Coach: Jim Hersom (second year)

Conference: South Class: D

Last year’s record: 7-2, lost in Class D West semifinals

Returning players: Seniors — Gavin Arsenault (RB/WR/DB), Riley Robinson (QB/CB), Mike Casey (RB/LB), Bennett Dorion (G/DT); Juniors — Bryce Whittemore (G/LB), Vincent Hebert (FB/DE), Lucas McDonald (NG); Sophomore — Dalton Berry (C).

Key losses: Tyler Frost (FB/LB), Kaine Hutchins (HB/SS), Joe Casey (RB/LB), Matt Irish (G), Clay Swett (TE/DE).

Promising newcomers: Seniors — Gus Brown (WR/DB), David Merrill (G/DT); Sophomore — Cooper Chiasson (RB).

Season outlook: Dirigo and its opponents will prepare a lot differently for this season without the 235-pound Frost’s dominant presence on both sides of the ball. The Cougars still have plenty of talent, however, and you can expect them to show more balance this fall. Arsenault may see more time in the backfield as Hersom tries to take advantage of his talent. Robinson, a three-year starter at QB, is bigger, stronger and more determined entering his senior campaign. Dorion and Whittemore anchor a line that is still young but received significant on-the-job training a year ago. Dirigo’s defense and special teams will be gritty as ever. Oak Hill, Winthrop/Monmouth, Lisbon and Maranacook rate most of the preseason plaudits in Class D South, but anyone who counts out the Cougars hasn’t been paying attention.

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