, 205-pound wideout Sean Leonard, who led the Hockomock League with eight receiving scores last season. Speedster Ryan Driscoll is another outside threat and junior Jack Nally rounds out a talented receiving corps. Nally was leading the Hock in receptions before suffering a collarbone injury halfway through the 2017 season. ‘‘If Nally is healthy and we have those other guys we can be pretty tough to match up with,’’ said Bain. Junior Evan Wertz returns at middle linebacker after recording just under 100 tackles last year and three-year starter Nolan McLaney, second on the team in tackles last fall, is back at safety.

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

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    Georgetown

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 North

    Coach: Eric McCarthy (4th season). Career: 12-19..

    Last year’s record: 5-5.

    Strengths: Depth at receiver, passing attack.

    Concerns: Size on offensive line.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: With a number of weapons on offense, coach Eric McCarthy has expectations that this group can compete. At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, senior end Hunter Lane will be a prime target after 1,200 receiving yards and 16 TDs last season. McCarthy said hes a Division 1 college prospect. ‘‘Hes a very tough matchup, even when he’s double-teamed, said McCarthy. Junior quarterback Stephen MacDonald takes over under center after scoring seven touchdowns last year. And with senior Carmine Palmisano (running back/linebacker) and wide receivers Cody Mello and Matt Galley, the Royals will look to push for a home playoff game.

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

    Gloucester

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

    Coach: Tony Zerilli (8th season). Career: 41-35..

    Last year’s record: 6-4.

    Strengths: Offensive talent.

    Concerns: Inexperienced defensive line.

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Gloucester has run the Wing-T offense since 1991 and this year it has the right core of players to continue. Seniors Jan Pea-Ortiz, Marc Smith, and Ryan Argentino all return as a formidable rushing trio for the Fishermen, and theyre protected by senior offensive linemen Joe Ciarametaro, Noah Benson, and Geoff Latanzi up front. Senior James Nelson takes over as starting quarterback. Nelson showed poise late last season taking over for then-injured starter Matt Smith. ‘‘He really stepped up and took control of the offense and thats what youre looking for in a quarterback,’’ coach Tony Zerilli said. Zerilli said that while the offensive line is experienced, the defensive line is not, and that its one of the few areas the team needs to shore up before opening night.

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

    Greater Lawrence

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 North

    Coach: Tony Sarkis (13th season). Career: 93-61..

    Last year’s record: 8-4.

    Strengths: Experienced team.

    Concerns: Complacency, depth.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Reggies return a senior team that reached the D7 North semifinal last season. Jose Caseras, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound QB, racking up 1,300 total yards last season, 700 through the air. Senior back Ader Mezidor (5-9, 190) and receiver Donnie Croteau (5-9 180) will help spread the field. Senior Humberfy Contreras (5-10, 220) will be an anchor on the lines. Coach Tony Sarkis said this is a hard-working group that will look to make an impact. I think our potential is unlimited, he said. Every day, we have to strive to get better.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 12 p.m., at Swampscott

    Greater Lowell

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

    Coach: Shane Abrams (7th season). Career: 20-46..

    Last year’s record: 5-6.

    Strengths: Quarterback, running back, strong senior class.

    Concerns: Staying healthy, depth.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Coming off a 5-6 season that culminated in a first round playoff exit, Greater Lowell should have the experience this year to build on those results. The Gryphons return key starters on offense in senior quarterback Jake Noel (776 rushing yards, 584 passing yards, 10 total TDs) and senior RB/LB Juan Serrano (648 rushing yards, 310 receiving yards, 11 total TDs, 43 tackles, three interceptions, two sacks). In addition, its entire offensive line is returning, all of whom also play on the defensive side of the ball on the line or linebacker.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m., at Shawsheen

    Greater New Bedford

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

    Coach: Justin Cruz (1st season)..

    Last year’s record: 2-9.

    Strengths: Work ethic, defense.

    Concerns: Culture.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: First-year coach Justin Cruz is ready to change Greater New Bedford’s football culture. ‘‘They’ve worked hard all season,’’ Cruz said. ‘‘I’m excited to see it all come together.’’ The Bears are returning seven starters, most of whom play on both sides of the ball. Returning seniors TE/DE Noah Saunders and Myles Silva, who can line up anywhere on the field including DB/WR/QB, lead the Bears’ returning class. Junior Dartmouth transfer Ethan Almeida will handle the majority of the quarterbacking duties and will be a playmaker.

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

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    Hamilton-Wenham

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

    Coach: Jim Pugh (3rd season). Career: 194-115 overall; 16-6 at Hamilton-Wenham..

    Last year’s record: 9-2.

    Strengths: Chemistry, senior leadership, offensive line.

    Concerns: Linebacker, secondary.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Although Hamilton-Wenham is returning 10 starters (five offense and five defense) from a 2017 team that went 9-2 and lost in the North finals, coach Jim Pugh expects the team’s mindset to stay the same. ‘‘We’ll be different for sure,’’ Pugh said. ‘‘But our mindset is the same as it is every year.’’ Among the Generals’ returning starters are senior captain quarterback Billy Whelan, who threw for 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns last year and junior running back Ian Coffey who ran for 750 yards and 12 touchdowns on nearly eight yards per carry. Also returning for the Generals are captains and offensive linemen Henry Smith and Thomas Monahan, both of whom Pugh cited as being key factors in the team’s excellent chemistry. ‘‘We’re going to have to find some linebackers and defensive backs,’’ Pugh said. ‘‘But if we can put the pieces together, we’ll be back in the [playoff] mix.’’

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

    Hanover

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

    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

    Haverhill

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

    Coach: Tim O’Connor (9th season). Career: Career: 45-43..

    Last year’s record: 3-8

    Strengths: Experience at offensive line and at quarterback.

    Concerns: Defensive depth.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: In the words of nine-year coach Tim O’Connor, the Hillies ‘‘Took [their] lumps last season. But the outlook is positive this year,’’ he said. ‘‘Schematically and physically, we can cause a lot of problems and we have experience. I wouldn’t want to play us.’’ Haverhill returns 17 starters, including its entire offensive line to protect junior QB Brady Skafas, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound dual threat under center. Speedy tailbacks David Carrero and Aiden Alvarado will lead the double wing attack. The Hillies are also implementing a 3-4 defensive scheme with juniors Jay Levy and Brandon Grundy setting the edge. Returners Joe Santoro and Carlton Campbell will have to play key leadership roles at inside linebacker.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at St. John’s Prep

    Hingham

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 South

    Coach: Jim Connor (1st season). Career: 34-20 at Norwell.

    Last year’s record: 8-3

    Strengths: Balance across the board

    Concerns: Adjusting to a new system

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: At 24, Jim Connor was once the youngest head coach the state. Now he is a seasoned vet after seven seasons at North Quincy and the past five at Norwell. The former Boston College lineman slides over to Hingham, where he’s tasked with taking the Harbormen to the next level after a run to the South semifinals last fall. Hingham boasts senior tight end/defensive end Spencer Cassell, who has committed to play football at Harvard, as well as senior quarterback Jack Johnson, whom Connor believes is another legitimate college prospect. Connor said that while no player on his squad will prompt an opponent to game plan specifically for the individual, he is hardpressed to find a weakness on the roster. ‘‘I don’t feel like we have to hide anybody,’’ Connor said.

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

    Holbrook

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 South

    Coach: Randy Grimmett (1st season). Career: First year.

    Last year’s record: 1-10

    Strengths: Returning rlayers, Skill position depth

    Concerns: Offensive depth

    Offense: Wishbone

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Randy Grimmett is the Bulldogs’ third head coach in as many seasons. Although he inherits a strong upper class, he does inherit a few issues. The Bulldogs are 1-19 in the past two seasons and they do not have the numbers to run a JV squad this season. Grimmett is trying to build up the numbers of the co-op. The good news? After playing all their games on the road for the past three years, the Bulldog’s will be motivated to play their first actual home games. Upperclassmen include junior back Aidan Centeno, who night carry a Swiss Army knife role. Grimmett teased the idea of him also playing quarterback. Another player to watch? Alvin Ybon, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound left tackle who also plays basketball.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 14, 6 p.m., vs. Atlantis Charter

    Holliston

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

    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

    Hopkinton

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

    Coach: Jim Girard (9th season). Career: 68-43 (57-32 at Hopkinton)..

    Last year’s record: 11-1.

    Strengths: Senior class.

    Concerns: Size on offensive line.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: The Hillers fell one game short of a trip to Gillette Stadium last season, losing to Melrose, 22-8, in the state semifinals. Coach Jim Girard says there was one reason why they lost that game, and its Hopkinton’s main focus in 2018. ‘‘Our offensive line,’’ Girard said. ‘‘We were undersized and inexperienced and thats what hurt us in the game against Melrose.’’ So the line has been working all offseason, led by senior center Theo Cavallo, to get bigger, faster and stronger. Where the Hillers dont lack is in experience. Twenty seniors return, many of which played on last seasons Division 4 South title team. Senior Ryan Kelleher is back at quarterback and senior Luke D’Aloia is a solid two-way athlete at running back and at defensive back, leading a defense that recorded five shutouts last year. The Hillers have reloaded for another state title run.

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

    Hull

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 South

    Coach: Michael O’Donnell (2nd season). Career: Career: 5-6.

    Last year’s record: 5-6

    Strengths: Returning offensive line, quarterback

    Concerns: Backfield, linebacker

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: In Michael O’Donnell’s first season as coach, the Pirates snuck into the Division 8 South playoffs as the eighth seed. In 2018, with a strong offensive line and an experienced quarterback, Hull is aiming to take the next step. After taking varsity snaps as a freshman, and then as a sophomore, junior Trevor MacDonald is slated to play his second full season at quarterback. Senior captains Christian Amador and Nick Scanlon return to solidify the offensive line. But who will run behind that line minus graduate Christian Olivieri, a 2018 Globe Scholar-Athlete now at Bates.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 5 p.m., vs. Blue Hills

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    Ipswich

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

    Coach: Kevin Fessette (4th season). Career: 18-15..

    Last year’s record: 6-5.

    Strengths: Captains, talented underclassmen.

    Concerns: Inexperience.

    Offense: Split back veer

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: After graduating a large senior class, Ipswich will rely on a strong group of underclassmen. ‘‘They’re young, talented guys,’’ said coach Kevin Fessette. The Tigers’ underclassmen will be mentored by the team’s two captains, senior QB/S Yanna Kakis and junior RB/S Cam James. Kakis has been Ipswich’s starting QB ever since he won the job in 2016 and will be looked at to lead by example both on and off the field this year. The Tigers’ talented backfield should keep the team competitive in every game.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Essex Tech

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    King Philip

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

    Coach: Brian Lee (14th season). Career: 88-14..

    Last year’s record: 12-0.

    Strengths: Defense.

    Concerns: Inexperience.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Warriors come into the 2018 season as back-to-back state champions and riding the longest winning streak in the state at 25 games. During this historic run for Brian Lee and the King Philip program, defense has been what defined them. Returning zero starters on offense from last year’s D2 Super Bowl winning team, it is defense again that will have to lead the Warriors to another Hockomock title, and possibly another trip to Gillette. In order for this to happen, the defense will lean on senior LB Jack Webster. Webster had the strip sack that led to the game-winning field goal in the D2 title game against L-S last December, and accumulated 46 tackles, 6 sacks, and 2 interceptions during the year.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at North Attleborough

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    Latin Academy

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 North

    Coach: Rocco Zizza (11th season). Career: 65-43..

