Two things jump out about Class B South football this fall.

It should be a very balanced division. And the top teams all feature returning quarterbacks.

Marshwood, the two-time defending state champ, has Cole McDaniel back as a dual threat with quick feet. He fits perfectly with Coach Alex Rotsko’s offense.

Falmouth was the regular-season champ last season and made its first trip to the regional final behind 6-foot-2 Jack Bryant, who broke all the school single-season records as a sophomore.

“And I’ve had some good quarterbacks,” said Coach John Fitzsimmons.

But both Marshwood and Falmouth had significant graduation losses.

That means Biddeford (with Joey Curit), Westbrook (with four-year starter Bailey Sawyer) and Kennebunk (with option-running Justin Wiggins) are legitimate threats to contend after posting winning records in 2015.

Cole McDaniel figures to be a huge factor for Marshwood as it attempts to capture a third straight state championship. Still just a junior, McDaniel has winning experience and can run as well as pass.

Cole McDaniel figures to be a huge factor for Marshwood as it attempts to capture a third straight state championship. Still just a junior, McDaniel has winning experience and can run as well as pass. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Biddeford and Kennebunk have the most returning starters. The Tigers also could get a significant boost if Austin Dutremble (halfback/inside linebacker) and Brady Crepeau can make full recoveries from injuries that forced both to miss the past two seasons. If healthy, Dutremble can add speed and depth to the backfield. Crepeau would give Biddeford “the prototypical fullback,” who has “a chance to be one of the better players in the league,” according to Coach Brian Curit.

Kennebunk has five starters back on offense, including fullback Patrick Saunders.

“We have pretty good numbers and we had a lot of younger kids that stepped up last year,” said Coach Joe Rafferty. “It’s hard to tell where we fit. I would think we’re in the top four.”

Joey Curit is expected to spark a strong passing game for Biddeford with his strong scrambling ability and capable receivers.

Joey Curit is expected to spark a strong passing game for Biddeford with his strong scrambling ability and capable receivers. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Westbrook doesn’t have as many returnees as Biddeford and Kennebunk. Its revamped lines will be anchored by David Redmond, an all-conference pick at center and defensive end. And then there’s Sawyer.

“Bailey has a strong and accurate arm. He has the ability to keep plays alive with his feet,” said Coach Jeff Guerette. “We’re going to put some athletes out there.”

Leavitt is the exception to the quarterback-is-back rule in the South among last year’s stronger teams. The Hornets graduated 18 players from a 6-3 team, including starting quarterback Levi Craig.

So can all the playmaking talent derail Marshwood, which has a roster of nearly 80?

“Until somebody beats Marshwood they’re still the favorite,” said Biddeford’s Coach Curit, “but I do think this will be a very competitive league.”

In the North, Brunswick will have to replace quarterback Thomas Hanson and running back Will Bessey, a Fitzpatrick Trophy finalist. But the Dragons have six starters back on both sides of the ball and 20 experienced seniors, and are squarely eying a third straight trip to the state final. Brewer figures to be the other top North contender.

“Brewer has got some enormous, very good players,” Brunswick Coach Dan Cooper said. “They definitely have the kids that can beat us up (in the lines) and they’re going to be tough.”

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