DIRIGO COUGARS
Coach: Craig Collins (second year)
Class: 8-man Small; Region: South
2019 record: 0-8 (switched to JV)
Returning athletes: Seniors — Curtis Errington (RB/LB), Lucas Micks (Guard/DE); Juniors — Bode Gray (TE/LB), Charlie Houghton (QB/FS), Gavin Micks (Slot/SS).
Key losses: Cole Brown, Dallas Brown, Chase Nelson
Promising newcomers: Juniors — Trent Holman (WR/QB/DB), Trenton Hutchinson (WR/FS), Dylan Packard (WR/CB); Sophomores — Isaiah Bradeen (Guard/DE), Logan Timberlake (Center/Nose).
What to expect: Dirigo enters 2021 with a young team that includes only two seniors on the roster. It’s the Cougars’ first year of eight-man football, and they will have to traverse a tough small-school South division while trying to fill the shoes of Cole Brown, Dallas Brown and Chase Nelson. Curtis Errington returns at running back and linebacker, while fellow senior Lucas Micks will play both sides of the line for Dirigo. Charlie Houghton, a junior, returns in the quarterback role. “Our goal is to get better each day,” coach Craig Collins said.

GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER PATRIOTS
Coach: Brian Jahna (fourth year)
Class: 8-man Large; Region: South
2019 record: 1-7
Returning athletes: Senior — Corey DiTomaso (RB/LB); Juniors — Mikey Ryan (QB/DB), Miles Post (RB/LB), Jason Hart (OL/DL).
Promising newcomers: Sophomores — Brady Castrucci (RB/DB), Nick Geer (TE/DL), Ben Powell (WR/DB).
What to expect: The Patriots are playing their second season of eight-man football after earning one win in 2019. They didn’t lose any players from their 2020 flag football season, so they return this year with experience together. Jahna said the team has low numbers but “works hard, loves to learn and are great teammates.” Jahna hopes to get better with each practice and will focus on health and injury prevention. He said this year’s core group “will build a foundation for the program.”

MOUNTAIN VALLEY FALCONS
Coach: Devin Roberts (third year)
Class: 8-man Small; Region: South
2019 record: 3-5
Returning athletes: Robert Leveillee (RB/DB), Grant Carrier (RB/DB), Jonah Byam (TE/DE), Tresdon Mills (DT), Gabe Winson (DT), Airick Richard (QB/WR/DB).
Key losses: Anthony Mazza, Ethan Casey, Kyler Heinzen.
Promising newcomers: Will Gallant (WR/DB), Owen Gaudett (OL/DL), Kaden Paaso (RB/LB), Jyrmall Yates (QB/WR/DB).
What to expect: Mountain Valley is jumping into the eight-man ranks this season for the first time. While the coaching staff and players were skeptical at first, they’re on board now and are excited to be playing football, according to Roberts. The Falcons will rely on their speed, not size, this season, which they think can be a benefit in the eight-man style of football. Running backs Robert Leveillee and Grant Carrier lead a pack of returning players ready to help Mountain Valley vie for a playoff berth.

SPRUCE MOUNTAIN PHOENIX
Coach: David Frey (sixth year)
Class: 8-man Small; Region: South
2019 record: 5-3
Returning athletes: Seniors — Camden Phillips (QB/E), Ethan Castonguay (RB/CB), TJ Espeaignnette (WR/E), Owen Dow (RB/LB), Evan Hamblin (C/LB); Juniors — Reece Davis (RB/LB), Jayden Perreault (QB/LB), Elie Timler (WR/S), Garret Hunt (G/NG), Xander Reichenbach (G/E).
Key losses: Brandon Frey, Jack Bryant, Bryson Bailey, Brandon Coates, Connor Beaulieu, Evan Dow.
Promising newcomers: Seniors — Isaac Parker (RB/CB), Keegan Turner (WR/CB); Sophomores — Brandon Wilson (G/DE), Brody Souther (RB/LB), Peyton Medrano (WR/CB); Freshman — Max Lebonte (RB/S).
What to expect: Spruce Mountain is also entering its first year of eight-man football, and Frey is traversing the new style on his own, as the team has no assistant coaches this season. Regardless, Frey is optimistic about the team this season. The Phoenix are experienced, with a large group of seniors ready to lead the team. Spruce Mountain also hopes to use its run game more as it adjusts its spread offense into something more conducive to the thinner field. “Spruce will be very competitive,” Frey said.

TELSTAR REBELS
Coach: Tim O’Connor (eighth year)
Class: 8-man Small; Region: South
2019 record: 3-5
Returning athletes: Evan Leach, Andrew Leighton, Matt Dillon, Myles Lilly, Braydon Stevens.
Key loss: Davin Mason.
Promising newcomers: Gavinn Martin, Cruse Kimball, Camron Palmer, Will Doyle.
What to expect: Telstar coach Tim O’Connor said his team is getting better every week as they lose only Davin Mason from last year’s team. The Rebels will enter their second year in eight-man football with many returning starters. 

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