After five-win seasons the past two years, Southbridge may be ready to make the leap to the next level as the Pioneers lose just one starter on offense.
Southbridge returns a solid combination at the skill positions, as junior Anthony Santos and receivers Eli Perez, Lucas Cancel and Jordan Torres should make some noise this year.
The offensive line returns with some experience, as junior co-captain Kaleb Blackmore is back at tackle, with junior Tim Lewis at the other end. Juniors Will Butler and Tom MacDonald return at guard and sophomore Aaron Berry is sold at center.
Senior tackle Robert Butch should also rotate in, while senior Shawn Miller is back at tight end.
While Josh Rivera returns at fullback, Southbridge turns to senior DeShawn Vasquez and junior Brendan Casaletta to handle the running chores.
The Pioneers return seven starters on defense, including three on the defensive line and two in the secondary. Cancel and Perez should lock up the corners, while Vazquez comes in at free safety.
Blackmore and Lewis are back at defensive end, and Butler returns at tackle. Southbridge will use junior Jetneil Baez at the other tackle.
The Pioneers get a boost with the returns of Torres and sophomore Jose Miranda at outside linebacker, while Miller, Scott Bailey and Cam Miranda will see time in the middle.
"We are not very big on defense, but we hope our overall team speed will make up for the lack of size,'' coach Frank Koumanelis said.
Pioneers at a glance
Home field: Harry J. McMahon Field (grass), 25 Cole Ave., Southbridge.
Brain trust: Coach: Frank Koumanelis (13th season, 69-65). Assistants: Tony Santilli (associate head coach, offensive coordinator), Josh Blanchette, Cody Giampa, Sean Gilliard, Dan Snyder.
Returning starters: 17 (10 offense, 7 defense).
Captains: Sr. WR/CB Eli Perez, Jr. T/DE Kaleb Blackmore.
Top players: Jr. QB Anthony Santos, Jr. FB/DL Josh Rivera, Sr. TE Shawn Miller, Jr. G/DT Will Butler, So. C Aaron Berry, Jr. T/DE Tim Lewis, Sr. WR/CB Lucas Cancel, Sr. WR/OLB Jordan Torres, So. LB Jose Miranda.
Notable newcomers: Sr. T Robert Butch, Sr. RB/FS Deshawn Vasquez, Jr. RB Brendan...