    Last year’s record: 6-5.

    Strengths: Experienced line.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Power I

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: The Dragons will rely on a battle-tested line to get the season rolling. Four-year starter Plinio Acosta (5-10, 220 pounds) will anchor the line from the left guard spot, and tackle on defense. Sophomore Zach Maffeo will take over under center. Hes the twin brother of OBryant QB, Luke Maffeo. Coach Rocco Zizza says Zach has a strong arm and great pocket presence. Though theres currently a lack of depth at the skill positions, Maffeo will have an elusive target in senior Ryan Nguyen (5-7, 130). Senior Cedric Johnson will be a go-to running back in the offense.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m., vs. Randolph

    Lawrence

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

    Coach: Rhandy Audate (1st season)..

    Last year’s record: 2-9

    Strengths: Experience at linebacker.

    Concerns: Adjusting to new coaching staff.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: As a two-time Super Bowl champion at Everett High and assistant coach for the national champion 2012 Everett Pop Warner team, Rhandy Audate is no stranger to success. As a player, a standout linebacker, Audate was part of a Crimson Tide program that was 47-2. He played collegiately at Merrimack College. Hired as offensive coordinator at Lawrence fall, he was named to replace 13-year coach Mike Yameen in April. ‘‘We’re rebuilding,’’ he said. ‘‘We’re focusing on changing the culture and preparing these kids to be student athletes. I see a lot of young energy and a lot of guys that are coming into their own.’’ When he took charge of the offense last season, sophomore Jacob Tamayo stepped in a QB. He returns as the starter this season. Track standout Gianni Vargas is the lead back, with Brandon Santell providing a change of pace as a power runner in addition to his role as the team’s leading linebacker. There are a lot of new faces on the offensive and defensive line for Lawrence, but playmaking wide receiver Manuel Lara is a force on the outside.

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

    Lexington

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

    Coach: George Peterson (8th season). Career: Career: 41-36..

    Last year’s record: 9-2

    Strengths: Depth at skill positions.

    Concerns: Size on offensive line.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Replacing the dynamic Sal Frelick, the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, along with back Ben Quint is a tall task. But the Minutemen are equipped to reload on offense and continue running their spread attack. After leading Division 1 in receiving yards last year, Anthony Bianchi is slotted to move to starting quarterback. Mason Hatfield, a sophomore receiver, will be the backup. Seniors Duncan Hewitt and Jack Marcin complete the receiving corps while there are six seniors competing for touches at running back during training camp. Lexington returns five starters on defense and the leader, senior Luke Butler moves from defensive end to linebacker. Having just two returning starters on the offensive line for major concern for eight-year coach George Peterson. But he remains optimistic that younger players will step in and solidify that unit.

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

    Lincoln-Sudbury

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

    Coach: Tom Lopez (41st season). Career: 294-124-5 (41st season)..

    Last year’s record: 11-1

    Strengths: Seniors, leadership, size upfront on both sides of ball.

    Concerns: Five new faces on defense.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Now firmly in his fourth decade at the helm of the Warriors’ football program, Tom Lopez will look to finish on top of Division 2 after getting so close last season, losing 10-7 to King Philip at Gillette. An 11-1 finish and a Super Bowl berth was a great accomplishment, but L-S has another ending planned this year. With a strong returning core of seniors led by RB/LB James Dillon and OL Mike Ciaffoni, Lopez feels his team can compete with anybody in Division 2. But first, the Warriors’ eyes are set on another Dual County title.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Springfield Central

    Lowell

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

    Coach: John Florence (8th season). Career: Career: 40-36..

    Last year’s record: 5-6

    Strengths: Depth on offensive line.

    Concerns: Inexperience at skill positions.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Junior receiver Brendan Tighe is the only returning starter at any of the skill positions for eighth-year coach John Florence from a 5-6 squad. He totaled nearly 1,000 yards with nine touchdown receptions last fall; In 2018, he and the Red Raiders will welcome back senior quarterback Aidan Foyle, sidelined his junior season with an injury. Foyle will be handing off to a dynamic duo of Justin Villanueva and Rashawn Settles, both of whom starred at linebacker last year but will be asked to play both ways this season. The only returning starter on the offensive line, Brian Callery, is shifting from guard to center. On defense, Lowell has a pair of 6-foot-4 linemen in Ty Chan and Lewis Cadime. The Red Raiders also have a difference-making kicker in Mike Menezes, who nailed game-winners against Cambridge Rindge & Latin and Haverhill last season.

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

    Lowell Catholic

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 North

    Coach: Jason Houston (4th season). Career: 33-44..

    Last year’s record: 5-6.

    Strengths: Defense, experience.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Crusaders return seven starters on both sides of the ball from a squad that reached the D7 North semifinals last season. The defense will be a focal point: senior linebacker Michael Canney is a fearsome tackler and junior backer Ian Sullivan is coming off a 10-sack season. On offense, junior Ian Nichols ran for 600 yards on 100 carries last season, and figures to be the feature back. Senior quarterback Peter Sawyer, another player who got experience after injuries last season, takes over under center. ‘‘We have one of the better defenses in the league,’’ said coach Jason Houston. ‘‘We may not be as explosive as the past on offense, but well be productive.’’

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. East Boston

    Lynn Classical

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 North

    Coach: Brian Vaughan (2nd season). Career: 52-33 overall (including Pope John, Boston English).

    Last year’s record: 8-3

    Strengths: Experience, size and speed

    Concerns: Depth

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Senior QB Keith Ridley (1,800 yards, 18 TD passes in 2017) is back to direct the attack for Classical after last year’s turnaround season. He welcomes back targets in senior Nashaun Butler, who hauled 88 catches for 1,000 yards last season, and Malcolm Best (997 yards receiving). The Rams also return nine of 11 starters on defense, including senior defensive back Chase Buono (98 tackles). Junior Kevin Paniagua (6-foot-2, 300 pounds) and senior John Fernandez (6-foot-2, 290 pounds) anchor the offensive and defensive lines for Classical. ‘‘For us to be successful, we must take it one day at a time and get better every day,’’ said second-year coach Brian Vaughan.

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

    Lynn English

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 North

    Coach: Chris Carroll (4th season). Career: 17-16.

    Last year’s record: 10-1

    Strengths: Skill positions and athleticism

    Concerns: Youth in front seven and offensive line

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: English pulled off one of the more impressive turnarounds in the state last fall, from a 2-9 finish in 2016 to an unbeaten run to the Division 3 North final, a 22-18 loss to Tewksbury. Coach Chris Carroll has a four-year starter in senior quarterback Matt Severance to take English to the next level. Senior receiver Prince Brown, senior back Ishmile Bangura and sophomore receivers Mathias Fowler and Tahj Purter are the top targets on the perimeter. Senior Alex Brenes is the key cog on both lines. Carroll wants his team to play fast, especially since it will no longer be sneaking up on opponents. ‘‘In order for Lynn English to have a successful season, leaders need to emerge, and the team needs to play tough, physical football at max effort,’’ Carroll said.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m., at Beverly

    Lynn Tech

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 North

    Coach: James Runner (9th season). Career: 42-45..

    Last year’s record: 12-1.

    Strengths: Offensive and defensive line depth, intelligent quarterback, speed at skill positions.

    Concerns: Overall endurance, inexperience in secondary.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: How fast is Lynn Tech? Seven players clocked 40 times no higher than 4.4 seconds according to coach James Runner. Senior quarterback David Barrios headlines a high-octane group of 14 returning starters (six on offense, eight on defense) with their sights set on another Vocational Small Super Bowl. Seniors Chance Buono and Guliani Daniels take over at running back following the graduation of 2017 All-Scholastic and Commonwealth Conference MVP Steffan Gravely (35 touchdowns and 2,254 yards). ‘‘We’re going to be doing something different every time we’re out there,’’ said Runner, who plans to split carries between all his running backs. On the other side of the ball, defensive tackle Ali Bdawi and middle linebacker Emerson Ramirez both return to wreak havoc on opposing backfields. The duo compensates for a susceptible Tigers secondary with question marks surrounding depth and experience.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Nashoba Valley Tech

    Lynnfield

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

    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

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    Madison Park

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 North

    Coach: Roosevelt Robinson (24th season). Career: 127-98-1..

    Last year’s record: 1-7.

    Strengths: Tight end

    Concerns: Inexperience, low numbers.

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Coming off back-to-back sub .500 seasons, the Cardinals are in a rebuilding mode. The 2018 Madison Park football team will feature a lot of young players playing in key roles. Longtime head coach Roosevelt Robinson has been looking for a leader and he believes he found that player in tight end/defensive end Brandon Henry. One of the few seniors, the captain figures to be the Cardinals’ best player, and crucial to the success of the team. ‘‘Hes going to be the guy we look to, to get this thing going,’’ said Robinson.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 14, 4 p.m., at O’Bryant

    Malden

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

    Coach: Steve Freker (1st season)..

    Last year’s record: 1-10

    Strengths: Senior leadership.

    Concerns: Depth at skill positions.

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: After lengthy stints as an assistant at Malden Catholic and Malden, Steve Freker is back on the sideline as head coach at his alma mater. The Golden Tornadoes will run the wing-T attack with experienced interior linemen Matt Figueiredo and Evan Heon leading the charge up front. Sophomore Justin Nortelus and senior Stevenson Lucien are expected to share time under center and Rashaud Moore returns as a wing option on offense and a strong safety on D. Two-way tackle Tyler Martineau joins Moore as a returning three-year starter and Freker hopes to develop more defensive starters from a strong sophomore class. ‘‘The loyalty and commitment of the returning upperclassmen have gotten us off to a great start,’’ said Freker. ‘‘We will really be leaning on them during a tough schedule.’’

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

    Malden Catholic

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 North

    Coach: Bryan Pinabell (1st season). Career: .

    Last year’s record: 4-7

    Strengths: Skill positions, defensive backfield

    Concerns: Controlling the line of scrimmage

    Offense: Triple option

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Almost no program in Eastern Massachusetts underwent a change as radical as Malden Catholic in the offseason. MC dropped three of its four Catholic Conference foes from the schedule (only Catholic Memorial remains). The Lancers are 2-38 in the past 10 seasons against conference foes; the lone wins have come against CM. MC also has a new coach, Bryan Pinabell, a five-year assistant for former coach Jeff Smith. The East Boston native has previous head coaching experience at high schools in Georgia and Connecticut. MC will run primarily a triple-option offense featuring senior QB Will Ragucci, a three-year starter, along with backs Sean Kelley (senior), Jordan Kelley (junior) and Zeke Bragg (sophomore). Leonard St. Gourdin, a senior defensive back, is the Lancers top playmaker on D. Staying competitive in all our games, staying healthy and establishing a foundation for our younger programs, would constitute a successful season, Pinabell said.

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

    Manchester Essex

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 North

    Coach: Jeff Hutton (4th season). Career: 17-16..

    Last year’s record: 6-5.

    Strengths: Senior leadership, heart.

    Concerns: Lack of players.

    Offense: Pistol

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Due to lack of players (20), the Hornets cancelled their first two games of the season and will be unable to qualify for the postseason. The Hornets return two starters, senior offensive linemen Ryan OConnell and Noah Rawson. Senior Bobby Beardsley (RB/S) will provide a boost in the backfield and secondary after missing last season. ‘‘I think the heart that we have is going to be a strength of ours,’’ said coach Jeff Hutton. These kids know every week that we just dont have enough ammo in the gun, but they want to be there. We were on the verge of actually not having a varsity program this year. The kids were like, ‘Coach well play with 15, lets just try it.’ ‘‘

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m., at Essex Tech

    Mansfield

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

    Coach: Mike Redding (31st season). Career: 244-83-3..

