Leavitt Area High School football players participate in a preseason practice.
TURNER — After a two-year return to Class B, Leavitt is back for another tour in Class C. It ended its last tour in C with a regional title.
The Hornets return a nucleus that nearly upset B South champion Kennebunk in the first round of the playoffs, which has some expecting the Hornets to contend immediately in C South.
Coach Mike Hathaway believes the Hornets grew a lot during a 2-7 curtain call in B that was filled with close calls. He is quick to add that they didn’t grow too big for Class C.
“With Gardiner and York and Morse coming down with us, Cape (Elizabeth), Fryeburg and Yarmouth still playing there, and we have a couple of tough crossovers with (defending C North champion) MDI and Belfast — those are eight pretty tough games,” Hathaway said.
“We’re definitely way ahead in what we know compared to last year,” Hathaway said. “The more you can do, the harder it is for teams to prep for us.”
Teams will only have to prep for one quarterback this year, senior Tim Albert, who divided time with two other quarterbacks last year.
“I think it will help this year that he’ll get all of the reps in practice,” Hathaway said. “He really had a great summer in 7-on-7.”
“I feel like I’ve got the playbook under control,” Albert said. “We’ve got some big targets at tight end. Our line has gotten a lot better.”
Senior two-way lineman Aidan Parmenter leads a big, athletic line that returns five members who saw significant time and started last season. Historically, Leavitt’s most successful teams have had dominant offensive lines, and there is reason to believe another one is in the making.
“Dominating is a strong word,” Parmenter said, “but we’ve got a lot of guys who are older and a lot of guys who played in Class B. So that should help us improve.”
The spread offense features seniors Bryce Hudson (tailback), Zach Rogers and Caleb Bowen (slots) and sophomore tight ends Camden Jordan and Cole Morin, giving Albert a good mix of speedy and big targets.
The defense matches the offense with eight returning starters, where key contributors who started as freshmen such as Alan Peabody and Riley Parmenter will be expected to take even bigger roles.
“We like our front seven,” Hathaway said. “We moved Riley Parmenter to linebacker. That will be a little bit of an adjustment for him but I think it will make us pretty stout up front.”
Renewed rivalries with Gardiner and Morse, two major foes from Leavitt’s Eastern B era, will make it seem like old times around Libby Field. So would a return to contention for the Hornets.