Senior quarterback Jaelen Jackson is back to lead South Portland’s offense to big things this fall. File photos.

Coach: Aaron Filieo (third year, 11-8 overall record)

2021 record: 4-5 (Lost, 10-7, to Noble in Class B South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Brady Demers (Senior), Nolan Hobbs (Senior), Jaelen Jackson (Senior), Josh Lamour (Senior), Paul Magaya (Senior), Lucas Mehlhorn (Senior), Johnny Poole (Senior), Ben Smith (Senior), Josh Sparacio (Senior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 2 MARSHWOOD, Sept. 23 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 14 @ Scarborough, Oct. 21 PORTLAND

Coach’s comment: “We lost most of our line, but we return most of our skill guys. We’ll be balanced on offense. We can run the ball and we have good receiving targets. I think the league is similar to last year. We have the potential to move up depending on how things shake out. Our goal is to make the playoffs and to make a run.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: South Portland features a lot of athletes who have won a lot of games in multiple sports and the Red Riots hope to make a title run similar to that of baseball and basketball in the past couple seasons. A senior-laden squad should very much be in the mix in a tough Class B South.


Senior Johnny Poole will be a force on both offense and defense.

Jackson, the point guard from basketball, is back at quarterback. A captain, Jackson, is equally adept throwing or running the ball and he’ll give the opposition fits. Hobbs (another captain and a league all-star last year), along with Poole (a captain) will get a chance to run the ball through the opposition. Mehlhorn and Smith are top receivers and Sparacio (a captain) will be a force at tight end. Magaya (a captain, who was sidelined by a knee injury in 2021) and Lamour anchor the line. Demers is a dangerous placekicker.

South Portland expects to be stout on the defensive end. Lamour and Magaya will be on the line. The linebackers feature Hobbs and Sparacio. The secondary will be strong as well, as Jackson, Mehlhorn, Poole and Smith will look to shut down the opposition.

The Red Riots get to measure themselves against the best right out of the gate when defending Class B champion Marshwood pays a visit. There will be several other challenges over the course of the season, but this group welcomes the opportunity to go up against the best. South Portland has the pieces in place of a team that can improve on last year’s win-loss mark and make a deeper playoff run. Don’t be surprised if this group, with its championship pedigree, springs a surprise or two down the road.


Senior Divin Mpinga will be one of the state’s top scoring threats this fall.

Coach: Bryan Hoy (16th year, 137-73-22 overall record)

2021 record: 11-3-3 (Lost, 1-0, to Gorham in Class A South semifinals)

Top returning players: Jack Dreifus (Senior), Joey Hanlon (Senior), Divin Mpinga (Senior), Thomas Caouette (Junior)


Pivotal games: Sept. 3 CHEVERUS, Sept. 16 @ Gorham, Sept. 24 @ Portland, Sept. 30 MARSHWOOD, Oct. 3 @ Windham, Oct. 10 SCARBOROUGH

Coach’s comment: “We lost our entire back line and our best playmaker from last year’s team, but with our top scorer and goalie back, we return two of the top players at their position in the conference.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: South Portland has been a model of consistency under Hoy, posting winning records and making the playoffs annually. The one piece the Red Riots are missing is a trip to a championship game and after a close lose to Gorham a year ago, this year’s squad could take that next step. There are holes to fill, however, as Class A South all-region selections Joey Perron and Jack Houle have graduated.

Senior Jack Dreifus is another top returner for the Red Riots this autumn.

Offense shouldn’t be a problem for South Portland, as Mpinga, an All-Conference and Class A South all-region selection in 2021, returns. Mpinga scored 11 goals and added seven assists in 2021 and he will be the focal point of the opposition. Hanlon and junior Curtis Metcalf are other potential scorers. In the midfield, look for Dreifus, senior Griffin Tetzlaff and junior C.J. Marenghi to all play key roles. On defense, Drew Folley and Jake Udomsay will play bigger roles this season. They’re joined by new senior Jose Julio and junior Mechack Agawa. Caouette, the goalkeeper, was a second-team league all-star last season after allowing just eight goals and posting 11 shutouts. He’ll ensure the Red Riots continue to frustrate even the best foes.