    Last year’s record: 8-3.

    Strengths: Depth, experience at skill positions on both sides of the ball, speed, and work ethic.

    Concerns: Inexperience and size of lineman.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Hornets return a talented core at the skill positions. Junior Vinnie Holmes lines up at running back and linebacker after breaking the school record for tackles in a season last year. Classmate Nick Marciano, whos father played at BC, will line up next to him on offense and defense. Three-year starter and senior Khristian Conner brings excellent speed to the table. Expect a lot of long kicks from junior Mike DeBolt as well. Early season matchups up against BC High and Everett poses a tough task for Redding and his squad, but after those the team will set its sights to win the Hockomock title, beginning with Franklin on Sept. 21.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at BC High

    Marblehead

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

    Coach: Jim Rudloff (10th season). Career: 81-22..

    Last year’s record: 11-1.

    Strengths: Speed.

    Concerns: Defense.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Magicians lost nine offensive starters and eight on defense from last season’s team that lost to Melrose in the Division 4 North final. Even though Marblehead has 18 seniors, coach Jim Rudloff calls them a ‘‘green’’ group in terms of their inexperience. They’ll improve, but it will be a process. ‘‘You dont want them thinking, you just want them reacting and right now were still in the thinking stage. Our kids can be fast when we get to reacting but were not just there yet,’’ Rudloff said. Senior Chris Gally is at quarterback, returning after he suffered a hamstring injury in Marblehead’s final preseason game last season. Junior Tim Cronin running back/wide receiver is expected to be a key contributor on offense, as is senior wide receiver Jack McGrath. Senior nose guard/defensive tackle Aidan Michaud leads the offensive and defensive lines.

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

    Marian

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 North

    Coach: Harry Lesage (3rd season). Career: Career: 12-20.

    Last year’s record: 3-8

    Strengths: Speed at running back and quarterback, consistent pass rush

    Concerns: Shallow depth in the secondary, inexperience at linebacker

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Moving away from last year’s triple option, Marian plans to run their offense on the legs of returning senior quarterback Emmanuel Capellan. ‘‘[Capellan] does everything for our offense,’’ said head coach Harry LeSage. ‘‘If we call the right play, he’ll be real hard to stop.’’ With seven starters returning to the Mustangs, LeSage expects speedster Miguel Perez to add a unique wrinkle beside Capellan at running back. While the Mustang defense places a lot of responsibility on its linebackers, its heart and soul lies in its pass rush at defensive end. Expect to see sophomore Jake Roy and Damian Guzman making life miserable for quarterbacks this fall.

    Season opener: Friday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m., at Lowell Catholic

    Marshfield

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

    Coach: Chris Arouca (1st season). Career: 19-14 at Hingham..

    Last year’s record: 6-4.

    Strengths: Defense.

    Concerns: Inexperience.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: After 37 years, the Marshfield program will have a new face on the sidelines. Chris Arouca returns to his alma mater after three seasons with Hingham and will succeed the legendary coach. ‘‘I try not to think about it,’’ said Arouca. ‘‘[Silva] was such an accomplished coach and I would be a failure if I tried to do that.’’ Arouca will have his hands full though, with a young and inexperienced group of juniors and seniors. No starters are returning on offense for the Rams while only three are coming back on defense. One of these key players on defense is senior linebacker Braden Killens.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Whitman-Hanson

    Martha’s Vineyard

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

    Coach: Donald Herman (1st season). Career: 220-90..

    Last year’s record: 2-8.

    Strengths: Experience, QB.

    Concerns: Depth, physical size.

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: After taking the last two years off, 28-year Martha’s Vineyard coach Don Herman is back with the Vineyarders. The legendary five-time Super Bowl winning-coach is excited about his team’s talent and experience. ‘‘We won’t be outmatched at the start of any game,’’ Herman said. ‘‘We should have a good chance to win any game we play in.’’ Amongst 15 returning lettermen, the Vineyarders return senior three-year starting QB Ivan Shepard, OL/DL Andres Garcia, RB/DB Tristan Scheller and OL/LB Michael Courtney, all of whom are expected to play key roles on offense and defense.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m., vs. Atlantis Charter

    Masconomet

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

    Coach: Gavin Monagle (4th season). Career: Career: 76-70 (17-16 at Masco)..

    Last year’s record: 7-4

    Strengths: Senior class.

    Concerns: Lack of experience on offense.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: A strong senior class beginning with FB/LB Jay Theriault and DE Nick Mangino has the Chieftains looking to go further into the Division 2 North tournament than in 2017. After a first-round victory over Woburn, Masco ran into a Lincoln-Sudbury team that would go on to the Super Bowl. In order to improve, Monagle is asking his kids to give their very best effort every day. If this goal is met the Chieftains could be in the mix in the Cape Ann League and be in prime position to make a run in the playoffs. Junior SE/DE Pat Corcoran will be a big part of this process as well.

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

    Mashpee

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 South

    Coach: Matt Triveri (14th season). Career: 117-33.

    Last year’s record: 12-0

    Strengths: Key returnees, athleticism.

    Concerns: New line, depth.

    Offense: Pro set

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: The three-time defending D7 Super Bowl champions will be on the younger side this season. After the graduation of its all-senior offensive front, the new line is starting to come together. The return of skilled seniors Cam Kergo (corner/receiver), and All-Scholastics Devaun Ford (tailbacksafety) and Xavier Gonsalves (two-way end) will be key on both sides of the ball. After a strong preseason, junior Ian Miller (6-2, 180) has earned the starting positoin at quarterback. ‘‘We have guys who are threats every time they touch the ball,’’ said head coach Matt Triveri. ‘‘We just cant shoot ourselves in the foot at times.’’

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 5 p.m., at Nantucket

    Matignon

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 North

    Coach: Michael Hill (2nd season). Career: 4-7..

    Last year’s record: 4-7.

    Strengths: Offensive line.

    Concerns: Depth and injuries.

    Offense: Power I

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: In coach Michael Hill’s first season, the Warriors finished just 4-7. However, the season did end on a high note as the team went on a 4-1 run to close out the season. Although most of their losses last year were not really competitive, a good core of returning players should help turn that around this season. It all starts with talented junior quarterback Sam Wright, who will be playing behind an offensive line consisting of all returners. That combination should bode well for the Warriors’ offensive attack and their chances in the Catholic Central Small.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m., vs. Hull

    Medfield

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

    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

    Medford

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

    Coach: Jason Nascimento (7th season). Career: 10-45..

    Last year’s record: 1-10

    Strengths: Experience.

    Concerns: Tackling.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Returning a strong core of players from last year’s squad, the Mustangs are looking to bounce back. In order to achieve this, Jason Nascimento and his team will rely heavily on their experience and the play of five senior captains. WR/RB Matt Aredes provided a spark offensively for Medford last season and quarterback Keith Barrasso will do what he can to find him anywhere on the field. Up front on both sides of the ball, 6-5, 300-pound Tevin Cadet will anchor the line along with Gerry Pellegrini and Anderson Larosiliere. ‘‘We are excited and fortunate to work with a great group of kids that have bought in and want to go to work every week,’’ said Nascimento.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m., vs. Lynn Classical

    Medway

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

    Coach: Chris Baker (3rd season). Career: 8-14..

    Last year’s record: 4-7.

    Strengths: Seniors

    Concerns: Overall inexperience

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: After back-to-back 4-7 seasons, Medway is seeking a turnaround, and that starts with a change in culture. Now in his third season, coach Chris Baker felt his squad improved from year one to year two, and that started with leadership. His senior captains for 2018 are Brendan Kenney, Rome Banaitis, Trent Flood, and Drew Plunkett.

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

    Melrose

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

    Coach: Tim Morris (25th season). Career: 176-97-4..

    Last year’s record: 13-0.

    Strengths: Skill players.

    Concerns: Inconsistency, youth.

    Offense: Read option

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Even though the defending state champion Red Raiders have won 16 consecutive games dating back to Nov. 4, 2016, coach Tim Morris thwarted any talk of a repeat in training camp. ‘‘We don’t really talk about that or encourage that,’’ Morris said. ‘‘We just try to get better today.’’ One area in which Melrose will have to adjust is the offense. Running back Isaac Seide, who rushed for 22 touchdowns and 1,497 yards and led Melrose to the state title win over Nashoba, has transferred to Everett. The offense’s lone returning starter is senior tackle Dylan Robertson. ‘‘We had two real good tailbacks last year and a good offensive line, so we may have to be a little more versatile offensively and be able to throw it a little more.’’

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

    Methuen

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

    Coach: Tom Ryan (6th season). Career: Career: 28-27..

    Last year’s record: 7-4

    Strengths: Speed at skill positions.

    Concerns: Depth on offensive and defensive line.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Red Raiders were loaded in 2017, so it’s only natural to expect a step back minus 30 graduating seniors. Junior Connor Bryant steps in at QB after playing behind Jordan Perdomo. He is an athlete capable of thriving in the Rangers’ multiple offense. Fellow junior Ricky Brutus should see most of the touches out of the backfield, while Wes Correa becomes the top receiving option for Bryant. Head coach Tom Ryan said, ‘‘We have a lot of guys at the skill position that are going to be good, they just need experience. Last year we had such a strong senior class that those kids didn’t get a lot of touches, but they’re good athletes.’’ At defensive tackle, 6-foot-4, 280-pound senior Ian McKinnon is a force, and coupled with a speedy linebacking corps, Methuen aims to stop the run.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Malden Catholic

    Middleborough

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

    Coach: Pat Kingman (8th season). Career: 48-30..

    Last year’s record: 10-3.

    Strengths: Running backs, linebackers.

    Concerns: Inexperience.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Coming off a Division 6 Super Bowl win in 2017, Middleborough is in for a rebuilding year in 2018. The Sachems return just four starters, three on defense and one on offense. Coach Pat Kingman knows his young team will have to focus on the process of the season and not the results. ‘‘We can’t be outcome oriented,’’ Kingman said. ‘‘We have to be task oriented.’’ Versatile senior threat Brandon Hogan, a LB/WR/RB, and RB/S Isaiah Cobbs will be heavy lifters in the Sachems’ strong backfield.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6:30 p.m., at Apponequet

    Milford

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 South

    Coach: Anthony Vizakis (2nd season). Career: 5-6.

    Last year’s record: 5-6

    Strengths: Quarterback, defensive backfield, size on both lines and toughness at running back

    Concerns: Youth on both lines

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Scarlet Hawks received a sizable boost on the line from Kevin Pyne, a 6-foot-8, 275-pound tackle who attended Millis High as a freshman and sophomore. Pyne has offers from major Division 1 programs. Dana Olson, his former coach at Millis, is now the defensive coordinator at Milford. The Hawks return a number of key players, including senior quarterback Ryan Pearl, senior back Hugo Lopes and senior wide receivers Brendan White, Shapel Feaster and Sean Lehane. ‘‘We are looking to start fast and play physical,’’ coach Anthony Vizakis said. ‘‘We want to be the toughest team on the field on Friday nights, and if we remain healthy, we will be competitive in every game.’’

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

    Millis

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 South

    Coach: Brian Kraby (1st season). Career: First year.

