Coach: Mike Vance (fifth year, 20-19 overall record)
2020 results: No season
2019 record: 5-5 (Lost, 28-14, to Kennebunk in Class B South semifinals)
Top returning players: Brett Bogosian (Senior), Marshall Fowler (Senior), Orion Guibord (Senior), Sam Merrill (Senior), Braden Smith (Senior), Richie Tremble (Senior), Rilan Smith (Junior)
Pivotal games: Sept. 4 YARMOUTH, Oct. 1 @ Mt. Ararat
Coach’s comment: “It’s good to be back. You can see the joy in the kids’ faces. We’re looking forward to eight-man, but it will be a learning experience. Our numbers are very good. It’s a big bump from last year. We have a big freshman class and a slew of new kids. We don’t set goals for wins. We simply want to get better and want to live up to the philosophy of the program, ‘Excellence with Integrity.’ If we do that, the wins will take care of themselves.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: After missing out on a season a year ago due to the pandemic, Cheverus begins a new era this fall, as the program that dominated Class A less than a decade ago is now part of the ever-growing eight-man football ranks. The Stags are well equipped to make an immediate splash as they boast some standout athletes who are eager to return the program to excellence.
Offensively, Cheverus features Tremble at quarterback. Fowler, a captain, will see plenty of action at running back, as will Guibord and Rilan Smith. Bogosian could be a top receiver. On the line, look for captains Merrill and Braden Smith to set a bruising tone. The Stags won’t have trouble moving the ball or scoring points.
Defensively, Cheverus should be strong as well. Merrill and Braden Smith will be on the line. Fowler, Guibord and Rilan Smith are top linebackers. Bogosian and Tremble will create havoc in the secondary.
There are a lot of unknowns as the Stags prepare to take on programs they’ve never seen before on the gridiron, but one certainty is that this team has a lot of talent, pride and hunger. That should all add up to a very successful season. Perhaps even one that ends with a trip to the big stage.
Coach: Bill LeBlanc (10th year, 68-52-14 overall record)
2020 results: 2-8 (no postseason)
2019 record: 5-6-4 (Lost, 2-1, to Westbrook in Class A South preliminary round)
Top returning players: Liam Fedirizzi (Senior), Brady Hoglund (Senior), Kyle Lamberson (Senior), Emmet Schuele (Senior), Odan Strock (Senior)
Pivotal games: Sept. 3 SOUTH PORTLAND, Sept. 8 @ Portland, Sept. 16 GORHAM, Sept. 22 DEERING, Sept. 25 @ Falmouth, Oct. 19 SCARBOROUGH
Coach’s comment: “I think this is my second-most talented team, after 2011. We have great senior leadership and good juniors and sophomores. We’ll be strong in the midfield. We might start slowly, but we’re always better in October than in September. We should be very competitive. I think we have a strong shot at it.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: LeBlanc has coached his share of talented squads, but he’s very high on this edition. And for good reason, as the pieces are place to do special things.
The Stags return Hoglund, who figures to dominate in the middle of the field and can also finish when the opportunity presents itself. Fedirizzi is also in the midfield. Schuele will see time in the midfield and up top, while Lamberson is a midfielder who can also drop back and play defense. Strock is another defender of note. Junior Wyatt Roy, a transfer from Falmouth, is taking over in goal and LeBlanc believes he’ll excel.
Class A South has no shortage of tough teams and Cheverus will stumble at times, but this squad won’t concede many goals and will find a way to consistently put the ball in the net. It should set up a chance for a deep playoff run and it’s likely the Stags will be one of the last squads standing.
Coach: Craig Roberts (ninth year, 76-37-8 overall record)
2020 results: 8-1-1 (no postseason)
2019 record: 16-1 (Lost, 2-1, to Scarborough in Class A South Final)
Top returning players: Olivia Bradford (Senior), Haley Jordan (Senior), Julia Kratzer (Senior), Caden Smith (Senior)
Pivotal games: Sept. 7 PORTLAND, Sept. 16 @ Gorham, Sept. 23 FALMOUTH, Oct. 5 @ Windham, Oct. 12 @ TA, Oct. 19 @ Scarborough
Coach’s comment: “We have seven girls returning who played some varsity minutes last year, but we’re inexperienced. Three freshmen have come in and are contributing. We have a bunch of players whose first sport is soccer. There are no easy games, but we’ll be hard to play against. We want to maintain our culture of playing for each other. There’s tons of work to be done, but we hope to be in the mix again. It would be nice to take that final step to a state final.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus has come agonizing close to the state game in recent years, never closer than a one-goal loss to Scarborough in the regional final two years ago. Last fall, the Stags remained very strong, but couldn’t take part in the postseason because of the pandemic. This season, look for Cheverus to again be among the very best teams in the league.
Kratzer has had many moments of greatness in her career and is poised to be one of the top players in Class A South. She’ll see time in the midfield and up top. Bradford plays forward, while Smith is in the midfield. Junior Caoilinn Durkin, a transfer from California, will make an immediate impact on the offense from either midfield or up top. Jordan will anchor the defense from her center-back position. Senior Emily Bontatibus and sophomore Brynne McKenney were vying for the goalkeeping position at press time. Three freshmen bring promise that the future is bright. Annie Vigue will play forward, Jillian Foley can play forward or in the midfield and Finley Brown will see time on both offense and defense.
The Stags should produce consistent offense and the defense figures to be stingy. Cheverus has reason to believe it can go toe-to-toe with the league’s elite and perhaps this fall, the ball will bounce its way on the biggest stage.
