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Falcon football preview
RUMFORD -- The Mountain Valley football team might have a different look. However, the ultimate goal remains the same and that is for every player to extend their best effort on every play.
The Falcons return several veterans, but the current group realizes this is a new year and they will need to strike a new identity. The program is two years removed from the Class B state championship and last fall reached the regional championship game. A road trip to Wells ended in a 10-0 loss to the eventual state champion Warriors to finish 9-2.
"We hope to hold the fort through the first three weeks,” said coach Jim Aylward, regarding the Falcons' outlook. The team travels to Westbrook, hosts Marshwood and then plays Spruce Mountain.
The senior l(etter Winners will be the nucleus, including Ryan Nicols QB/DB), Matt Hosie (HB/DE), Colin Merrill (HB/LB), Jacob Theriault (HB/DB), Scott Nicols (OL/LB), Ryan Stickney (OL/DE), Santos Rodriguez (OL/DL), Tyler Smith (HB/LB), Dylan Akers (E/LB), Brooke Dolloff (OL/DL), Aaron Benson (OL/LB).
"The league as a whole is up, and some tough games face us right off," said Aylward. We won't have all hands on deck immediately, but if we stay healthy and apply ourselves, who knows."
The Falcons graduated quality players two-way standouts: Izaak Mills (O back, outside backer), Ryan Glover (guard/LB), Taylor Carey (D line), Nate Nichols (O line), Devon Hamel and Bubby White.
MV has several top other returnees who will each have an opportunity to contribute. Ryan Nicols is the new signal caller, replacing Zach Radcliffe, who will need to be a dependable decision-maker under center. The backfield will have versatility with Hosie, Merrill, Theriault; who will continue the Falcons' tradition of physical ball carriers.
Some promising Prospects include seniors Dominic Haines (QB/DB), Ben Plourde (OL/DL) and Zach Marston (OL/DL); juniors Brett Beauchesne (HB/DB), Tom Thibeau (E/DE) and Brandon Roberts (OL/DL); sophomores Josh Mason (HB/LB), Caleb Gauvin (E/DE), Zach Gonzales (OL/DE) and freshman Alan Carrier (OL/DL).
"Fifty-four players is a good start, but depth development is the key," said Aylward. "We want 25 players varsity ready, and we have work to do."
Look for the offensive line to be a force, led by Ryan Stickney and Scott Nicols. Theriault and Ryan Nicols must blanket the secondary.
The coaches were able to better evaluate players during scrimmages against Dirigo and Lisbon.
"We like to think we will be tougher to beat in November, but we have to get there first," said Aylward, issuing the challenge.