    Last year’s record: 12-1

    Strengths: Size

    Concerns: Inexperience, low numbers

    Offense: Power I

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Amazingly, the two-time Division 8 Super Bowl champions came dangerously close to not fielding a team in 2018. Under the direction of first-year coach Brian Kraby, Millis returned just 10 players from last year’s squad, and minus 18 senior grads, headlined by QB Bryce Latosek, the Globe’s D8 Player of the Year in 2017. Kraby has put the focus on the basics and getting better every week. The Mohawks will focus on their size up front and power football. One of the big guys clearing the way for the running game is 6-foot-5, 350-pound guard Murrell Quashie. He’ll be a big asset.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at St. Mary’s

    Milton

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

    Coach: Steve Dembowski (4th season). Career: 141-74 (27-7 at Milton)..

    Last year’s record: 8-2.

    Strengths: Senior class, skill players.

    Concerns: Physicality.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Last year’s Division 4 South runners-up, the Wildcats have 23 seniors returning and are poised to make a deep playoff run again. Senior quarterback Luke McMenamin returns after throwing for more than 2,000 yards last season. All of Milton’s top skill players are seniors, including wide receivers Ja’mier Woods and Isaiah Woodley, running back/defensive back Smith Charles, and linebacker/offensive lineman Alex Caputo. Despite all the talent, coach Steve Dembowski cited the offensive line and overall toughness as areas in need of improvement. ‘‘We have the makings of a strong, athletic team, but I think we just need to be more physical,’’ he said.

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

    Minuteman

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 North

    Coach: Brian Tildsley (11th season). Career: 41-60..

    Last year’s record: 4-6.

    Strengths: Experience, versatility

    Concerns: Depth

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Minuteman pulled off an impressive turnaround last fall, finishing 4-6 after a winless campaign in 2016. The headliner is Ngor Manyang, a senior quarterback/running back who was the team’s leading scorer last season. Coach Brian Tildsley feels the captain is one of the best players in Division 8. Manyang is invaluable because of his versatility. He lines up as the tailback in the Wing T, but when Minuteman shifts to the wildcat, the southpaw slinger lines up at QB. Fullback Darrion Cassius is another player to watch for a squad seeking its first playoff spot since 2014.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 28, 5 p.m., at Charlestown

    Monomoy

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 South

    Coach: Larry Souza (1st season). Career: .

    Last year’s record: 7-4

    Strengths: Skill positions, senior leadership.

    Concerns: Depth, new players.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: After a 7-4 season that included a ticket to the D7 South playoffs, the Sharks will look to reload with talent at the skill positions. First-year coach Larry Souza takes the helm after three years as an assistant. Senior Isaac Hart at QB and will have some solid targets in senior Chris Hall, along with junior Elijah Beasley in the slot. Sophomore Tyler Potter will be the featured back in the spread attack. Senior captain Kyle Charlot lead Monomoy in tackles last season playing middle linebacker. ‘‘I think this team will be pretty good,’’ said Souza. ‘‘Execution is going to be key.’’

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6:30 p.m., vs. Cape Cod Tech

    Mystic Valley

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 North

    Coach: Danny Kelly (1st season).

    Last year’s record: 4-7.

    Strengths: Quarterback, running back, offensive line.

    Concerns: Secondary.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: First-year coach Danny Kelly expects his teams experience and veteran leadership to steer MV in the right direction. The Eagles return six starters on both sides of the ball and at key positions. Senior quarterback Jonah Crane along with Anastasia Bessler (OG/DT) and Raymond Pho (RB/DB) headline the veteran returnees; Kelly believes junior back Haley Tom is in for a breakout season. ‘‘We got a great senior class with a lot of starters coming back from last year and a couple guys who got a great taste of varsity experience senior quarterback, a couple senior running backs, an experienced offensive line, so thats what were going to kind of rely on,’’ Kelly said.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m., vs. Chelsea

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    Nantucket

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 South

    Coach: Joe Perry (1st season). Career: .

    Last year’s record: 9-2

    Strengths: Experienced players, defense.

    Concerns: New line, new offense.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Despite losing 13 senior starters to graduation, the Whalers will look to reload with a collection of seniors with varsity experience. Four-year assistant and alum Joe Perry (1992) takes over for Brian Ryder, who stepped down after four seasons. Perry is confident in a group that includes junior running backs Torane Burton (10 TDs) and Devonte Usher (16 TDs). A dual threat, junior Darian Duarte takes over under center. Seniors Chance Pollock (6-2, 190), Cam Willett (6-2, 190) and junior Joel MacVicar will be the anchors on the line.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 5 p.m., vs. Mashpee

    Nashoba Valley Tech

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 North

    Coach: James Creed (3rd season). Career: Career: 10-11..

    Last year’s record: 8-5

    Strengths: Offensive and defensive line.

    Concerns: Inexperience at skill positions.

    Offense: Read option

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: After winning the Division 8 Central title and falling to Lynn Tech in the Vocational Super Bowl last December, Nashoba Valley Tech moves up to D7 North and officially joins the Commonwealth Athletic Conference Small Division. ‘‘It’s a little over our heads,’’ said third-year coach James Creed, ‘‘But sometimes football teaches you to rise to the occasion. We’re a team that should show a lot of growth as the season progresses.’’ With 16 seniors graduating, including two 1,000-yard rushers, Creed has his concerns. But senior Eli Norton, who totaled 664 receiving yards last season and ran for over 200 yards on Thanksgiving, is slotted to take over at quarterback. Nashoba Tech returns four of five starters on the offensive line, including senior captain Liam Shockley and returns both starting cornerbacks in Jose Silva and Aiden Luth.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Lynn Tech

    Natick

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

    Coach: Mark Mortarelli (9th season). Career: 66-23..

    Last year’s record: 9-1

    Strengths: Size on both lines.

    Concerns: Inexperience.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The RedHawks lost an incredible senior class after a 9-1 season, and as Mark Mortarelli said in the preseason, will be playing young kids at key spots. One of these important underclassman will be 6-foot-2, 305 pound two-way lineman Josh Atwood. Mortarelli believes Atwood should be one of the best around, and Natick will lean on him. RB/DB Gio DeJesus, WR Max Ferrucci, DB Colin Ghilani, and LB Hunter Ferrera will also play a crucial part in any 2018 success. ‘‘[Our goal is] to compete every game and have a team that is disciplined and can play through adversity.’’

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

    Nauset

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

    Coach: Bruce Strunk (2nd season). Career: 142-54 (3-8 at Nauset)..

    Last year’s record: 3-8.

    Strengths: Team cohesion.

    Concerns: Late-game energy.

    Offense: Single wing

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Depth was an issue for the Warriors last season in coach Bruce Strunk’s inaugural season, but they seem to be rectifying that problem in Year Two. Nauset had 21 players on the first day of practice in 2017. Now that number is at 40. Junior quarterback Bobby Joy will be under center for the second consecutive year. Senior Mac LaBarge will play both ways as running back and linebacker and senior Bobby Freidman will anchor the offensive and defensive lines. While another year of experience may bode well for the Warriors, they’ll be working on staying competitive late in games. ‘‘Last year, we lost five games in the fourth quarter,’’ Strunk said.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6:30 p.m., vs. Sharon

    Needham

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

    Coach: Doug Kopcso (1st season)..

    Last year’s record: 5-6

    Strengths: Talent at skill positions.

    Concerns: Inexperience on defense.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: While Needham brings plenty of talent and experience on offense, new head coach Doug Kopsco is concerned about a defensive unit that has just two returning starters. But end Jonah Kurker, a senior captain, is one physically strongest players to come through the program, according to Kopsco. Senior receiver Matt Smith is also a specimen at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds. The Duke commit is a force on the outside and should be a reliable target for returning quarterback Charlie Ogletree. Jack Murmes is a tight end with a good all-around game and junior Odahri Hibberts, the ‘‘home run hitter’’ according to Kopsco, should line up all over the formation with the Rockets. After spending eight years as defensive coordinator and 15 years as an assistant under longtime coach David Duffy, Kopsco said, ‘‘We plan on continuing with the philosophy that’s been laid down over the last 35 years of Needham football. We’re not looking for a revolution, we’re trying to stay true to those values.’’

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

    New Bedford

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

    Coach: Mark DeBrito (5th season). Career: 16-28..

    Last year’s record: 3-8.

    Strengths: Experience and depth.

    Concerns: Staying healthy.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: The Whalers’ 2017 record doesn’t tell the whole story. Five of New Bedford’s eight losses were by less than five points, and with a senior led squad this year Mark DeBrito hopes that the learning curve can translate into success. ‘‘They have been through it all,’’ said DeBrito. Sixteen of the seniors started two years ago for the Whalers. QB Tru Williams, WR Baron Hillian, DL Anthony Soares, and CB Jeremy DaCruz all return and should have a strong seasons. Senior RB Latrel Canto joins the team after coming over from Durfee to hopefully give New Bedford a bit more firepower offensively.

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

    Newburyport

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

    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: Artificial turk

    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.

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

    Newton North

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

    Coach: Mike Coppola (4th season). Career: Career: 20-13.

    Last year’s record: 7-4

    Strengths: Depth at running back and on offensive line.

    Concerns: Inexperience at wide receiver and in defensive secondary.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Tigers are flush with athleticism, but fourth-year coach Mike Coppola is concerned about the inexperience of his new starters. Coppola has been pleased with the progress of junior Andrew Landry, a 6-foot-5, 195-pound quarterback with a live arm. Landry’s primary targets will be a trio of juniors, Alessio Calcagni, Dante Atwood and Wes Silver. Evan Thompson, the younger brother of graduated quarterback Will Thompson, is expected to start at tight end. North welcomes back four of its five starters on the offensive line, led by center Joe Torcasio, a three-year starter. Nick Busa, Adam Zhou and senior Christian Hahm are expected to lead the running game; all three are capable of chipping in as receivers. Hahm and Busa spearhead the defense from the linebacker position, and junior Jack Fitzgerald anchors the D line. Senior Kyle Ray-Canada is the sole returning starter in the secondary.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m., vs. Waltham

    Newton South

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

    Coach: Ted Dalicandro (13th season). Career: 46-91 (13th season)..

    Last year’s record: 6-5

    Strengths: Senior leadership, running back/wide receiver.

    Concerns: Quarterback and depth.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: A bounce back year for the Lions after going 2-9 in 2016 has Ted Dalicandro and his squad looking to build off that success. ‘‘Our goal is get better every day and to compete at a high level every game,’’ said Dalicandro. In order to accomplish this, the Lions will lean heavily on the play of seniors RB/LB Aidan Lopci, OL/DL Brandon Bailey, OL/DL Xavier Deloney-Phillips, OL/DE Ethan Weiss, and juniors WR/S Jylun Spence and RB/CB Raekwan Washington.

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

    North Andover

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

    Coach: John Dubzinski (4th season). Career: Career: 42-35 (19-14 at NA)..

    Last year’s record: 9-2

    Strengths: Skill positions and experience.

    Concerns: Defensive line.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: With skill at key positions, the Scarlet Knights might have the best chance of upsetting defending D2 North champ Lincoln-Sudbury. Senior QB Jake McElroy was the 2017 MVC Offensive Player of the Year, throwing for 1,843 yards and 10 TDs while rushing for 581 yards and 11 scores. Classmate RB Darren Watson is coming off a 1,300-yard season that included 13 touchdowns. Gabe DeSouza, K/WR, could be in for another All-Scholastic season and provides firepower for the Scarlet Knights offensively. John Dubzinkski credits DeSouza’s success in other sports such as basketball and baseball as something that can help push the program to another level, and maybe challenge L-S.

