Gray-New Gloucester’s Gabriel Gendreau stiff-arms Poland’s Isaiah Hill in Poland last October. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Last season served as a new beginning for the Patriots with the hiring of Brian Jahna as head coach, and while it didn’t translate in the win column, the change did infuse more interest and enthusiasm in the program.

Jahna has emphasized making football fun again, and the transition to eight-man football adds more momentum and optimism going into this season.

A summer spent laying the groundwork on the rules and nuances of the eight-man game should help them hit the ground running and, at the least, be in position to win more games.

Danny Stash steps in at quarterback after being sidelined by injury last year and is one of a number of athletes who could thrive in the extra space that comes with eight-man.

Three of the Patriots’ first four games are at home, with a long road trip to Ellsworth sandwiched in between. A strong start could propel them into the large-school division’s playoffs.

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