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Cougar football preview
DIXFIELD -- What transpired last fall was extremely rewarding. However, the Dirigo football team is focused on the present situation.
The new-look Cougars have a new cast of players who are determined to develop their own identity.
Dirigo will unveil its new look in a regular season opening game against Freeport, under the new lights on September 2.
It will also be the debut of new head coach Dave Crutchfield, who was elevated after Doug Gilbert retired. The performances will be the result of hard work and sweat that was emphasized throughout the two weeks of preseason practices.
“Preseason has been about conditioning,” said Crutchfield. “We running same offense, so the older kids are familiarizing themselves again and teaching the new kids.”
Senior Ben Holmes returns for a second season as quarterback and the growth will be an asset. The passing game will need to consistent with receivers Nelson Pepin, Spencer Trenoweth, Reilley Lombardi and Justin Jasper. There has to be a balance and the running game will be key with seniors Bryan Blackman, Caleb Hall and fullback Jake Dowland. Nick Young and soph. Justin Dowland both have seen action.
The offensive line returns veterans who will be counted on for opening holes. Guards Chad Cormier and Thomas Barnett, and junior tackles Zach White and Cliff Boyton have experience.
"We’re young on the line and don’t have a lot of size, but I think we make up for that with heart. We’ll need everyone on the same page and hard work,” said Crutchfield.
Senior Doug Swan will anchor the defensive line.
The team will be athletic and have plenty of speed, which will be essential and this years freshmen class has a lot of talent
Key loses include Spencer Ross at back, Arik Fenstermacher at guard, Jake Weston at center, Mike Smith at receiver and Jon Calden at tackle.
Dirigo can’t afford to take anything for granted because the Campbell Conference is very competitive, including Winslow, Poland, and Telstar, who are new to the league.
“Winslow has a lot of winning tradition and will be tough,” said Crutchfield. “Poland was in a lot of games last year in Class B, they were up and coming in B, so look out for them in C. Telstar is the unknown. They’ve had a program for a while and won’t be a push over.”
Freeport is huge and jelling and Maranacook should be a top team.