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

    North Attleborough

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 South

    Coach: Don Johnson (10th season). Career: 68-21.

    Last year’s record: 11-2

    Strengths: Experience in secondary, depth at skill positions

    Concerns: New quarterback, depth on lines

    Offense: Shotgun

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The bad news for North Attleborough? Who steps in for QB Chad Peterson, the Globe’s Division 3 Player of the Year last fall in directing NA to an 11-2 season and the Division 3 Super Bowl. The good news? Coach Don Johnson said that he has options. ‘‘We’ve got three guys there that offer us some different things, I’d be comfortable with either one of them,’’ Johnson said, listing seniors Nicholas Raneri and Luke LaBonte and sophomore Matt Penta. Raneri received a lot of touches in the backfield last season and starred on the D3 state championship baseball team last spring. Senior Ryan Clemente (6-foot-3, 285 pounds), who has verbally committed to play football at Sacred Heart, returns to anchor both lines, at right guard and nose tackle. Beyond Clemente, however, the only other returning lineman on either side of the ball is senior Jack Puccio. ‘‘We’re gonna need them to mature pretty quickly if we’re going to play at a championship level,’’ Johnson said of his linemen.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. King Philip

    North Quincy

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

    Coach: Ryan Craig (1st season).

    Last year’s record: 4-7.

    Strengths: Quarterback, tight end.

    Concerns: Youth.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Ryan Craig, a 1989 North Quincy grad and former linebacker/running back for the Raiders, makes his debut as head coach with a new staff behind him. Craig was a varsity assistant for the program from 1995-2002. ‘‘We’ve changed the whole atmosphere of the program since we came in,’’ Craig said. ‘‘It’s very upbeat, very positive and (the kids) are buying in.’’ Three-year starter and senior Tim Layden returns at quarterback. Craig expects senior tight end Nelson Wolimjon to be one of Layden’s top targets. Senior running back Wyn Tran, a fast, versatile athlete will be another offensive weapon. Youth and inexperience could be an issue for the Raiders.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 2 p.m., at Silver Lake

    North Reading

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

    Coach: Eddie Blum (1st season).

    Last year’s record: 7-4.

    Strengths: Speed.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Eddie Blum takes over as head coach after being the Hornets’ offensive coordinator for the last two seasons. North Reading’s offense averaged 22.2 points per game under Blum in 2017 and the program fell just short of reaching the North sectional final, losing to Melrose, 27-26. The Hornets have plenty of speed and talent among their skill players, a group led by senior Alex D’Ambrosio. He splits time on offense between running back and wide receiver. ‘‘(We’re) trying to put him in space to be able to make plays,’’ Blum said. ‘‘We also have one or two underclassmen backs that can take reps when hes at wide receiver. We just kind of have a nice group that allows us to put him where we need him to be. Senior Matt Solecki returns from injury to start at quarterback. Senior Mike Sheridan and junior Sean McCullough will lead the defense.

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

    Northeast

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

    Coach: Don Heres (13th season). Career: 79-58..

    Last year’s record: 4-7.

    Strengths: Experience, team chemistry.

    Concerns: Expectations.

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: After a disappointing 4-7 season in 2017, Northeast is poised for a bounce back year. Coach Don Heres knows expectations are high with a number of key returners on both sides of the ball. Seniors QB Zach Sanderson (2,165 rushing yards, 28 TDs), RBs Sean O’Brien (800 rushing yards) and Connor Joseph (600 rushing yards) lead an extremely potent Golden Knights rushing attack. Key to the success of Northeast’s ground game is returning senior offensive linemen Shane Meredith and Manny Patel, both of whom will be entering their fourth year as starters.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at North Reading

    Norton

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

    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

    Norwell

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

    Coach: Mark Killinger (1st season).

    Last year’s record: 9-2.

    Strengths: Strong senior class, veteran leadership.

    Concerns: Offensive line depth, new offense/defense systems.

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Coming off of a successful 9-2 season in which Norwell advanced to the second round of the state playoffs, the Clippers will be relying on their senior class to keep up the success. ‘‘We’re hoping to rely on a strong senior class that is built on strong leadership,’’ said first year coach Mark Killinger. ‘‘We’re striving to be one of the top teams in the [South Shore] league.’’ QB/DB Cal Smith, RB/LB John Stout and Ben Bostrom, OL/DL Declan Gore, Cole Casper and Jack Breare highlight the Clippers’ strong senior class on both offense and defense.

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

    Norwood

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

    Coach: Jim Tighe (5th season). Career: 11-33..

    Last year’s record: 0-11.

    Strengths: Experience, senior leadership.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Mustangs begin their first season in the Tri-Valley Large after moving from the Bay State Conference. Norwood is the second team in as many seasons to defect from the Bay State to the TVL, following Dedham’s lead. However, coach Jim Tighe isnt counting out any of his new leagues opponents, which features the likes of defending Division 4 South champion Hopkinton. ‘‘Some people think its going to be easier but I think it’s going to be just as challenging, if not more challenging,’’ Tighe said. It’s going to be a challenge because we dont know much about them, but theyre just as good as any Bay State team.’’ Senior Marc Murphy will be Norwoods starting quarterback. Senior Abdallah Khalil is a versatile player who will see time at fullback, halfback, and inside linebacker. Juniors Conor Sheehan (offensive line/outside linebacker) and Bryce Jenks (defensive back/running back) will be out for the season. Sheehan has a back injury and Jenks injured his knee outside of football season.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 2:30 p.m., vs. Walpole

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    O’Bryant

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 North

    Coach: Kevin Gadson (11th season). Career: 70-36..

    Last year’s record: 5-5.

    Strengths: Youth, eagerness to learn.

    Concerns: Replacing graduated seniors, lack of experience.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Being decimated by graduation has become a yearly occurrence for coach Kevin Gadson. The Tigers return just two starters in senior wide receiver/linebacker Anthony Francis and sophomore quarterback Luke Maffeo. Despite the lack of returnees, Gadson wants to best last seasons 5-5 record. Were young, but were very eager to learn, he said. Most of the JV guys are moving up so we just have a lot of enthusiasm and Im looking forward to a much better season than last year.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 5 p.m., vs. Boston Latin

    Old Colony

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 South

    Coach: Brandon Mendez (4th season). Career: Career: 21-13.

    Last year’s record: 8-3

    Strengths: Running game

    Concerns: Depth

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: A 6-1 regular season earned the Cougars the fourth seed in the Division 8 South playoffs, but they were ousted with a first-round loss to Sacred Heart. Despite graduating nine seniors, coach Brandon Mendez believes he has a young group of good players who can once again contend for a playoff spot. But first, they will attempt to replace the production of Jarred Gagne, the reigning Mayflower League MVP. Junior Matt Bumpus, the starting quarterback last season, will slide into the backfield. Junior Kyle Scholz, whom Bumpus competed with for the starting QB position last season, will now start under center.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m., vs. Cathedral

    Old Rochester

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

    Coach: Justin Kogler (4th season). Career: 43-23..

    Last year’s record: 9-2.

    Strengths: Experience at skill positions.

    Concerns: Staying healthy, league schedule.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: After a 9-2 season and a loss to eventual state champion Middleboro in the sectional semifinal, ORR is returning 14 starters, seven on both sides of the ball. Senior RB Will Garcia (1,400 rushing yards, 21 TDs) and senior QB Cole McIntyre (400 rushing yards, four TDs) are back to lead a strong Bulldogs ground game. On defense, the Bulldogs return their top three tacklers, including senior linebacker Desmond Dias (55 tackles, three tackles for loss, one interception) and junior linebacker Cam Brezinski (76 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, two interceptions).

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

    Oliver Ames

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 South

    Coach: Mike Holland (4th season). Career: 10-23.

    Last year’s record: 6-5

    Strengths: Skill positions on offense, linebacker

    Concerns: Replacing defensive backfield, depth along both lines

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: OA closed last season with four straight wins, yielding 4.2 points per game -- punctuated by a pair of shutouts -- to produce the first winning season in coach Mike Holland’s tenure. The Tigers must replace three of four starters in the secondary; only junior safety Sam Stevens returns. Junior Cam Perron returns at quarterback after making five starts as a sophomore. He’ll have plenty of support from junior back Nathan Cabral, junior receivers Shane Kilkelly and Jake Erlich and junior tight end Evan Craig. ‘‘Our kids need to believe in themselves, trust their coaches, trust one another, and do what is necessary to put themselves in the position to win each game come crunch time,’’ he said.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Concord-Carlisle

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    Peabody

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

    Coach: Marc Bettencourt (6th season). Career: 28-27..

    Last year’s record: 6-5.

    Strengths: Experience at skill positions.

    Concerns: Overall depth.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Tanners havent achieved a seven-win season since 2004, and came ever so close at finally hitting that mark last year. QB Matt Jandrisevits should give Peabody some versatility on offense and RB Angel Paulino will be one of the players to watch in Division 2 and the Northeastern Conference. A strong and veteran offensive line will also allow Jandrisevits and Paulino to make plays. But having their most difficult games away from home against some of the best opponents in the NEC, Danvers, Beverly, and Marblehead, the Tanners are going to need to rely on their experience to help them to that seven win mark.

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

    Pembroke

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

    Coach: Brian King (4th season). Career: 34-51 (7-26 at Pembroke)..

    Last year’s record: 4-7.

    Strengths: Offensive line.

    Concerns: Defense.

    Offense: Pistol

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The top storyline of Pembroke’s season is senior Tommy Brooks’ move from wide receiver to quarterback. His skill set fits well into the Titans’ offensive system and the transition to under center has been a smooth one. ‘‘He’s probably been our best all-around athlete in terms of talent so he’s made a great transition to that position,’’ coach Brian King said. ‘‘His intelligence is a big plus, he understands conceptually what’s going on ... he’s deceptive, he’s elusive.’’ Pembroke has an experienced offensive line protecting Brooks led by seniors Jack Runne, Glen Egan, and Zach Mattie. King will work to get a young defense more experienced and prepared as the season progresses.

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

    Pentucket

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

    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.

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

    Plymouth North

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 South

    Coach: Kevin Cobban (7th season). Career: 34-31.

    Last year’s record: 3-8

    Strengths: Running game

    Concerns: Team depth

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Snapping a two-year playoff drought starts in the offensive backfield for Plymouth North, where the Eagles boast the tandem of seniors Robbie Gomes and Johnell Fillipini. As a junior, Gomes had 21 total touchdowns. Senior quarterback Jeremy Whiting is also back under center for the Eagles. Defensively, North will rely on a trio of seniors in defensive end Matt Riordan and defensive backs Peter Haugh and Austin Nolan. The Eagles might not be far off from contention; of their eight losses in 2017, three were by 4 points or fewer. ‘‘We need to continue to develop a four-quarter team and a team that can finish games,’’ coach Kevin Cobban said.

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

    Plymouth South

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

    Coach: Scott Fry (15th season). Career: 72-83-1..

    Last year’s record: 4-7.

    Strengths: Secondary.

    Concerns: Passing game.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: With two-year starting quarterback Alex Cohen now playing at Anna Maria College, his replacement under center will be in learning mode all season for the Panthers. ‘‘Our passing game really hasnt developed yet, so thats probably going to be an ongoing process throughout the year,’’ coach Scott Fry said. Despite Plymouth Souths 4-7 record last season, the Panthers were competitive in just about every game they played. Four of their seven losses were by 10 points or less. Fry said that the secondary is ‘‘intact from last year,’’ so their passing defense should be one of their hallmarks. Brendan Shortall, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season, is expected to be the Panthers’ top offensive player. Seniors Matt Harrington (linebacker/fullback) and junior James Kernan (defensive end/tackle) are also expected to be key contributors.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m., vs. Chicopee Comprehensive

    Pope John

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 North

    Coach: Paul Sobolewski (1st season). Career: 73-69 (at Cathedral)..

