1. CATHOLIC MEMORIAL (9-3): Knights made the Super Bowl in John DiBiaso’s first year at the helm and they are looking to take the final step. The offense returns seven starters including linemen Zachary Goodwin, Quincy Plumer and Rory Conneely, quarterback Barrett Pratt, running backs Darrius LeClair as well as wide receivers Danny Lopes and Zack Mitchell. The defense will be anchored by linebackers Owen McGowab and Quincy Eutsay as well as defensive backs Will Stockwell and Jamall Griffin Jr. Kicker Matt Sokol is a legitimate threat for Catholic Memorial.
2. EVERETT (10-1): Crimson Tide saw their title defense go up in smoke at the hands of Central Catholic in the Div. 1 North semifinals. The offense should be sound as quarterback Dillon Doherty, center John Molloy and wide receivers Ismael Zamor and Eli Auguste are back. On defense, Auguste and Baptiste are two of three defensive backs along with Samy Lamothe, while defensive end Josaiah Stewart and linebacker Trey Sejour started a season ago.
3. MANSFIELD (8-3): Hornets return a bevy of starters on both sides of the ball. T.J. Guy, Jake McCoy and Jason Comeau headline an experienced line, while the backfield is loaded with Vinnie Holmes, Nick Marciano, Cincere Gill and Mike DeBolt back. Guy, McCoy and Chris Graham anchor the defensive line, while Holmes, Marciano and DeBolt are excellent linebackers.
4. XAVERIAN (8-2): Hawks saw their run of Div. 1 South titles end at five, but they did win the Catholic Conference title. The offense returns quarterback Michael Berluti, wide receivers Connor Garland and Justin Wenstrom, running backs Thomas Garland and Michael Gordon as well as linemen Colin Howe, Rocco Basso and Liam Peck. Michael McGough and Sam Maloof are back on the defensive line, while Wenstrom is a top-notch defensive back.
5. ST. JOHN’S PREP (10-2): Defending Div. 1 Super Bowl champs will lean heavily on quarterback Matt Crowley as well as linemen Cooper Smith and Mason Davis, tight end Anthony Fahey and fullback Nick Masterson. The leaders on defense are defensive back Matt Duchemin, defensive end Collin Taylor and linebacker Tripp Clark.
6. NATICK (6-5): Redhawks went through some growing as they started nine sophomores. Seven starters return on offense including quarterback Will Lederman, running backs Jalyn Aponte and Terrance Cherry, wide receiver Nick Ofodile and linemen Josh Atwood, Jakobi Holiday, Luke Rador return. Atwood stars at nose tackle along with defensive backs Felix Ferrucci, Aidan Hawley, Avery Lemieux, linebackers Aedan Knowlton and Jake Dunlap and defensive linemen Adesotu Woghiren and Aidan Brogan.
7. DUXBURY (11-1): Dragons won the Div. 3 South title and return some quality skill position players led by wide receivers Will Prouty, Cam Reagan, Ryan Prudente and running back Tim Landolfi. Christian Fahey and Josh Peters are the leaders on the offensive line. The defense should be sound as Garrett Shackett, P.J. Mullin and McCain Dunlap are back upfront as well as defensive backs Jack Murphy, Seamus Jackson, Sam Heppenstall and Prouty. Brett Souza will handle the kicking chores.
8. CENTRAL CATHOLIC (8-3): Raiders should have one of the better offensive lines around with Michael Sader, Osamuyimen Osayimwen, Nick Mueller and George Cosme all having started last year. Ayden Pereira takes over at quarterback and he will be joined by running back Mark Kassis, wide receivers Nick Donatio and Nate Hebert along with tight end Jermaine Wiggins Jr. Donatio, Hebert and Kassis are back in the secondary, while Wiggins is a defensive end. Nick Mazzie has proved that he can kick under pressure, having nailed a game-winner against Everett in the playoffs.
9. NORTH ANDOVER (12-0): The Scarlet Knights ran the table on their way to a Div. 2 Super Bowl title. The running game should be fine as Freddy Gabin and Mike Difo are back along with linemen Tim Iannone and Jack Roche. Methuen transfer Ricky Brutus gives North Andover another weapon in the backfield. Will Schimmoeller and Peter Radulski will share quarterback duties. Defensive end Steven Ferullo is one of the better linemen in the Merrimack Valley Conference.
10. KING PHILIP (9-3): The Warriors narrowly missed in their quest for a third straight Div. 2 Super Bowl title. Standout running back Ryan Halliday is back along with quarterback Robert Jarest. Sean Piller, Nolan Gunning and Pat Zarba return to the offensive line. Halliday and Sam Callahan will be the defensive anchors from their linebacker position.
11. BARNSTABLE (6-5): The Red Raiders feel they are ready to make a move toward the top of Div. 2. They have quality players back on both sides of the ball keyed by linemen Declan Moriarty and Alex Saladino, tight end Colby Burke, running backs Luke Locasio and Brian Frieh along with wide receiver Jadaro France. Nick Wilson takes over at quarterback for All-Scholastic Matt Petercuskie. The defense is led by Burke, Moriarty and Thomas Our up front, Harry Lanman at linebacker and France and Locasio in the secondary.
12. BC HIGH (4-7): The Eagles are ready to prove that last year’s record was a fluke. The offense should be able to score some points as quarterback Bobby Wiesenhahn is back along with three quality wide receivers in Carter Rice, Aidan Sullivan and Jacob Perez as well as running back Brendan Cassamajor. Ozzy Trapilo leads the way from his tackle position. Cassamajor, Rice and James Mahoney return to the secondary along with defensive tackle Finn Duffey.