While familiar names like Gorham and Scarborough are in the role of preseason favorites, in reality, the region is as deep as it’s ever been and the opportunity is there for the Red Riots to steadily improve and be a team no one will want to see come late-October. After some frustrating near misses, this could be the year that South Portland makes history.


Coach: Tyler Pelletier (first year)


2021 record: 2-13 (Lost, 4-0, to Gorham in Class A South preliminary round)

Top returning players: Talia Bradbury (Senior), Ava Bryant (Senior), Samantha Duffy (Senior), Maddie Fitzherbert (Junior), Nola Gorneau (Junior), Marina Bassett (Sophomore), Emma Travis (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 2 @ Cheverus, Sept. 15 GORHAM, Sept. 22 PORTLAND, Oct. 1 WINDHAM, Oct. 8 @ Scarborough

Coach’s comment: “We want to make a presence in the league and be tough competition in the playoffs.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: South Portland welcomes its third coach in four seasons as Pelletier, a former junior varsity coach, replaces Adam Perron. Pelletier played at the University of Maine-Machias and previously coached the Mt. Ararat boys and the Seacoast premier squad. He inherits a program eager to move up the competitive ladder.

Veterans Bradbury and Bryant will play up top and look to pace the offense. Bassett, Gorneau and Travis are top midfielders. The defense features Duffy and Fitzherbert. Senior Katie O’Hare will be in goal. Junior Olivia Bean is a newcomer to watch.


The Red Riots look to gain confidence and when that comes, the wins will follow. Perhaps enough wins to allow them to return to the postseason.

FIELD HOCKEY (co-op w/Westbrook)

Coach: Kaylee Whitten (first year)

2021 results: 0-14 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Leah Cromarty (Senior), Rain Jordan (Senior), Grace Wallace (Senior), Andrea DiMauro (Junior), Emily Keefe (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 1 FALMOUTH, Sept. 15 SCARBOROUGH, Sept. 27 @ Gorham, Oct. 17 @ Cheverus

Coach’s comment: “Our team looks a little bit different this season. We’ve been working a lot on teamwork and chemistry and how those contribute to a successful team. These girls have been working hard in preseason, which is all you can really ask for as coaches. We’ve also talked a lot about how hard work pays off and that’s one of our main goals this year as well. This year our focuses include having each player grow individually, growing as a team and putting some balls in the net.”


The Forecaster’s forecast: South Portland and Westbrook, two programs with a lot of history, have combined as a co-op this season. Whitten, a field hockey and softball standout at South Portland, was the field hockey assistant for the Red Riots last year and takes over a squad that hopes to grow into a contender.

Keefe was a first-team league all-star in 2021 and figures to see a lot of shots again. She’ll be one of the league’s premier goalies. DiMauro is a top defender. The midfield features Wallace. Cromarty and Jordan will look to put the ball in the cage on offense. Sophomore Mackenzie Hall and freshman Rachel DiMauro are newcomers to watch.

South Portland/Westbrook will have to become a united team on the fly, as the preseason was short and the start of the regular season features some top foes. If this group can do that, some wins will result and the future will be bright.


Coach: Sarah Marckoon (second year)

2021 record: 7-8 (Lost, 3-0, to Falmouth in Class A state preliminary round)

Top returning player: Alexa Guerrero (Senior)


Pivotal matches: Sept. 6 @ Gorham, Sept. 11 @ Portland, Sept. 16 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 8 @ Scarborough

Coach’s comment: “Our program is growing rapidly and players are improving so fast. We are really working hard to make it deep into playoffs and earn our school a banner this year. We have a group of amazing humans and our game play will be a reflection of these girls’ hard work and dedication to our program.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: South Portland is coming off its fifth straight trip to the playoffs (there was no season in 2020) and is hoping to be even stronger this fall.

