WATERVILLE - The Waterville high school Purple Panthers football team finished as Eastern Maine class B runner up during the 2012 season.
Waterville entered the postseason as the number six seed and a 4-4 record.
They upset Hampden Academy and defeated Belfast in the class B playoffs. The Purple Panthers lost to eventual state champion Mount Blue in the regional final.
This year, the Purple Panthers are expected to be one of the top team in the new look Eastern Maine class C.
They return 18 seniors, including seven returning starters on offense and eight on defense.
"We have good depth on the team and competition for many positions will only serve to make the team better overall."Waterville coach Frank Knight who enters his 24th season said. "Challenges the team faces are the newly structured league and unfamiliar opponents."
Key players on offense are senior quarterbacks Aiden FitzGerald and Brian Bellows.
Running Backs Cam Thomas, Jared Spear, Trever Grey, along with newcomers Dalton Denis and Danny Pooler are expected to challenge for significant playing time.
Receivers Jordhan Levine and Troy Gurski are big targets in the receiving corps and linemen Luke Knight, Duncan Works, Ben Cox, Alex Danner and Corey Huerfano all had significant playing time on last years team.
Defensively eight starters return with defensive linemen Duncan Works, Todd Serbent, Hunter Collins, Ben Cox and Corey Huerfano rotating up front along with defensive ends, Troy Gurski, and Shazaib Khan who saw significant action last year.
Linebackers include two year starter Luke Knight plus Alex Danner and Trever Grey will rotate at the two inside linebacker positions.
Rounding out the secondary are Brian Bellows, Jordhan Levine, David Bailey with newcomers Dalton Denis and Colby Vince expected to challenge for playing time.
The Purple Panthers will compete in east C with Foxcroft, Winslow, Belfast, Camden Hills, Hermon, Madison, MDI, Nokomis, and Old Town,
Waterville is expected to contend with Foxcroft and Winslow for the top spot.
The Purple Panthers open the season at Camden Hills. They will not be home until week 3 when they take on Old Town.
Waterville will travel to Foxcroft in early October. They will finish the season with their rivalry game against Winslow. Click here for the full schedule.