    Last year’s record: 2-6.

    Strengths: Speed.

    Concerns: O-Line depth.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: In just their second season since the program shut down in 2013, 2017 Boston Globe Coach of the Year Paul Sobolewski is looking to build a contender from the ground up in his first year at Pope John after spending two years at Cathedral. ‘‘My goal is to keep building the numbers each year so we can compete for league championships,’’ said Sobolewski. With only four seniors, the Tigers are no doubt a young team but they aren’t necessarily without experience. The team will feature a few transfers from Cathedral, namely senior linebacker Ajan Nelson, the Catholic Central Defensive Player of the Year, and running back John Smith, a Catholic Central All-Star as a freshman. The Tigers also welcome senior wide receiver/corner back Rashard John from New Mission.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 7 p.m., vs. West Roxbury

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    Quincy

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

    Coach: Kevin Carey (1st season).

    Last year’s record: 2-9.

    Strengths: Experience at offensive line.

    Concerns: Explosiveness.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Kevin Carey enters his first season hoping the Presidents are mentally and physically prepared to be competitive this season. Quincy will rely heavily on its experience at the offensive line behind three-year starters Pat Nazzaro, Jaylen Varela, Mark McKenna, and Zach Carson. These four will hopefully open up holes for underclassmen Thomas Le and Isaiah Steinberg in the backfield, to give the Presidents the explosiveness they seek offensively.

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

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    Randolph

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 South

    Coach: Lonnie Simmons (1st season). Career: First year.

    Last year’s record: 4-7

    Strengths: Speed, athleticism, and aggressiveness

    Concerns: Scheme familiarity

    Offense: Pro set

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: In Lonnie Simmons, the Blue Devils are playing for their fourth head coach since 2013. A Syracuse native who starred collegiately at Ithaca, Simmons is the school’s indoor and outdoor track coach and former football assistant. Focusing on continuity, Randolph will transition from the spread to a Pro style, run-oriented attack. Three players will play pivotal roles in the scheme: quarterback Derrick Revolus, wide receiver Jamarii Robinson, and running back Fernando Rodriguez III.

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

    Reading

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

    Coach: John Fiore (15th season). Career: 114-47..

    Last year’s record: 3-8

    Strengths: Experience and attitude.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Rockets first losing season since 2007 was the result in part of injuries too numerous to mention that forced young players into big roles. John Fiore and his crew will look to use their experience to bounce back from that 3-8 season. But what concerns the Rockets is their depth and if more injuries come along it could be detrimental to the team’s success. ‘‘Honestly, totally just focused on week 1 against Wakefield,’’ said Fiore. ‘‘We are trying to detail our work [and] identify stuff we can improve on each and every day. We are in that position right now.’’ Seniors WR/S Pat Conroy and WR/CB Jake D’Agostino will look to create offense at the wideout position and seal down the secondary.

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

    Revere

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

    Coach: Lou Cicatelli (17th season). Career: 62-99..

    Last year’s record: 3-8.

    Strengths: Running backs.

    Concerns: Offensive line.

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Any team that runs the Wing-T needs a talented set of running backs to successfully execute the offensive game plan and coach Lou Cicatelli believes he has that group this year. Led by senior Darius McNeil, described by Cicatelli as a ‘‘power back,’’ he and juniors Lucas Barboza and Zack Furlong will try to propel the Patriots back to the postseason after missing it for the first time in seven years. Sophomore quarterback Calvin Boudreau is expected to have increasing responsibility in his second year as a starter. ‘‘We like his poise for a young kid,’’ Cicatelli said. ‘‘He’s got a real good understanding of the game.’’ Revere has seven starters returning on defense, led by senior linebacker Zack Carifio.

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

    Rockland

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 South

    Coach: Nick Liquori (2nd season). Career: 8-3..

    Last year’s record: 8-3.

    Strengths: Team speed, aggressiveness.

    Concerns: Inexperience.

    Offense: Double wing

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: With a successful 8-3 season in the rear-view mirror, Rockland is hoping to carry that success over to 2018. ‘‘We definitely want to build off of last year’s success,’’ said coach Nick Liquori. ‘‘We’re going to lean on the leadership of our returning starters.’’ Those returning starters are seniors QB/LB Dante Vasquez, OT/DE Codie Garcia, OG/DE Anthony DeCecco, and RB/DB Michael Eversole. Those four seniors are the Bulldogs’ only four returning starters and should prove vital to the team’s season.

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

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    Salem

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

    Coach: Matt Bouchard (5th season). Career: 12-32..

    Last year’s record: 7-4.

    Strengths: Work ethic.

    Concerns: Experience.

    Offense: Shotgun

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: A young Salem team is returning a handful of seniors but will be relying on players with limited varsity experience to step it up this year. ‘‘We have some talented players that need to gain experience as fast as possible,’’ said coach Matt Bouchard. The Witches are returning senior captains TE/DE Jayco Pena and OL/DL Matthew Noonan. WR/SS Nate Minaya, a senior transfer from Bishop Fenwick, should provide some important varsity experience. Two key underclassmen, juniors DB Jeffrey Holloway and OL/DE Melkin Bautista, will play a big role on defense for Salem.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Austin Prep

    Sandwich

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

    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

    Saugus

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

    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

    Scituate

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

    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

    Seekonk

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 South

    Coach: Vernon Crawford (7th season). Career: Career: 34-51 (29-35 at Seekonk)..

    Last year’s record: 6-5

    Strengths: Returning players.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: The Warriors reached the Div. 7 playoffs last season, but fell in the first round to Abington. Replacing graduates Terry Smith (25 TD passes) and Shane Smith (12 TD’s) will be a key task. Senior back Brett Mancini and receiver Brian Pires could make an impact.

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

    Sharon

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 South

    Coach: Dave Morse (8th season). Career: 31-48.

    Last year’s record: 2-9

    Strengths: Team speed

    Concerns: Team depth

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: The Eagles failed to earn a win in league play last fall, but coach Dave Morse said Sharon could make a run at the Hockomock’s Davenport Division in 2018. No easy task, especially with reigning Division 3 runner-up North Attleboro in the fold. The Eagles will lean on a trio of seniors in receiver/defensive back Chris Gong, offensive lineman/linebacker Coleman Loftus and running back/defensive back Aaron Strong to return to prominence. The Eagles won an Eastern Mass. title as recently as 2012, but haven’t been to the postseason since 2015.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6:30 p.m., at Nauset

    Shawsheen

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

    Coach: Albert Costabile (27th season). Career: 173-109 overall; 133-86 with Shawsheen..

    Last year’s record: 8-5.

    Strengths: Experience on defense.

    Concerns: Inexperience on offense.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Coming off of a trip to the second round of the playoffs before being edged out by Stoneham, Shawsheen is returning a strong, experienced defense. Senior OLB Stephan Saint-Juste (35 tackles), senior DL Omar Eldaly (59 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovered) and senior DE Frank Irizarry (32 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble) lead a defense that returns six starters. Taking over the quarterbacking duties will be senior CJ Zemetres, who started four games at QB last year and threw three touchdown passes.

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

    Silver Lake

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

    Coach: Chris Digiacomo (4th season). Career: 18-15..

    Last year’s record: 6-5.

    Strengths: Attitude, effort.

    Concerns: Youth, inexperience.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: The Lakers fell just short in the Division 4 South quarterfinals last year, losing 20-18 to Dighton-Rehoboth. This year’s Silver Lake team is a young one, with just nine seniors after losing 17 to graduation. Silver Lake has plenty of depth at the wide receiver position, featuring seniors Bobby Ohlson and Cam Danahy, and juniors Owen Thompson and John Lastennete. Senior Jake Waters moves over from wide receiver to running back. ‘‘We felt like we had a pretty good stable of young receivers so we thought his skill set was a fit there,’’ coach Chris Digiacomo said of Waters. Watch out for junior offensive/defensive lineman Aidan Crone, who checks in at 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 2 p.m., vs. North Quincy

    Somerset Berkley

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 South

    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

    Somerville

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

    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.

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

    South Boston

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 North

    Coach: Germaine Sattiewhite (2nd season). Career: 3-7..

    Last year’s record: 3-7.

    Strengths: Ability to mix up the offense.

    Concerns: Knowing how to win.

    Offense: Pro set

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Knights’ 3-7 record from a year ago is a tad misleading. After all they did finish 3-3 in the regular season securing the seventh seed in the Division 8 North playoffs. But they dropped their next three games after losing to Cathedral 52-0 in the first round. Also, four of their losses were only by six points or less, so they could have easily went the other way. Coach Germaine Sattiewhite is looking to improve upon last season and with seven returning starters, the Knights are equipped to do just that. 2017 Boston City All-Star Daniel Austin returns for his junior year at running back, and is ready to carry the load on offense behind an experienced offensive line spearheaded by seniors Wilson Sanon, Carlos Robles, and Marcos Roman.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6:30 p.m., at Brighton

    South Shore Voc-Tech

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 South

    Coach: Derek Mariani (20th season). Career: Career: 109-104-2.

    Last year’s record: 5-6

    Strengths: Experience

    Concerns: Not playing to potential

    Offense: Wishbone

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: The Vikings made a three-win improvement last fall and coach Derek Mariani hopes his squad can make another leap in 2018 and contend for the Mayflower League Small title. How will South Shore accomplish that goal? Playing with toughness and discipline. The Vikings feature an all-senior backfield of league all-star Shane Fougere and Dominic Georgakakis. Seniors Nick Podgurski and Spencer Joseph will each get reps at quarterback.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m., at Tri-County

    Southeastern

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 South

    Coach: Dominique Williams (1st season). Career: .

    Last year’s record: 5-7

    Strengths: Veteran leadership.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: First-year coach Dominique Williams feels he has a talented group that will continue to improve this season. Guabi Pires, a 6-1, 170-pound senior receiver/safety, received varsity experience last year and will move into an expanded role as both a deep threat and solid tackler. Sophomore James Cordon (5-1, 175) is poised to start at QB with a strong arm after winning the job in camp. At running back is junior Kevin Opoku, a multi-sport athlete with blazing speed according to Williams. ‘‘I think this team can win a lot of games,’’ said Williams, a 2010 Brockton High grad who played collegiate at Boston College, captaining the Eagles as a senior. ‘‘These kids are dedicated and theyre putting in the work.’’

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

    St. John Paul II

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 South

    Coach: Matt Marshall (2nd season). Career: Career: 9-2.

    Last year’s record: 9-2

    Strengths: Strong senior class

    Concerns: Inexperience

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Lions are ready to reload and take another shot at the Division 8 title after getting knocked out in the semifinals by eventual Super Bowl champ Millis. Senior wideout Mike Satkevich returns after earning a captaincy as a junior. Head coach Matt Marshall also expects plenty of leadership and production from the Kevin Flynn, 2017 Catholic Central Small defensive lineman of the year. Senior quarterback Chris Bresnahan takes over under center for grad Devan Harrison, a league all-star.

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

    St. John’s Prep

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 North

    Coach: Brian St. Pierre (5th season). Career: Career: 28-16..

