CAMDEN HILLS

Coach: Linwood Downs, third year

Last year: 4-5, lost in Eastern Maine quarterfinals

Returning starters: 19

Impact players: Alex Crans, Jr., QB; Caleb Pease, Sr., RB; James Gushee, Sr., LB; Travis Milner, Sr., G; Rhett Chase, Sr., DL; Brandon Graffam, Sr., DE; Ryan Graffam, Sr., DE; Coleman Powers, Jr., DB

Outlook: Camden Hills returns a veteran line, which will need to carry a big load until its young skill players gain varsity experience. This is a potentially dangerous team that relies heavily on senior leadership. Another playoff run is not out of the question.

CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach: Aaron Filieo, eighth year

Last year: 6-4, lost in Western Maine semifinals

Returning starters: 8

Impact players: Andrew Lavallee, Sr., G/LB; Derek Roberts, Sr., HB/DB; Kyle Snowden, Jr., DL/OL; Billy Brooks, Sr., TE/DE; Matt Ross, Sr., OL/DE; Donald Clark, Sr., HB/DB; Connor Maguire, Jr., QB

Outlook: The Capers have become one of the conference’s most consistently successful programs. This year shouldn’t be any different. They have a good mix of experienced returning starters and talented newcomers, and should again be dangerous. Lavallee, at 6-foot-2, 295 pounds, is one of the league’s top two-way players, a crushing blocker and monster tackler. He leads a defense that should be among the league’s best. Offensively, look for the Capers to return to a power running game, something they’ve always done well.

FALMOUTH

Coach: John Fitzsimmons, fifth year

Last year: 6-4, lost in Western Maine semifinals

Returning starters: 16

Impact players: Jack Cooleen, Sr., WR; Ryan McDonald, Sr., RB/OLB/PR; Scott Jensen, Sr., DT/OT; Will Ryan, Sr., C/NG; Mike Caswell, Jr., K; Matt Kingry, Sr., QB/S; John Walker, Jr., G/DT; Chris Leete, Sr., FB/LB; Michael Ryan, Sr., RB/DE

Outlook: The Yachtsmen have made the playoffs two of the last three years and should be among the top contenders this year. In addition to returning 16 starters, they were boosted by the return of Walker, Leete and Michael Ryan, who didn’t play last year. Their line averages 245 pounds, and Cooleen is an All-State receiver, earning college looks. Look for Falmouth to overpower a lot of teams up front. This could be the year the Yachtsmen join the elite teams of the conference.

FRYEBURG ACADEMY

Coach: David Turner, fourth year

Last year: 1-8

Returning starters: 6

Impact players: Bobby Ramsay, Sr., C/LB; Kirk Hubbard, Sr., RB/OLB; Tyler Nadeau, Sr., WR/DB; Kyle Bonner, Jr., RB-WR/DB; Andrew Rascoe, Jr., QB/DB; Kevin Reardon, Jr., OL/LB; Ian MacFawn, Jr., OL/DE; Tanner Wentworth, Jr., TE/LB

Outlook: The Raiders are still relatively young, with only three seniors. But the seniors have proven to be exceptional leaders on and off the field. Fryeburg has some young talent and experience. Rascoe started five games last year. Look for much improvement for the Raiders over the course of the season.

GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER

Coach: Phil Prideaux, second year

Last year: 0-9

Returning starters: 21

Impact players: Josh Bagdon, Sr., TE/DE; Roman Latno, Sr., QB/OLB; Colbey Bowen, Sr., OL/OLB; John Greenleaf, Sr., Wing

Outlook: While the Patriots lost only two seniors from last year, they are still a relatively young team, with the majority of players being sophomores and juniors. Still, Prideaux sees much improvement in the preseason. Players know their assignments quicker and are getting accustomed to his system. Gray-New Gloucester is loaded with quality linebackers and will use that depth to anchor the defense. This is a team that will get better as the season progresses.

GREELY

Coach: Dave Higgins, third year

Last year: 6-3

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Mike Leeman, Sr., QB; Svenn Jacobson, Jr., FB/MLB; Drew Hodge, Jr., QB/S; Eric Coyne, Jr., G/LB

Outlook: The Rangers lost a load from last year’s team, graduating 14 players, many of whom started both ways. Still, they have some nice young talent and should still be in the playoff mix late in the season. Greely runs the triple option, something that can cause problems for opposing defenses. Leeman reads the option well. Defensively, the Rangers should feature a strong crew of linebackers.

