Sep 9, 2014 1:07 PM
Bow looking for repeat performance
North: Fall Mountain, Franklin, Gilford, Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough, Mascoma, Newfound, Newport and Stevens.
South: Bishop Brady, Bow, Campbell, Epping-Newmarket, Farmington-Nute, Raymond, Somersworth and Winnisquam.
Defending Champion: Bow defeated Stevens 20-6 in the Division III championship game.
Playoff format: The top four teams from each conference will qualify for the playoffs. Teams will be selected and seeded for the postseason using the football point-rating system. Teams from the same conference will meet in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
Top Story Line: Will Bow be good enough to repeat as the Division III champion? No team from this division has won consecutive titles since Bishop Brady in 2005 and 2006.
Player to Watch: Somersworth running back Elyjah Dejoie rushed for 1,613 yards and 27 touchdowns last season.
Game to Watch: Somersworth will play at Bow on Nov. 1. That game will feature two of the top teams in the division and the outcome could determine the No. 1 seed for Division I South.
Noteworthy: There's no clear-cut favorite in this division. Bow, Campbell, Somersworth and Stevens appear to be the teams to beat. ... Bow, which enters the season with a 10-game winning streak, returns running back Matt Ehrenburg, who had 1,512 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns last season. He became the first player in the program's history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a season. ... Stevens returned 21 players with varsity experience including running back/defensive back Brandon Bell; Campbell has 13 seniors and 10 returning starters. The Cougars have moved Kyle Manning from wide receiver to quarterback. ... and Somersworth has five two-way starters back from a team that finished 5-5 a year ago. The Toppers also had a quarterback (Hakeem Pone) transfer in from Georgia. ... Epping-Newmarket is another team to watch. The Blue Devils return nine starters, most of whom play on both sides of the ball. The returnees include running back/defensive back Alex Souvannaseng, quarterback Alex Hackett and guard/linebacker Alex Santos. ... Brendan Johnson is back for his fourth season as Bishop Brady's starting QB. ... Winnisquam, which is seeking its first playoff berth since 2009, will rely heavily on running backs Andrew Serano and Christian Serrano (brothers). ... Farmington-Nute will play all of its games away from home. Two of the team's "home games" will be played at Kingswood. ... Seventeen of the 26 players on Newfound's roster are freshmen or sophomores. ... Expect improvement from Franklin, which went 0-8 last year but played primarily non-seniors. ... There are seven first-year head coaches in Division III this season: Justin Leonard (Epping-Newmarket), Les Lawrence (Mascoma), Andrew Szendre (Newfound), Larry McElreavy (Newport), Tom Bozoian (Raymond), Matt Shaw (Bishop Brady) and Shawn Garrett (Gilford).
-- Roger Brown