    Last year’s record: 5-6

    Strengths: Talent at skill positions.

    Concerns: Defensive depth.

    Offense: Pro set

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: When starting quarterback Mike Yarin suffered a shoulder injury last fall, it opened the door for sophomore Matt Crowley to gain some valuable experience for Prep. Now Crowley is back under center with a host of weapons and a respected offensive mind in Brian St. Pierre. Wes Rockett, an electric receiver, has recovered from an injury-plagued sophomore campaign. And 6-foot-2 senior Max Freedman should keep defenses honest on the other side of the field. After gaining well over 1,000 yards last year, lighting-quick back Aise Pream returns to create havoc behind a talented offensive front led by captain Kevin Dewing. Senior linebacker Coltan Tangney and defensive tackle James Taylor lead a relatively young defense, but the Eagles have proven capable of winning shootouts in years’ past.

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

    St. Mary’s

    Playoff alignment: Division 7 North

    Coach: Sean Driscoll (1st season). Career: 55-56 (Winthrop for 12 seasons)..

    Last year’s record: 11-1.

    Strengths: Offensive line, defensive line.

    Concerns: Skill positions, lack of depth.

    Offense: Double wing

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: After 12 years as the head coach at Winthrop, Sean Driscoll inherits a Spartan program in transition. The loss of dual-threat quarterback Calvin Johnson and backs James Brumfield and Marlon Scott leave a gaping hole at the skill positions. Two-way returning starters Domenic DiCenso (OT/DT), John Maguire (OG/DE) and Patrick Henry (TE/DE) provide a steady presence on the line. I know were going to have some obstacles ahead of us, Driscoll said. Were playing a real tough schedule [and] have a whole new backfield in the skills area so its going to be a challenge, but we want to get a good start going.

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

    Stoneham

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

    Coach: Bob Almeida (7th season). Career: 164-98-1 overall; 39-29 with Stoneham..

    Last year’s record: 9-3.

    Strengths: Quarterback, backfield.

    Concerns: Inexperience on offensive and defensive lines.

    Offense: Double wing

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Coming off a 9-3 season in 2017, Stoneham is looking to duplicate it success, especially on offense. If the Spartans are to do that, the backfield will be the driving force. ‘‘Our quarterback and backs should be a good strength for us this year,’’ said coach Bob Almeida. The Spartans return quarterback Deshawn Chase, who took over on Thanksgiving last year. Also back are Kevin McShane, who ran for eight touchdowns and averaged 11 yards per carry as a fullback, running back Christo Argyropoulos who led the squad with 920 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in 2017, and Seth Russell, who split time at cornerback and running back last year with five touchdowns and seven yards per carry. Stoneham is returning seven starters, five of which are on offense and two on defense.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Archbishop Williams

    Stoughton

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 South

    Coach: Greg Burke (26th season). Career: 174-109-4.

    Last year’s record: 6-5

    Strengths: Team speed

    Concerns: Lack of experience

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: With the new school still under construction, the Black Knights will be taking their game on the road for the second straight season. There will be two ‘home games’ at Stonehill College, and two more at Canton High. Coach Greg Burke expects to play both junior George Currier and sophomore John Burke at quarterback following the transfer of last year’s starter. Stoughton returns experienced players on the defensive side of the ball, including linebackers Malachi Green and Alex Iverson and defensive backs Cian Swierzewski and Josh Cocchi. Jeff Grier slides from free safety over to corner. Matt Piana and Evan Jackman are the keys up front defensively. Burke’s biggest concern is developing players beyond his defensive stalwarts. ‘‘You’re only as good as your backups,’’ Burke said. ‘‘If you don’t play ‘em or practice ‘em, you just can’t compete.’’

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6:30 p.m., at Framingham

    Swampscott

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

    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

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    Taunton

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

    Coach: Brad Sidwell (3rd season). Career: Career: 11-11. Career: 118-104-3 at Franklin..

    Last year’s record: 6-5

    Strengths: Size and experience on offensive line.

    Concerns: Urgency.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: In a word, third-year coach Brad Sidwell wants to see more urgency from his players. If the Tigers are going to make a run in the Hockomock League, they will do so with seven returning starters on offense, including senior quarterback Noah Leonard. Taunton returns four sizable starters on the O line in Ryan Williams, Mason Frank, Cam Correiro and Christian Tourinho. Seniors Prince Brown and Sebastien Celestin, a transfer from Florida, anchor the defensive secondary. According to Sidwell, the players are showing more urgency than in years past. ‘‘It is a learning process, but it has been positive,’’ said Sidwell. ‘‘We just want to keep pushing them to get better and better and to understand how a real good practice looks and runs.’’

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at New Bedford

    Tech Boston

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 North

    Coach: Raul Brown (4th season). Career: 18-14..

    Last year’s record: 4-7.

    Strengths: Leadership.

    Concerns: Linebacker.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Fresh off a postseason run that saw the Bears advance to the semi-finals of the Division 8 North playoffs, Tech Boston looks to continue on that success in 2018 despite losing 10 seniors. The first goal for the Bears is to win their division, something they are hoping to do off the arm, legs, and leadership of senior quarterback Marcus Gonzales. ‘‘He’s hands down one of the best players in the city this year and if he can pull this team together, we’ll be good,’’ said coach Raul Brown. A big test for the young Bears will be week one against Georgetown. ‘‘If we can beat Georgetown, that will be the ultimate test to see how good we are for the year,’’ said Brown.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m., vs. Georgetown

    Tewksbury

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 North

    Coach: Brian Aylward (22nd season). Career: 138-85-1.

    Last year’s record: 10-2

    Strengths: Depth at key positions

    Concerns: Inexperience

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: Tewksbury advanced to the Division 3 state semifinals last year before falling to North Attleborough. If the Redmen are to make another deep postseason run, it’ll be on the arm of senior quarterback Jay Connolly, a Merrimack Valley Conference All-Star as a junior. In his career, Connolly has thrown for 2,400-plus yards and 27 touchdown passes, with just five interceptions. Seniors Trace Trant, Justyn Lester and Zach Weitz return to bolster the offensive front. Trant and fellow senior Jack Kelly are integral components of the defense at linebacker, as is senior defensive end Connor Nugent.

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

    Tri-County

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 South

    Coach: Anthony Mazzola (9th season). Career: Career: 26-55.

    Last year’s record: 2-8

    Strengths: Experienced seniors

    Concerns: Offensive line

    Offense: Pro set

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: After a disappointing finish last fall, the Cougars will field with 24 seniors. T-C is also transitioning from the Wing T to a a Pro style attack. Coach Anthony Mazzola believes his Cougars will be in the mix for a conference title and a tournament spot. One of those seniors is captain Nate Glidden, a three-year starter at offensive guard and middle linebacker and returning Mayflower League All-Star. Tri-County will utilize more two-back sets, led by senior fullback/tailback Evan Langille, along with juniors Jordan Pina and Jason Beaulieu. ‘‘Those three guys are a good combination in the backfield,’’ said Mazzola.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m., vs. South Shore Voc-Tech

    Triton

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

    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

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    Upper Cape

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 South

    Coach: Ken Owen (2nd season). Career: Career: 196-113-5 (193-105-5 at Rockland).

    Last year’s record: 3-8

    Strengths: Ground game

    Concerns: Filling holes on defense.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: In his second season on the sideline -- after a highly-successful run at Rockland -- Ken Owens and his squad are looking to make noise in the Mayflower League. There are just five seniors on the roster, but a number of juniors received considerable playing time as sophomores. Senior tackle Anthony Georgopoulos anchors the O line and two-way end Wally Alden is the undisputed leader. ‘‘He has a nice effect on the younger kids and he’s the one we turn to get us through practice, pump up the intensity and everything else,’’ said Owen. One player to keep an eye on for a breakout year: junior receiver/safety Drew Brightman.

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

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    Wakefield

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

    Coach: John Rafferty (1st season). Career: First season; 95-58 record at North Andover (2001-2014)..

    Last year’s record: 4-7.

    Strengths: Athleticism.

    Concerns: Inexperience.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Wakefield has John Rafferty at the helm, returning to coach his alma mater where he starred as a running back before playing at Syracuse University. The team he inherits, however, is young. Only four starters one of which plays both offense and defense return for the Warriors, and the team has a brand new offensive line. Senior quarterback Mike Lucey is a three-year starter who leads an athletic offense with senior running back Danny Marinaccio. Marinaccio also plays linebacker. Junior linebacker Rob Fossett and junior safety Michael O’Keefe return for Wakefield’s defense. ‘‘It’s brand new all the way around for the kids and it’s brand new for (the coaching staff) realizing we’re coaching some kids that we’ve never coached before,’’ Rafferty said. ‘‘Its a whole new language for them and as a result its taking some time, but were making some progress.’’

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

    Walpole

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 South

    Coach: Chris Sullivan (1st season)..

    Last year’s record: 5-6

    Strengths: Athleticism at skill positions

    Concerns: Depth at linebacker

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: A 2000 alum, Chris Sullivan takes the helm of a Rebel program coming off its first season under .500 since 2003. ‘‘We need to start faster and never take the foot off the gas,’’ said Sullivan, a 12-year assistant at Walpole, the past eight under Barry Greener. ‘‘We got down in a lot of games last year and we didn’t have that kind of team that could fight their way back. They’d give it their all, but at the end of the day, it would be not enough.’’ He has named junior Will Jarvis, a starting safety last season, as the starting quarterback. Also, senior Patrick Kearns, a two-time Bay State Conference All-Star on the line, has been shifted to tight end. Sullivan said that the Rebels are green at linebacker and need to start getting better at reads and tackling.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 2:30 p.m., at Norwood

    Waltham

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

    Coach: John Bourque (8th season). Career: 36-37..

    Last year’s record: 4-7

    Strengths: Strong underclassmen.

    Concerns: Inexperience.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: The Hawks will be looking to a new generation of talent to take the reigns and take the next step. A veteran group of 13 seniors along with 20 juniors will hopefully give the young Hawks what they need to improve. A few of these key underclassmen is 5-foot-10 sophomore RB Carl-Heinz Renaudin and sophomore WR Jordan Johnson. Waltham opens up the season on the road at Newton North with the hope to challenge in the Dual County League.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m., at Newton North

    Wareham

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 South

    Coach: Fran Cass (1st season). Career: First year.

    Last year’s record: 9-2

    Strengths: Mental toughness, passion

    Concerns: Inexperience

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: The Vikings will look a lot different this season, for a number of reasons. First, Fran Cass, formerly the head coach and assistant at Holbrook/Avon, is now running the sideline. And tailback/QB Issac Nascimento, who was a two-time Globe All-Scholastic, accounting for 26 touchdowns last season, has graduated. Wareham will also be minus its entire offensive line, along with a pair of skill position player, because of discipline. ‘‘We’ll need to be mentally tough and have a passion for football in order to come out and hold this thing together,’’ said Cass. One player to watch: junior tight end Dominic Labelle, a 6-foot-4 target that figures to be an integral part in the Wareham offense.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at Old Rochester

    Watertown

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

    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

    Wayland

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

    Coach: Scott Parseghian (18th season). Career: 114-78..

    Last year’s record: 7-4.

    Strengths: Skill players.

