Coach: Jim Aylward (second year)

Conference: North Class: B

Last year’s record: 4-5, lost in Class B East quarterfinals

Returning players: Seniors — Ryan Pratt (QB), Nate Pratt-Holt (WR/DB), Alex Gilbert (RB/DB), Will Gunter (T/DT), Isaac Collins (TE/DE), Zach Meader (FB/LB), Christian Whitney (RB/DB), Cody Gould (G); Junior — Caleb Hall (FB/LB), Brandon Durrell (G/DT).

Key losses: Anthony Franchetti (C/LB/K), J.T. Williams (HB/LB), Cody Vining (T/DT), Bubba Harris (DT), Hunter True (OL/DL).

Promising newcomer: Junior — Levi Libby (LB).

Season outlook: Mt. Blue suits up 20 seniors, and many of them saw substantial time in Aylward’s first season. Pratt-Holt is one of the best athletes in Maine, a state champion jumper in track and field, and will be Pratt’s primary target. The Cougars also will redouble their efforts to get the ball into Whitney’s hands. Gunter, Gould and Durrell lead a line that gained experience when multiple starters were lost due to injury a year ago. Mt. Blue has the personnel to play the ground-and-pound game that won Aylward’s Mountain Valley teams four state titles, and the coach said that his goal is to shorten as many games as he can. That suggests that defense is his primary concern, although Whitney and Pratt-Holt give the Cougars the framework for a great secondary. They’ll need to rebuild the linebacking corps. The PTC is loaded at the top, as always, but Mt. Blue has the ingredients to make a run.

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