Dave Morris knows it is going to be a challenging season for his Bangor High School football team.
The team is in rebuilding mode after losing 28 players off last year’s squad that hosted a Class A playoff game for the first time since 2014.
While the fourth-seeded Rams lost to Scarborough 40-14 in the quarterfinals, Bangor finished with a 7-3 record — which equalled the total number of wins the Rams amassed from 2015-19.
The fifth-year head coach has 22 freshmen and 13 sophomores among the 53 players on his roster, and is looking forward to seeing them develop over the course of the season beginning with Friday’s season-opener against Brewer at Cameron Stadium in Bangor.
He has just one returning full-time starter off last year’s team in senior center-middle guard Austin Lozano, one of the team captains.
Junior Isaac Osborne, another captain, has the second-most experience and will be an offensive and defensive tackle.
He has other players who received limited playing time a year ago and they will be thrust into starting roles, along with some who hardly played and an encouraging group of freshmen.
“We have some kids with a lot of talent. We just have to make sure we put them in the right places to be successful,” Morris said. “They don’t have much experience but they will gain experience over time and they are going to develop.”
The other captain is junior quarterback Jack Schuck, who backed up Max Clark last season.
Clark has moved on to play for his father, Nat, at Husson University in Bangor this fall.
“We have good leaders,” said Morris, who feels Schuck has a lot of potential.
“He’s pretty solid. He works hard and he is a great leader,” Morris said of Schuck, who was named MVP at the Maine Elite Passing summer football camp in Augusta.
“He throws and runs very well and he has very good instincts. He can do a lot of different stuff for us,” Morris added.
Freshman Teddy Stephenson, grandson of former Husson University and Bangor High football coach Gabby Price, is the backup to Schuck.
Junior Parker Small and sophomores Mason Knights and Jackson Varney will be the running backs and promising freshmen Zach Cota and Kyle Johnson will also be in the mix along with sophomore Xavier Pike.
Senior Connor Boone and junior Kadin Thomas will be the tight ends and Morris has a stable of wide receivers that includes seniors Austin Hughes and Ethan Nicholson, junior Miles Clark, and sophomore Nevin Howell.
Osborne and Lozano will anchor the offensive line at left tackle and center, respectively, with sophomore Danny Morrison at left guard, junior Ty Walker at right guard, and sophomore Jake Biberstein at right tackle. Freshman Alex Kearns will see some duty at guard.
The defensive line will be headlined by Lozano and Osborne and they will be joined up front by ends Thomas and Small.
Freshmen Cota and Johnson will be the inside linebackers, with sophomore Ian Blackwell at one outside linebacker slot and Knights at the other.
Clark will be the free safety with Schuck and Howell at the corners.
Seniors Daemon Maskala and Nick Biberstein, Jake’s brother, will be the placekickers and Stephenson is the punter.
“They’re hard workers. We are going to take it one day at a time and gain an identity for ourselves,” Morris said. “We want to be physical and tough. We have some good football players. It will just take time for us to develop into a consistent football team.”