Guerrero, an outside hitter, returns. She’s deadly at the service line (33 aces). Juniors Francesca Amoroso and Ella Nickerson (the softball standout) look to step right in and help the cause.

The Red Riots have to figure out what pieces go best where, but that will become clear as the season progresses. South Portland should be able to compete with just about everyone on the schedule and will likely find itself back in the postseason.


(Boys) Dave Kahill (10th year)
(Girls) Matt Toothaker (first year)


2021 results:
(Boys) 5th @ Class A state meet
(Girls) DNQ for Class A state meet (13th @ regionals)

Top returners:
(Boys) Alec Campbell (Senior), Kyle Hartford (Senior), Harrison Jones (Senior), Jack Nickerson (Senior), Emmons Whited (Senior)
(Girls) Anna Brown (Senior), Lily Henriksen (Senior), Eva Cooke (Junior), Iris Young (Junior)

Coach Kahill’s comment: “With 10 seniors on the team, we are very experienced, so expectations are high in terms of our preparation, maturity, cohesiveness and racing. We hope to harness that experience to help our underclass athletes develop. We hope to be competitive with the top teams in the conference and state.”

Coach Toothaker’s comment:  “We have an expectation to attack each race and improve every week. We will be looking to do as best as possible during our regular season meets and gain experience for championship level meets. Our team is still young, so every race we compete in will provide an excellent opportunity for training and preparation. Our goal will be to make it to states. We have what it takes and are looking forward to championship action.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: South Portland’s cross country teams have high hopes this season.

The boys are coming off their best state meet showing in a decade and while the loss of standouts Jacob Ramos and Brady Guay will be felt, there is enough experience in reserve to keep the Red Riots among the top teams in the conference. Nickerson (35th at states last season) is a top returner. He’s joined by state meet scorers Hartford (51st) and Emmons Whited (55th). Jones also ran last year at the big meets. Campbell is another veteran. A group of sophomores, Fischer Petrlik, Paul Sames, Evan Small and Gus Whited, provide depth. Sophomore Jack Smart, who has competed in indoor and outdoor track but is new to cross country, is a key arrival. Keep an eye also on freshman Michael Lawler. South Portland is looking to remain a top contender in the SMAA and to make a return trip to states at the end of the season.


On the girls’ side, after falling short of states in 2021, the hope is to qualify for the first time since 2015. Henriksen (48th at last year’s regional meet), Young (64th) and Brown (76th) all return. They’re joined by Cooke and a collection of promising newcomers: junior Gabrielle Archibald and freshmen Lucy Dow and Elsa Henriksen. The Red Riots might need some time to hit their stride and become a cohesive unit, but they’ll be heard from later this season.


Senior Lucas Flaherty won the Class A individual state title last season and hopes to repeat this fall.

Coach: Tom Hyland (11th year)

2021 results: 6th @ Class A state match

Top returners: Brady Angell (Senior), Lucas Flaherty (Senior), Lucas Inman (Senior), Ben Stanley (Senior)

Coach’s comment: “We return a senior-laden squad. We set our sights on Natanis. Last season, we played well there, but not well enough. We are aware of the competition and what it takes to compete at the highest level. With positive attitude, behavior and performance, we intend to be there in full force on October 7th and to compete for the state championship.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: South Portland enjoyed a historic season in 2021, qualifying for states as a team for the first time in two decades and producing the finest individual Class A in Flaherty, whose round of 72 left the field in his wake. Flaherty, named Fall Athlete of the Year by The Forecaster, is back to defend his title and lead the Red Riots back to the big stage. Stanley (92) also scored last year at states. Angell and Inman look to play bigger roles. Senior Casey MacVane moves up from junior varsity and will make an impact, as will new sophomore Evan Campbell.

South Portland will be tested during the regular season, as virtually every team in its division is strong, but it all comes down to how the Red Riots do in the qualifier and if they can return to states, they’ll likely make some noise again.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @foresports

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