Alignment: Division III
Last year: 9-0 (Won state championship)
Coach: Ryan Avery (3rd season)
Captains: Lincoln Blodgett, Joey Drew
First game: Saturday, noon, at Inter-Lakes
Outlook: It’s a year of transition for the defending D-III champs.
The Huskies graduated a large class of 17 seniors from last year’s roster, including most of their starters from both sides of the ball, and nine of their 13 All-State selections.
Particularly devastating is the loss of almost every member of last year’s devastating backfield: All-State mobile quarterback Tim Santaw, explosive running back Tim Hart, and All-State running back and two-time D-III Player of the Year Chandler Matson.
Senior Lincoln Blodgett — who was the starting fullback last year — takes over as one of the two running backs in Monadnock’s signature Wishbone offense, with junior Justin Joslyn assuming the other tailback position and junior Nate Doyle — who started on defense and played a couple games as a backup to Santaw last year — taking over under center.
Another tough loss was the graduation of three All-State linemen: first-teamer Nate Alley, and second-teamers Joey Joslyn and Cole Elfreich. But the Huskies lost three starting linemen the year before as well — Eli Clark, Gus Will and Alec Lepisto — and found a way to keep going.
Monadnock does have some top returners, including All-State linebackers Blodgett (first team) and Joslyn (second team) and first team lineman Joey Drew, but the “Next Man Up” mentality looks to be the theme of this season
Coach Ryan Avery said there are plenty of new players to be excited about. He mentioned one-way players who will now be playing on both sides this year, like junior Victor Lotito (an All-State Honorable Mention last year) and junior Aidan Hart; newcomers like freshman Jack Lorenz, senior Jackson Lepisto and junior Zion Carroll; and the return of senior Wyatt Guyette after he was injured last year.
Coach’s corner: “Everybody wants to beat Monadnock, just ’cause you’re the defending champs. We know that, and we know everybody’s gonna give us their best effort and play their best. We just want to be able to play our best, week in and week out, and see how it goes.” — Ryan Avery
Game to watch: Oct. 26, 1:30 p.m., at Campbell
Although the cast members may have changed, it’s hard to deny the hype behind a rematch of both of the last two Division III championship games.
Campbell returns both of its top running backs for their senior seasons: Keegan Mills, who had to sit out last year’s championship game with an injury, and Conor Sweeney, who rushed for 122 yards and both of the Cougars’ two touchdowns in that final game.
Campbell will undoubtedly be hungry for revenge, as the Huskies were last year when their regular season matchup came to Swanzey Center, so this should easily be the biggest test of Monadnock’s regular season.