Coach: Walter Polky (fourth year)

Conference: South Class: C

Last year’s record: 8-2, lost in Class C West semifinals

Returning players: Seniors — Andrew Darling (RB/DB), Stephen Sylvester (T/DT), James Ouellette (LB/TE), Sebastian Lombardi (G/LB), Ethan Dow (OL/DL), Chad Richards (C/DT), Tom Young (OL/DL); Junior — Dillon Webster (RB/SS), Caulin Parker (QB/FS).

Key losses: Peter Theriault (QB/SS), Deonte Ring (WR/DB), Matt Vigue (HB/DB), Dylan Smith (T/DT), Anthony York (G/DE), Luke Greenwood (C/DE), Denton Bilodeau (G/DE), Austin Darling (WR/DB).

Promising newcomer: Senior — Austin Henault (slot/FS).

Season outlook: For the first time, Polky enters a season without his big three of Vigue, Ring and Theriault, all of whom shone for three seasons and represented Spruce Mountain at the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl. The coach still expects the Phoenix to be explosive on offense, and with good reason. Darling takes over cousin Vigue’s role as the playmaker, with Webster ready for a starring role after seeing substantial carries as a sophomore. Lombardi and Richards lead an offensive line that graduated four starters. Parker takes over at QB and knows the system well. Ouellette could be the league’s top linebacker, and the Phoenix will try to use his blocking ability on offense, as well. Henault, who played his freshman year before transferring, returns and could make a major impact. Spruce Mountain maintains its rivalry game with Leavitt but won’t have to deal with the Hornets at playoff time, because they have moved back up to Class B. Yarmouth, Wells, Mountain Valley, Cape Elizabeth and Poland will be Spruce’s primary competition in a balanced C South race.

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