LAKE REGION

Coach: Jason Simmons, third year

Last year: 3-6

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Cody Gibbons, So., RB/MLB; Jonah Simmons, So., RB/OLB; James Anderson, Sr. RB/LB; Jacob Anderson, Sr., RB/LB; Kamen Scott, Sr., G/MLB

Outlook: The Lakers graduated 10 seniors and look to be sophomore-loaded. That’s not necessarily bad. Gibbons and Simmons are two very talented young backs, capable of breaking out with big games. The key will be the young line, which will be led by Scott, a converted fullback who goes 5-10, 230. The Anderson twins — both three-year starters — will lead the defense at linebacker, along with Scott. This is another team that will improve as the season progresses and could contend for a final playoff berth in Class B.

MARSHWOOD

Coach: John Caverly, third year

Last year: 2-6 (in Western Class A)

Returning starters: 14

Impact players: Troy Pappas, Sr., QB; Ryan Tobey, Sr., FB/ILB; Caleb Jones, Sr., ILB; Jake Melvin, Sr., G; Nate Taff, Sr., C; Nick Ricker, Sr., OT/DT; Reggie Muchemore, Jr., TB

Outlook: The Hawks move down to Class B for the first time since winning the state title in 1988. Since then they played in Class A, where they won a state championship in 1989. They figure to be one of the top contenders in the conference immediately. Marshwood has 60 players out, returns its offensive and defensive lines, and has some talented skill players, led by Pappas, a 6-2, 215-pound quarterback who directs the spread offense flawlessly, and Muchemore, who is starting his third season in the backfield. The Hawks have a difficult schedule but enough talent to contend.

MORSE

Coach: Jason Darling, second year

Last year: 2-7, lost in Eastern Maine quarterfinals

Returning starters: 8

Impact players: Kevin McKellar, Jr., QB/S; D’Vaughn Myers, Jr., RB/CB; Zack Fone, Sr., OT/DE; Josh Heenie, Sr., G/NG; Dylan Harrington, Sr., WR/CB; Wade Hunt, Sr., TE/DE

Outlook: The Shipbuilders look to build on the experience gained last year. While they don’t have a lot of depth, they have some talent. McKellar is a talented quarterback who passed for 960 yards and 10 touchdowns, completing 60 percent of his passes, and Myers rushed for over 500 yards. Darling would like to see even more this year. Morse will be boosted by the return of Hunt, who missed a lot of time with a shoulder injury, and Fone, who missed all of last year with a broken leg. Look for continued improvement from the Shipbuilders.

MOUNTAIN VALLEY

Coach: Jim Aylward, 23rd year

Last year: 12-0, won Class B state championship

Returning starters: 7

Impact players: Ryan Glover, Sr., G/LB; Nate Nicols, Sr., G/DT; Izaak Mills, Sr. RB/LB; Kyle Duguay, Sr., TB; Taylor Carey, Sr. E/DE; Matt Hosie, Jr., RB/ILB; Isaac Roberts, Sr., E/DB; Zac Radcliffe, Sr., QB/DB; Jake Theriault, Jr., RB/DB; Colin Merrill, Jr., LB

Outlook: Even though the Falcons lost a lot of talent, they will again be in the mix for a regional championship. They have a big experienced line and two of the best inside linebackers in the conference in Glover and Hosie. The rest of the defense will work around them, and you can bet it will be hard-hitting. Mountain Valley should get a boost offensively from the return of Duguay, who missed all of last season after shoulder surgery. He brings breakaway speed to the backfield, even though he likes to power through the tackles. Look for the Falcons to again be among the best teams in the conference.

OCEANSIDE

Coach: Woody Moore, fifth year

Last year: 4-5, lost in Eastern Class C quarterfinals

Returning starters: 12

Impact players: Sam Meklin, Jr., QB/DE; Dan Hendricks, Jr., WR/LB; David Harrison, Sr., TE/DE; Seth Batty, Sr., G/DT; Dan Stone, Jr., RB/DB; Travis Stone, Jr., FB/LB; Matt Zable, Jr., QB-WR/DB; Jacob Butman, Jr., WR/FS; Garrette Burns, So., FB/LB

Outlook: The Oceanside Mariners are a new team but not a new program. They played last year as Rockland, but merged with Georges Valley of Thomaston and moved up a class. The Mariners should have a strong defense – Rockland ranked second against the rush last year and fourth against the pass in Eastern Class C – and some exceptional skill players. Meklin, the quarterback, goes 6-5, 210, and does a lot of things well. He threw for 843 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He’s also a defensive end who had 44 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Hendricks is another two-way threat, with 90 tackles at linebacker (69 solo) and six touchdown catches. The key could be the newcomers on the offensive line. If they come through, the Mariners could be going deep into the Eastern playoffs.

