Kennebunk and Cony, which played for the Class B state title last season, lost a lot of talent to graduation. But both are expected to be in the playoff hunt again – Kennebunk in the West and Cony in the East.
In Western Class B, Marshwood could be the favorite. The Hawks have a strong nucleus back from last year’s 8-3 team that lost to Kennebunk in the regional final.
Brett Gerry has rushed for 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons, doing it last year on a sore ankle, and Nick Dalecki is a talented two-way lineman. Coach Alex Rotsko led the Hawks to the state final in his first season and the regional final last season.
“Marshwood is probably the favorite going in, but Western Maine Class B is always balanced,” said York Coach Randy Small.
Before arriving at Marshwood, Rotsko was head coach at Longmeadow High in Massachusetts for 19 seasons and guided the program to 11 Western Massachusetts Super Bowl titles.
“I’m starting to feel like I belong here,” said Rotsko. “We have a lot of kids returning and we expect to be in the thick of it.”
Falmouth has eight starters back on both offense and defense. Quarterback Noah Nelson is a three-year starter and Drew Chamberlain is a 275-pound all-conference guard/defensive tackle. The Yachtsmen are looking to improve on their 5-4 record.
Westbrook and York both lost in the regional semis and should be in the hunt again. Defense should be York’s strength; the Wildcats lost only three starters on that side of the ball. Cole Merritt takes over for Ross Hogan, who graduated, at quarterback. .
Westbrook looks to capitalize on its experienced line. Running back Maurice Johnson gives the Blue Blazes a breakaway threat.
In the East, Brunswick and Cony played two classic games last season. The Dragons won the regular-season game, and the Rams prevailed in the regional final.
The Dragons, who have two of the state’s top running backs in Alex Bandouveres and Will Bessey, will have to plug holes in the line with one starter returning. Cony returns an All-State linebacker in junior Reid Shostak, who will also be at running back. Mitchell Caron will be the new quarterback.
Jim Aylward is the new coach at Mt. Blue after a long career at Mountain Valley, where his teams won four Class B state titles. Skowhegan looks to better last season’s 5-5 record with team speed and line depth.
“I think there are three to four teams that could take it,” said Brunswick Coach Dan Cooper.