Here are five players to watch in the Maine Class B North football ranks during the 2016 season that begins Friday.
Trey Wood, running back-linebacker, Brewer: The son of a former University of Maine fullback shifts from fullback to halfback offensively this fall and figures to be a key component of the Witches’ ground-and-pound offense. The rugged senior also is a returning first-team All-Class B North linebacker who is expected to anchor the Witches’ defense again this fall.
Garrett McSweeney, quarterback-defensive back, Skowhegan: The senior is considered one of the state’s top quarterbacks after passing for more than 2,000 yards while guiding the Indians to the No. 2 seed in last year’s divisional standings and a berth in the regional semifinals. McSweeney also is a capable rusher from behind center and a playmaker in the secondary.
Jesse Devereaux, running back-linebacker, Brunswick: The Dragons have several candidates under the “players to watch” category, but this senior is capable of game-breaking plays such as his 83-yard touchdown run during the Dragons’ win over Brewer in the 2015 Class B North final. Devereaux finished that game with 180 rushing yards, and is expected to be a key contributor on both sides of the ball for the two-time defending regional champs again this fall.
Taylor Heath, quarterback, Cony: The junior signal-caller ranked among the Class B North leaders in passing yardage and touchdown passes out of Cony’s spread offense in 2015. His performance helped coach B.L. Lippert’s Rams advance to the playoffs, and similar production is expected this fall in coordination with a receiving corps that includes returning veteran Jordan Roddy.
Austin Lufkin, two-way lineman, Brewer: This senior is as adept at moving opposing linemen out of the way as he is at throwing the shot put, where Lufkin is the reigning New England high school champion. He uses that strength both to create lanes for Brewer’s running backs and as a disruptive force on the front line of Brewer’s defense, either stuffing the run or sacking the quarterback.