SPRUCE MOUNTAIN

Coach: Mark Bonnevie, 10th season

Last year: Competed as separate schools, Jay and Livermore Falls

Returning starters: NA

Impact players: Bill Calven, Sr., RB/LB; Jake Richards, Sr., DL; Zach Bonnevie, Sr., QB; Tommy Lee, Sr., OL/LB

Outlook: Two of the top programs in Class C have merged, and opposing coaches are expecting a very strong program. Jay was 5-4 last year, losing in the quarterfinals, while Livermore Falls was 4-4. Bonnevie was 50-34 at Jay with six playoff teams in nine years. He’s impressed at how well the merger has gone. He has 65 players on the roster, providing a ton of depth. Spruce Mountain will use a spread offense with multiple formations, looking to take advantage of the skills of Bonnevie and Calven, a speedy back who gained more than 500 yards last year. Defensively, this team is going to be very hard to score on. The players are physical and fast, and get to the ball quickly. If all goes well, this should be one of the best teams in the conference.

WELLS

Coach: Tim Roche, 13th year

Last year: 9-2, lost in Western Maine final

Returning starters: 16

Impact players: Paul McDonough, Sr., QB/DB; Louis DiTomasso, Sr., RB/LB; Andrew Staples, Sr., G/DT; Eliott Paquette, Sr., C/LB; Michael Roberts, Sr., OT/DT; Corey Dennison, Sr., G/DE; Connor Mullins, Sr., OT/DT; Doug McLean, Sr., HB; Zach Deshaies, Sr., HB; Josh Ingalls, Sr., TE/DE; Kevin Woods, Sr., WR

Outlook: The Warriors certainly have the look and attitude of a contender. They are experienced and talented, and worked hard in the offseason, coming back bigger and stronger. In McDonough, they have one of the best playmakers in the state. And in DiTomasso, they have a linebacker who can dominate a game. He had 141 tackles, averaging 12.8 per game. The offensive line is big, allowing for a power running game. McDonough can strike through the air as well, to Josh Ingalls, a talented two-way end getting college looks. Defensively they are aggressive to the ball. The Warriors figure to be among the final teams when the end of the playoffs are near.

WESTBROOK

Coach: Jeff Guerette, fourth year

Last year: 2-6 (in Western Class A)

Returning starters: 10

Impact players: Terry Webber, Sr. QB/LB; Blake Toth, Sr., OT/NG; Graham Strondak, Sr., FB/LB; Ryan Lebel, Sr., TB/DE; Josh Tardiff, Jr., C/DT; Devon Grant, Jr., OT/DT; Ben Grant, Jr., wing,DE/P; Magnes Lewis, Sr., WR/DB

Outlook: The Blue Blazes make the move down to Class B and could be among the conference’s best teams. With Webber, Strondak and Grant, they have some talented skill players. Defensively, they have some exceptional linebackers. A lot will depend on how quickly the offensive and defensive lines are able to mature. There’s not much returning experience there, so the improvement of those players will be a key. Westbrook gained some valuable experience in close Class A games the last couple of years and will be looking to rely on the lessons learned at that level to be competitive in Class B.

YORK

Coach: Randy Small, 15th year

Last year: 4-5

Returning starters: 8

Impact players: Austin Wallace, Sr., TE/DE/LB; Aaron Prugar, Sr., RB/OLB; Wes Warner, Jr., QB; Patrick Walsh, Jr., OL; Taylor Newton, Jr., OL/DL; Alex Mercurio, Jr,. C; Thomas Kinton, Jr., RB/S; Jared Petruzzella, Sr., RB/OLB

Outlook: The Wildcats have some talent but are still relatively young, with only three seniors and seven juniors among the 50 players on the roster. They have some talent, led by Wallace, who will be starting his fourth season for the Wildcats, and Prugar, a three-year starter. There is some size up front, and Warner has a very strong arm at quarterback. A lot will depend on the development of the younger players. If they come along, the Wildcats could contend again and find their way back into the playoffs.