13. FRANKLIN (7-4): Panthers return eight starters from a defense which nearly knocked off Xaverian in the playoffs. Up front, Franklin features Dominic Natale, Austin Jordan and Luke Cunningham. Evan Wertx and Alex Honor are back at linebacker, along with defensive backs Jake Davis, Owen Palmieri and Jack Nally. Nally and Davis figure to be the top two receivers, while Palmieri is back at receiver. Tommy Gasbarro takes over at quarterback, while tackle Matthew Leofanti and tight end Matt Lazarek started a season ago.
14. TEWKSBURY (11-2): Redmen return standout wide receiver Shane Aylward, guard Robbie Kimtis and defensive tackle Mike Woodford from a team which played in the Div. 3 Super Bowl. Brian Aylward is looking for two-way linemen Dylan Chandler and Antonio Capelo and running backs Kyle Darrigo and Tyler Keough to step up.
15. LYNN ENGLISH (8-3): Bulldogs have the firepower to step up in a top-heavy Northeastern Conference. Mathias Fowler will shift over to quarterback and he’ll have Tahj Purter as a top target. Salem transfer Sam Ofurie will be a load in the backfield, while two-way linemen Ryan Dewan and Thomas Garylord return. Purter and Fowler are back in the secondary along with linebackers Anthony Timmons and Fenix Figueroa.
16. READING (8-3): Look for the Rockets to among the elite of the Middlesex League once again. The defense will be sound as linemen Chris Chiulli, John Brezenski and Dom DeCrescenzo are back with linebackers Dan DiMare, Colin Comerford, Colin DuRoss and defensive back Jeremy Rosh. The offense returns DeCrescenzo on the line and Patrick Harrigan and DuRoss at wide receiver. Freshman James Murphy will be the quarterback, while transfer Nick Bates will get the ball in the backfield.
17. MELROSE (7-4): The Red Raiders should be hunt along with Stoneham for the Middlesex Freedom title. Leading the way for Melrose are RB/WR Chris Cusolito, C/DE Jared Karelas, RB/LB Bill Pesce, WR Brendan Maher and WR/CB Sean Hebert. Jesse Gardner and Brendan Fennell will share the quarterback duties.
18. NORTH ATTLEBORO (8-3): Red Rocketeers will have plenty of size upfront with tackles Ethan Mottinger and John Kummer back along with tight end Ethan Friberg. Sophomore Tyler DeMattio will start at quarterback early on. Because of some injuries, the defense figures to carry the day early on as the defensive front of Mottinger, Kummer, Friberg, Montrell Jackson and Trevor Hewett are all quality linemen. Tommy O’Neil is the most experienced linebacker back.
19. SCITUATE (12-1): Sailors return 13 starters from a team which won the Div. 5 Super Bowl. All-Scholastic Will Sheskey ran for nearly 1,800 yards last season. Nate Gold, Garrett McKinnon and Keegan Sullivan return at wide receiver, Max Roche is the tight end and Aidan Reidy and Sam Doughty are experienced lineman. Baseball standout Matt Scibilio takes over at quarterback. Reidy and Sheskey are defensive ends, Gould and Roche return in the secondary, while Connor Rosen is a middle linebacker. Ben Startzell is a quality kicker.
20. DANVERS (8-3): Falcons return a host of players who earned a;;-Northeastern Conference honors last year. Tom Walfield, Russ Canova and Jack Strangie return at linebacker, while Andrew Chronis was one of the better defensive linemen in the NEC. Ezra Lombardi is back in the defensive secondary. Canova and Strangie are back at running back, while Walfield (center) and Chronis (TE) anchor the line.
21. HOLLISTON (9-1): The dreams of a Div. 5 Super Bowl title faded down the stretch against Scituate in the South final. Lots of speed back in the mix as QB Matt Arvanitis, running backs Dylan Ibbitson, wide receiver Mitch Gimblett and tight end Topher Ryan are back. Ibbitson (LB) and Gimblett (DB) will be the leaders on the defensive side of the ball.
22. BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM (3-7): Trojans are primed for improvement after a rare off-season under Dan Buron, who enters the season three wins away from 200. The line should be solid as Kyle Hess and Owen Balzarini are back at the tackles and Ryan McCallum returns at guard. Austin Hartsell takes over at quarterback, with Willie Lombard at tailback and Anthony Morrison at receiver. Balzarini and Hess head up the defensive line with John McMasters and Ryan Newman at linebacker and Morrison in the secondary.
23. STONEHAM (12-1): There’s no question what Bob Almeida likes to do – run the ball. The Spartans used that formula and it carried them to the Div. 6 Super Bowl. The backfield is loaded with Deshaun Chase, Chris Dragone and Seth Russell back running behind the likes of Michael Driscoll, Chris Belliveau and Peter Godfrey. Nick Brulport returns at defensive end.
24. HINGHAM (7-3): Mark Nutley takes over for Jim Connor and he didn’t find the cupboard bare. Duke-bound tight end Cole Finney is back along with running backs Zack Kelleher, Grady Harrington and Christian Julian. Owen O’Brien and Jake Becker give the Harbormen quality at the quarterback position. Nick Capodilupo is their most experienced lineman.
25. BEVERLY (6-5): Panthers have some real game-breaking players in UNH-bound wide receiver Duncan Moreland and running back Marje Mulumba. Jaichaun Jones is a solid complement to Mulumba in the backfield. Danny Morency is the quarterback, while Chris Curran and Braeden Pratt anchor the offensive line.