Coach: Doug Gilbert (fifth year)

Last year’s record: 12-0, Class C champions

Returning players: Seniors — Arik Fenstermacher (T/LB), Spencer Ross (RB/S), Jacob Weston (C/DT), Bryan Blackman (RB/DB); Juniors — Jake Dowland (G/LB), Chad Cormier (G).

Key losses: Nic Crutchfield (QB/DB), Alex Miele (WR/DB), Kyle Hutchinson (TE/DE), Tyler Chiasson (RB/DE), David Guildford (G/DE), Mason Cote (G/LB), Eric Bolduc (K), Brodie Thompson (C).

Promising newcomers: Junior — Ben Holmes (QB); Sophomores — Justin Dowland (HB/LB), Thomas Barnett (T/DT), Zach White (T/DT), Nick Young (HB), Spencer Trenoweth (WR), Nelson Pepin (TE); Freshman — Heath Hersom (QB/CB).

Outlook: Dirigo won its first football championship since the 1970s in resounding fashion, winning every game by at least two touchdowns. Crutchfield was a finalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy. But it’s a new year, and 22 of the 33 players on Dirigo’s 2010 roster are freshmen or sophomores. Ross remains one of the most electrifying players in the state. Expect him to log a lion’s share of the carries without Blackman, who is out indefinitely with an Achilles injury. Holmes was impressive during the summer 7-on-7 season. Fenstermacher and Dowland are standouts on both sides of the ball. There’s enough talent remaining for the Cougars to make a late-season run if the youngsters continue to develop.

Coach’s comment: “We’ll surprise some people. We have a lot of speed.” — Coach Doug Gilbert

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