Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway has a suggestion for fans attending a Pine Tree Conference Class B tilt this season who might have a hard time following the ball:

Look up.

“We’re looking at eight or nine pretty good QBs, so every week, the passing game is going to be a pretty huge factor. And they’re all double-threats (to pass and run), too,” said Hathaway. “It’s going to be tough on defenses this year.”

Ironically, Hathaway’s Hornets are one of the few teams that lost their starting signal-caller from last year to graduation. Tyler Angell was one of the top double-threats in the state while leading Leavitt to an 8-2 record. Junior Evan Barker, his backup, did see limited action last year, completing 14 of 16 passes for 165 yards and three TDs. He has one advantage Angell never enjoyed, though.

“He’s the first quarterback I’ve had who’s run our offense since his freshman year,” Hathaway said. “He’s got an accurate arm, he runs the option well, and he’s smart.”

He’s also got a massive offensive line to protect him, led by a pair of 265-pound seniors, tackle Josh Levesque and guard Shawn Atkinson. They’ll also be paving the way for tailback Tyler Green, who averaged more than six yards a carry as a freshman.

Hathaway lost nine all-conference players to graduation, but he thinks his team’s depth, especially at the offensive skill positions and along the defensive front, can wear out a lot of opponents.

Winslow, by contrast, has much of its all-conference talent back. QB Stephen Siviski, who tossed a league-high 10 TD passes last season, and speedy running back Justin Lindie, a constant breakaway threat who averaged more than 27 yards per punt return, form the PTC’s best backfield duo.

All too often in recent history, the Black Raiders have stood in the way of Oak Hill’s hopes of advancing deep into the playoffs. Coach Bruce Nicholas said one of his team’s goals is to move up in the playoff seedings and avoid playing Winslow in the first round for the third time in four years.

For that to happen, the Raiders will need a number of young contributors to step up. QB Josh Jillson is just one of seven seniors on the squad. The strong-armed southpaw has a year-and-a-half of varsity experience to draw upon.

There will be few familiar faces surrounding him, including fellow senior Joey Gilbert, junior fullback Nick Brown and linemen Matt Charrette and Richard Crocker.

“We’re big and strong up front, but raw, and some of the younger kids might have to step up in the backfield,” Nicholas said.

One of the older kids that Nicholas hopes steps up in the backfield is senior Adam Tremblay. The 6-1, 170-pound running back hasn’t played since he was a freshman, but according to the coach, has the strength and quickness to be one of the top backs in the league if he can overcome a groin pull suffered in preseason.

Belfast boasts an emerging running back of its own in Travis Lee and should battle for a playoff spot. Gardiner, led by junior QB Kyle Stilphen, a three-year starter, should rebound from a disappointing (4-4) PTC debut. Morse and Hampden Academy could vie for playoff spots and the distinction of being the league’s most improved team, while a pair of other potential contenders will have to overcome some key off-season losses. Defending state champion Brewer lost its entire starting backfield to graduation, while Waterville lost talented QB Dan Hussey, who transferred out of state.

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