Coach: Theresa Hendrix (third year, 14-5-3 overall record)
2020 results: 7-1 (no postseason)
2019 record: 7-4-3 (Lost, 4-3, to Westbrook in Class A South quarterfinals)
Top returning players: Norah Slattery (Senior), Taylor Tory (Junior), Lily Johnson (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: Sept. 8 BIDDEFORD, Sept. 16 SCARBOROUGH, Oct. 6 @ Gorham, Oct. 8 SOUTH PORTLAND, Oct. 14 @ Massabesic
Coach’s comment: “With some very talented opponents, every game is going to be important. We have a new look to the team this year after losing a handful of starters. This group has been special though, playing as a team, playing for the team, working hard and staying positive. If we can continue to build the team chemistry and culture, it will be a special season. With a group of young talented players, led by upperclassman skill and leadership, we will be high-level competitors.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus was one of the best teams around last fall, but didn’t get to make a deep playoff run with no postseason being held. This year’s squad, despite having holes to fill, is primed to once again be on the short list of top contenders.
The Stags will score their share of goals, as Johnson, who had a strong freshman season, and Tory lead the way. Slattery is a top midfielder. New junior Elle Picard and freshman Lucy Johnson are key additions to the squad. Junior Logan Lefevre will be in goal this fall.
Cheverus faces traditional powers Biddeford and Scarborough early and will get an idea just where it stands. Regardless of how the Stags look in September, they’ll be a different, improved squad by mid-October and will have the pieces in place to make noise in the playoffs once again.
Coach: Andy Wimmer (third year)
2020 results: No season
2019 record: 8-7 (Lost, 3-2, to Marshwood in Class A state preliminary round)
Top returning players: Zoe Baker (Senior), Sarah Earley (Senior), Ainsley Gray (Senior), Ava Nickerson (Senior), Julia Olsen (Senior), Sophia Thees (Senior)
Pivotal matches: Sept. 8 FALMOUTH, Sept. 10 @ Scarborough, Sept. 21 YARMOUTH, Sept. 23 @ Biddeford, Oct. 7 @ Deering
Coach’s comment: “We have everything we need to win. There is a strong core of leadership surrounded by solid underclassmen. Despite a clear stand-out player, across the board, we’re balanced and experienced and can beat anyone on any given day.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus has been a playoff regular in its short varsity history and this year’s squad has the pieces in place to boast a winning record and perhaps make some noise in the postseason.
Nickerson leads the offense from her setter position. She’s also a top defender and has a terrific serve. Olsen will also see time at setter, as well as libero. Baker is the team’s top hitter and will cause matchup nightmares. Gray is also on the outside, while Earley will see time on the outside and at libero. Thees is a defensive specialist. Look for junior outside hitter Ella Kennedy and sophomore middle blocker Emma Lizotte to play big roles as well.
The Stags will get to measure themselves against the state’s top programs and they believe they’ll be competitive with anyone. This could be the year that Cheverus takes another step up the ladder.
Coach: Nick Denari (first year)
2020 results: No postseason meet
(Boys) DNQ for state meet (14th @ regionals)
(Girls) 13th @ Class A state meet
Top returning runners:
(Boys) Jesse Cadigan (Senior), Ryan Flaherty (Senior), Danny McCartney (Sophomore), Evan Roy (Sophomore), Griffin Vivian (Sophomore)
(Girls) Mandy Ho (Senior), Grace Turner (Senior), Leska Whitmarsh (Senior), Annabelle Brooks (Junior), Aysel Hamlin (Junior), Bo Miller (Sophomore)
Coach’s comment: “We look for Jesse to compete for a top 15 spot at the boys’ state championships. In the team race, we have our eyes set on a top nine finish at the South regional to advance as a team to states. We have a small girls’ team, but look to be very competitive this fall. Annabelle should be a contender for a top five spot at states, with Grace and Leska not too far behind. If all goes right, we hope to turn in a top five finish as a team at the state championships.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus has some of the top runners in the state leading the way this fall and if solid packs can fall into place, both squads will be state meet-bound.
The girls’ team features Brooks, who was sixth at last fall’s state qualifier (the state meet was cancelled by a COVID surge). She could move up this season. Turner (15th last year) and Whitmarsh (25th) are captains who will post strong results. Hamlin, Ho and Miller will look to move up the ranks. Senior Samantha Heinzman is a top newcomer. She’s a veteran of indoor and outdoor track, but is new to cross country. Freshmen Mary Herman and Sophie Stultz will also contribute. A trip to states is a realistic goal for this group.
The boys’ team returns Cadigan, who was 11th last season at the qualifier. He’ll be the Stags top runner again. Also returning are Roy (58th a year ago), Flaherty (61st), McCartney (62nd) and Vivian (63rd). That’s a strong nucleus. Sophomores Owen Cook and Ambrose McCullough move up from junior varsity, while senior Jack Williams comes over from soccer and freshman Cash Kellen shows promise. If all goes well, Cheverus will qualify for states for the first time since 2014.
Coach: Billy Goodman (third year)
2020 results: (DNQ for Class A state match)
Top returners: Anthony Cloutier (Senior), Will Haley (Senior)
Coach’s comment: “We graduated nine from last year. We have a bunch of guys fighting for spots. We want to be competitive and we want to build. We’re in the toughest division in the state, so we want to get in the last qualifying spot for states. That’s our goal for the season.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus was hard hit by graduation, but still should be able to be competitive against a tough schedule.
Cloutier scored as an individual at last year’s Class A state match, shooting a 92. He’ll look to do even better this season. Haley is another veteran. Freshman Liam Cloutier could step right in and make an impact. Keep an eye also on new junior Colin Hines, who could be one of the top spots. If a few other unproven players come around, the Stags will win some regular season matches and make an impact at the state level.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.