How do you replace two players who totaled 99 touchdowns, 8,908 yards and two state championships in their careers?

“We’ve got to get everyone to buy into the team concept,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “It’s we not me. We’re a team and there’s no real individuals, there’s no superstars.”

Alex Mace and Kyle Flaherty certainly played the role of superstars for the Raiders in the previous two seasons in leading Oak Hill to its second and third state football championships in school history. This, however, will be a new season with plenty of new faces for the Raiders, as Mace has moved on to Husson University and Flaherty to Bates College.

Fortunately for Oak Hill, Doucette says it may well by his deepest team in his four-year tenure with the Raiders.

“A lot of kids are going to see the field,” Doucette said. “There’s a lot of competition in practice every day.”

The Raiders have five different players vying to carry the ball this season, but not everything is in flux for the defending champs. Dalton Therrien returns as one of the Western D Campbell Conference’s top quarterbacks, while linebacker Levi Buteau will serve a similar role on defense.


Oak Hill also has the luxury of returning the majority of its offensive and defensive lines from a season ago, including Brendan Tervo, Connor Elwell, Garrett Gile, Austin Goucher, Gavin Chasse and Peter Flaherty.

Plenty of teams will be looking to knock off the Raiders, though, and one could be the team they beat 41-21 for the Class D championship last fall — Maine Central Institute. The Huskies entered the state game undefeated, and the focus throughout the offseason in Pittsfield has been on finishing the job.

“It’s been set since the end of last season, when we didn’t reach our goal, which is now the goal for this season,” senior quarterback Greg Vigue said.

Vigue is one of three first-team all-Little Ten Conference players returning to MCI’s offense. Fullback Alex Bertrand and guard Curtis McLeod are the others. Vigue threw for 863 yards and 11 touchdowns in the 2014 regular season. Bertrand, who is coming back from offseason knee surgery, ran for 388 yards and eight touchdowns. McLeod, tackle Mike Steeves and center Mike Westgate return to an offensive line that paved the way for the Huskies to average 430 yards per game.

Backs Willie Moss and Eli Bussell became starters when injuries hit MCI’s backfield last season. Both return and are ready for more carries. The Huskies graduated Austin Tolman and Mitchell Hallee, who combined for nine touchdown catches in 2014. Receivers Brandon McKenna, Braden Monteyro and tight end Dillon Fitts will be keys to the passing game.

MCI’s defense is bolstered by the return of Bertrand at linebacker and McLeod and Fitts on the line. Fitts had six sacks last season while McLeod had three.


“Expectations are as high as they can get,” coach Tom Bertrand said. “We want to get to (the state championship) game again and finish the job. That’s our theme for this year, is finish.”

It’s not often a high school football team returns almost entirely intact, but that’s the case at Mount View. Last season, the Mustangs went 2-6 with a roster of mostly sophomores and juniors. Now, with a year of varsity experience, those players are ready to contend for an LTC playoff spot.

“We’re deep. I’ve never had this,” Mount View coach Haggie Pratt said. “We’ve got a lot of kids who have improved a lot.”

Tyler Ripley and Jack Axsom lead the Mustangs backfield, while quarterback Cole Hannan returns to lead the offense. Gavin Simpson, Devon Davis, Laz Littlefield and Colby Furrow are other players Pratt expects to contribute.

Ethan Sewell-Berry is back at guard to lead the offensive line, which also returns guard Casey Spauling, tackles Owen Cunningham and Colton Medina, and center Alex Sobey.

Defense is where Mount View will find its success, Pratt said.


“This is going to be what determines our season,” he said. “We didn’t tackle well. We didn’t read well. If we can improve our game on defense, we can be competitive.”

Sewell-Berry and Axsom, the team’s leading tacklers last season, return at linebacker.

In Western D Campbell Conference, other teams will look to emerge, including Winthrop/Monmouth.

“Last year we had three or four guys in the league that could dominate,” second-year Winthrop/Monmouth coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “This year it’s more of a team aspect for the different teams and there’s some good balance there. There are four or five teams that any one of them could take it and win the whole thing.”

St. Hilaire is hoping that his team, with a strong core of returners that better understand his version of the Wing-T offense, could be one of them. The Ramblers graduated four of their top players from a season ago but return the majority of its roster, including quarterback Matt Ingram, Alec Brown, Bennett Brooks, Dustin Tripp, Brendon Dunn, Andrew Pazdziorko and Ben Ames,

“I think we’re contenders,” Ingram said. “We all know the offense a lot better. Some of these older kids have gone on, so I’m one of the older kids now and I’m more confident.”


Much like Winthrop/Monmouth, Maranacook also lost only a few seniors from last season’s team and figures to be ready for a step in the right direction. Seniors Kyle Morand, Zach Lacasse, Ty Smith and Dillan Chicoine each had strong offseasons and figure to be key players for the Black Bears this season. Senior running back Jake Gibson, who was lost for the year due to injury in the second game last season, returns as well.

“I think we’ll do considerably better this year,” Maranacook coach Joe Emery said. “We have some sophomores and juniors that came up who have improved quite a bit.”

Traditional powers Lisbon and Dirigo also figure to be on the list of contenders this season.

Tyler Halls, who saw time at quarterback at the end of last season after Kyle Bourget went down with injury, takes over full time under center for the Greyhounds and is a potential conference player of the year candidate. The left-hander has the arm strength to beat teams through the air but also the speed to break containment on the outside.

Dirigo graduated all-league linebacker/running back Tyler Frost and fellow running back Kaine Hutchins, but should be in the mix once again with quarterback Riley Robinson back for his senior season. Traip could also be a team that surprises some teams this fall.


It was a rough year for Kents Hill last fall, as it went 0-8 in the Evergreen League. The Huskies will look to rebound behind the play of senior running backs Trevor Guity and Ben Storey, as well as Manchester’s Luke Arseanult, a 6-foot-5 wide receiver and defensive back.

Kents Hill head coach Steve Shukie also said he is still waiting on commitments from potential post graduate players.

“A lot of new faces this year, especially on the line,” Shukie said. “We have to find a quarterback. It could be Guity or Storey, but we have a junior from Quebec with some QB experience transferring in and a local freshman that we are high on but is only a freshman.”

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