    Concerns: Offensive line.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Wayland was an upstart team last year that had just a few pieces missing to make a long playoff run. Now those pieces are in place. The Warriors return Dual County League Small MVP and senior running back Wellington Pereira, the DCL Small Lineman of the Year in senior Brooks Jones, and 6-foot-2, 210-pound athletic quarterback Mason Bolivar. ‘‘Those are three guys you like to build around,’’ coach Scott Parseghian said. Wayland must replace DCL All-Star linebacker Sean Devlin, but Parseghian expects senior Brian Carmichael to make an impact in that position. The Warriors have a large class of 20 juniors who will get plenty of time on the field and continue to build upon Wayland’s success in 2017.

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

    Wellesley

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 South

    Coach: Jesse Davis (7th season). Career: 41-26..

    Last year’s record: 6-5.

    Strengths: Depth and experience at skill positions.

    Concerns: Size on offensive line and staying healthy.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The loss of a Quarterback such as Jack Tishman would have most programs frantically searching for a new play caller, but Jesse Davis and the Raiders have options. Junior Matt Maiona stepped up for the Raiders last season when Tishman went down - leading his squad to a 23-20 Thanksgiving win over Needham. Maiona finds himself in a battle with senior Malik Sinclair for that quarterback spot. If the Raiders are able to stay healthy and not be ravaged by injuries like they were a year ago, it could be a successful season in Division 2 and the Bay State Conference. Senior WR/S Hugh Callahan and junior WR/CB Chris Althoff will provide explosiveness for Wellesley on both sides of the ball.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m., vs. East Bridgewater

    West Bridgewater

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 South

    Coach: Bill Panos (33rd season). Career: Career: 178-142.

    Last year’s record: 6-5

    Strengths: Experience

    Concerns: Depth at quarterback, offensive line

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Fresh off his induction to the Massachusetts High School Coaches Hall of Fame, Bill Panos is prepped for his 33rd year as at the helm of the Wildcats. West Bridgewater was eliminated by eventual Super Bowl champion Millis in the first round of the D8 South playoffs. But with 14 seniors, Panos is confident his 2018 squad will be another solid bunch, led by Mayflower League MVP Christian Keeling (1,486 yards, 22 TDs as a junior). Junior Matt Lavoie, a Mayflower League All-Star, returns at QB.

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

    West Roxbury

    Playoff alignment: Division 8 North

    Coach: Derek Wright (7th season). Career: 22-41..

    Last year’s record: 6-3.

    Strengths: Running game.

    Concerns: Quarterback.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Derek Wright’s ultimate goal is to always be better than the year before, a tall task for a team that earned the third seed in the Division 8 North playoffs a year ago. The Raiders are returning a veteran unit in 2018 and Wright believes his group of guys have what it takes. ‘‘My guys seem to like each other and its not always like that,’’ said Wright. ‘‘They are a close-knit bunch and they play well for each other.’’ Their leading rusher and scorer from a year ago, 2017 Boston City All-Star Ismael Presume is back and hopes to carry the offense that will feature a new quarterback under center. It is a three-man race for the spot but Methuen-transfer Alex Luna is the favorite to land the job.

    Season opener: Saturday, Sept. 8, 7 p.m., at Pope John

    Westford

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

    Coach: Pat Gendron (2nd season). Career: 3-8..

    Last year’s record: 3-8.

    Strengths: Team culture.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Grey Ghosts failed to reach their preseason goals in 2017, which brings a new set of objectives for Pat Gendron and his team in his second year. The 2018 goal is simple: get one percent better every day, and from there chase down a Dual County League title. Senior captains QB Cam Barisano, LB/RB Nick Antes, and LB/RB Tyler Bella will help lead the team, especially on offense where the Grey Ghosts averaged just 11.7 ppg. One positive from the 3-8 season last fall was a 3-2 mark at home.

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

    Weston

    Playoff alignment: Division 5 North

    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

    Westwood

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 South

    Coach: Brad Pindel (2nd season). Career: 19-25 (3-8 at Westwood)..

    Last year’s record: 3-8.

    Strengths: Experience.

    Concerns: Focus.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Wolverines learned new offensive and defensive systems last season in coach Brad Pindel’s first season, but with a year of experience under their belts, they feel ready to compete again in the Tri-Valley Large. Westwood has six returners apiece on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, led by senior offensive/defensive lineman Miles Heesplink. Senior linebacker/wide receiver Braden Loughnane and junior running back/cornerback Colin Fay will also be players to watch.

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

    Weymouth

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

    Coach: T.J. Byrne (1st season).. Career: 10-19 at Sacred Heart..

    Last year’s record: 3-8

    Strengths: Offensive line and wide receiver.

    Concerns: Adjusting to new coaching staff.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: In his first year as head coach at Weymouth, T.J. Byrne has just three starters returning on offense. But he is no stranger to a challenge. He led Sacred Heart to its first playoff win last fall. He has high hopes for wide receivers Diondre Ellis and Kyle Hoeft, two seniors that played sparingly last season but have reportedly had great summers. Juniors Tyler Campbell and Dan Picard are competing for the starting quarterback job while senior Tim Keeley is set to handle the bulk of carries out of the backfield. Keeley and senior Nate Mackin will make the calls on defense as starting linebackers. Byrne has three former Sacred Heart assistants, as well as three from Weymouth on what is otherwise a new staff.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Plymouth North

    Whitman-Hanson

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 South

    Coach: Mike Driscoll (8th season). Career: 39-37-1.

    Last year’s record: 7-4

    Strengths: Team speed, skill positions, defensive line

    Concerns: Depth along offensive line and linebacker

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Panthers have eight of their 11 starters back on both offense and defense, including six players entering their third season as starters. Quarterback Ethan Phelps (2,500 total yards, 32 TDs as a junior), linebacker Mike Connors, defensive lineman Quinn Sweeney, offensive lineman Ryan Trongone and wide receivers Rian Schwede and Jacob Nixon will put W-H in position to compete for the Patriot League’s Keenan Division title, according to coach Mike Driscoll. The Panthers have made the playoffs in four straight seasons but have yet to advance out of the first round under the statewide format instituted in 2013.

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

    Whittier

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

    Coach: Kevin Bradley (18th season). Career: 122-68..

    Last year’s record: 6-5.

    Strengths: Leadership, offensive line

    Concerns: Inexperience

    Offense: Wing T

    Playing surface: Grass

    Outlook: After graduating 23 seniors this past season, 2018 will be a challenging year for Whittier. The Wildcats return just two starters, seniors OL/DL Josh Rousso and Joe Cahill. Were just so young, said head coach Kevin Bradley. This is definitely a rebuilding year for us. In addition to Rousso and Cahill, the Vikings return senior quarterback Tyler Flodstrom and junior running back AJ Espinal. Flodstrom and Espinal are taking over the reigns of the Whittier offense and should prove a nice 1-2 punch in the Vikings backfield.

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

    Wilmington

    Playoff alignment: Division 4 North

    Coach: Craig Turner (2nd season). Career: Career: 36-18 (8-3 at Wilmington)..

    Last year’s record: 8-3.

    Strengths: Offensive and defensive line play.

    Concerns: Offensive consistency.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Fresh off of their first playoff win in program history a 30-0 quarterfinal victory over Gloucester the Wildcats are poised to build momentum off of that win. Senior Andrew Sullivan takes over at quarterback. He missed the 2017 season due to an ACL tear he suffered during the spring 2017 lacrosse season. Despite the time away, coach Craig Turner likes Sullivans progress. Its good to have him back and for him to be able get in there and learn what we used last year, Turner said. Theres been some growing pains but hes consistently getting better each day and I like the way our offense looks. Offensive tackle Pat McAndrew started only three games last year after suffering a knee injury, but the 6-foot-3, 260-pound junior will be an imposing figure in the trenches. Even though it was only three games as a sophomore, he looks like a completely different kid this year. Hes grown into his body, Turner said. Junior linebacker Bailey Smith and senior defensive end Kyle Kenyon will lead the defense.

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

    Winchester

    Playoff alignment: Division 3 North

    Coach: Wally Dembowski (8th season). Career: 21-55.

    Last year’s record: 3-8

    Strengths: Offensive and defensive lines

    Concerns: Experience at skill positions

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Sachems last fall. Quarterback Liam Fitzpatrick, since graduated, was sidelined for six games. And a skin rash forced 18 players out of the lineup for a Middlesex League game against Lexington. Winchester is turning the page to a bright new era, however, with permanent lights installed on its home field for the first time. Coach Wally Dembowski is also upbeat about Winchester’s size in the trenches -- the largest unit since he arrived. Senior captain Joe Lepore, s 6-foot, 225-pound left tackle/defensive end, is the anchor on both lines. ‘‘He’s the engine,’’ Dembowski said of the returning Middlesex League All-Star. ‘‘He plays with a motor every single play.’’ Seniors Brendan Curran,a running back/safety and receiver/safety Matt Romagna, are the other captains for the Sachems. Senior Tony Fiorentino will start at quarterback.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. Newton South

    Winthrop

    Playoff alignment: Division 6 North

    Coach: Jonathan Cadigan (1st season).

    Last year’s record: 2-9.

    Strengths: Youth/underclassmen.

    Concerns: Depth.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: Coming off a 2-9 season and losing long time coach Sean Driscoll to St. Mary’s, 2018 should be a rebuilding year for Winthrop. New coach Jonathan Cadigan knows his team is young and as a result, needs to be the best practice team it can be, in order to prepare for live game action. The Vikings return a handful of key starters in seniors FB/LB Feedle Small, DE/T Chris Castro, C/DE Mike McCone and WR/DB Andrew Love, all of whom should help the Vikings improve on a disappointing 2017 season.

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

    Woburn

    Playoff alignment: Division 2 North

    Coach: Jack Belcher (2nd season). Career: 84-65 (7-4 at Woburn).

    Last year’s record: 7-4.

    Strengths: Experience and DBs.

    Concerns: Inexperience for new starters.

    Offense: Spread

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: After a successful first season with the Tanners, Belcher is looking to take that next step in Division 2 North. The return of four-year starting QB Ryan Qualey and other key players on both sides of the ball brings optimism to the program. Qualey threw for 1,025 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, and stands five touchdowns away from tying Dan McLaughlin’s school record of 28. With senior Tyler Parrish on the outside, the 6-foot-3 Qualey has a great shot of surpassing this milestone. Parrish had 21 catches in 2017 with six touchdowns at the split end position. With seniors Peter Cole and Pat Allen, along with junior Nick Coviello on the offensive line, Qualey should have the adequate protection needed to make plays down field. Belcher is optimistic about this team, and believes there is a great mix of younger players with the returning starters.

    Season opener: Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., vs. North Andover

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    Xaverian

    Playoff alignment: Division 1 South

    Coach: Al Fornaro (2nd season). Career: Career: 7-5.

    Last year’s record: 7-5

    Strengths: Size and experience on offensive line.

    Concerns: Inexperience at quarterback and in defensive secondary.

    Offense: Multiple

    Playing surface: Artificial turf

    Outlook: The Hawks came on strong during the second half of Al Fornaro’s first year as head coach to earn a fourth consecutive Super Bowl berth. Xaverian welcomes back 13 starters and has 18 seniors on the roster. But sophomore Michael Berluti will start under center after winning the preseason quarterback competition. He’ll be throwing to two-way standout Cooper DeVeau and safety Justin Wenstrom, who will be asked to play more wide receiver as a senior. As always, the Hawks are big up front with Brown commit Lucas Ferraro and Trevor Carroll poised to lead the defensive line. Senior Grant Laws shifts from offensive tackle to guard and senior Michael Masse returns as a two-way player at linebacker and fullback. He’ll clear the running lanes for senior Michael Saliba, who is poised to start at running back after logging 31 carries his junior year.

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