COACH: Bert Mozealous (2nd year)
2011 RECORD: 4-6
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sr. OL/DL Dan Flanegan (6-2, 235); Sr. OL/DL Greg Purcell (6-0, 260); Sr. OL/DL Mike Vitale (6-3, 270); Sr. OL/DL Zack Torro (6-4, 235); Jr. LB Jordan Laugeni (5-10, 205); Sr. RB Dave Attolino (5-10, 185); Sr. QB James Semmonella (6-2, 205)
REASON TO SMILE: The Spartans are huge across the line with nine seniors returning.
REASON TO WORRY: Can the young skill position players develop?
OUTLOOK: Amity should be able to run the ball with Attolino, who averaged seven yards a carry last season, back in the fold. Semmonella, who played some tailback last year, will be the full-time quarterback. The schedule is never easy at Amity, including a season-opening game at defending Class L champion Hand.
COACH: Tom Shea (3rd year)
2011 RECORD: 5-5
REASON TO SMILE: Prep will dress nearly 80 varsity players and actually had to cut prospective players.
OUTLOOK: Prep coach Tom Shea believes if his team is to be considered elite, it must beat an elite team. Prep's schedule is full of the best, most notably Xavier, Amity, West Haven, Notre Dame-West Haven and Shelton. If the Jesuits can find a way to win three of those games, the state playoffs are a possibility.
COACH: Jeff Bevino (6th year)
2011 RECORD: 3-7
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Jr. WR/DB Nick Weissauer (291 rushing yard, 233 receiving yards, 5 TDs); Jr. DB/WR Sam Olsson; Jr. OT/DL Zach Hubler (6-1, 230); Jr. ILB Jesse Alldredge; Sr. OT James Monk (6-1, 215); Soph. QB Jake Kasuba; Jr. RB Zach White
REASON TO SMILE: Bevino and his staff have a tendency to coach up his players so they're much better in November than August.
REASON TO WORRY: Tough early schedule (vs. Hillhouse, at Shelton) could dampen the spirits of a young squad.
OUTLOOK: Replacing 19 seniors won't be easy for Foran, but Bevino is optimistic as always. "At some point in time we'll be a pretty good team, I really believe that," he said. There's young talent at Foran, but how long it takes to gel will be the big question. The development of Weissauer is something to keep an eye on.
COACH: Mark Robinson (11th year)
2011 RECORD: 0-10
REASON TO SMILE: There's a completely different attitude from last year's winless team.
REASON TO WORRY: Coming out of nowhere is easier said than done in the SCC.
OUTLOOK: Law brings back 10 starters, including seven on offense. Robinson is bullish about the coming season and the change in attitude inside the locker room. "We're completely different. The kids are highly focused, they have one goal in mine: win the first game. They've got a good mindset right now," he said.
NOTRE DAME-WEST HAVEN
COACH: Tom Marcucci (20th year)
2011 RECORD: 8-2 (Class L quarterfinalist)
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Jr. RB Cameran Tucker (590 rushing yards, 5 TDs); Sr. C Zack Averna (5-11, 221); Sr. WR Chris Perry (4 TDs); Sr. LB Matt Schumaker (5-11, 188); Sr. DE Jordan Williams (6-1, 195); Sr. DT Brandon Aceto (6-0, 230)
REASON TO SMILE: The Green Knights always find a way to be competitive.
REASON TO WORRY: Lots of new faces to start the season.
OUTLOOK: It won't be easy for the Green Knights as they have to replace 19 starters -- nine of which are playing college football. Marcucci, based on strong freshman and junior varsity teams from last year, expects to be competitive as usual.
COACH: Jeff Roy (9th year)
2011 RECORD: 8-2
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sr. WR/DB Will Karcher; Jr. RB/DB Jagger Kalagian; Jr. RB Jason Thompson; Jr. QB Connor Wallon; Jr. WR/CB Ed Kochiss; Jr. LB/WR Kyle Drost; Sr. OL Austin Peel (6-2, 240); Sr. OL/NG Tom Gottschalk; Jr. WR Mike Pingree; Jr. WR/LB Christian Federici.
REASON TO SMILE: Shelton's cup runneth over with speed and skill players.
REASON TO WORRY: No size, little experience on the lines.
OUTLOOK: The Gaels might have one of the best collections of backs and receivers in the league. Many of them earned significant playing time during the second half of last year's solid 8-2 season. Karcher is back after missing all of last year with an ACL tear that has since healed itself. He and St. Joseph transfer Federici give QB Wallon two extra weapons to go with Kalagian and Kochiss. All of the players will contribute on defense. The Gaels, however, return just two starters on the lines and, in the SCC that usually spells trouble. As such, Shelton will try to play spread and fast in hopes of keeping bigger teams at bay. The schedule is manageable until Xavier and Hand come calling back-to-back in November.
COACH: Ed McCarthy (29th year)
2011 RECORD: 7-3
REASON TO SMILE: Phillips is one of the best tailbacks in Connecticut. His blockers are monsters.
REASON TO WORRY: The passing game needs serious work.
OUTLOOK: Hmm, is that high optimism coming from Camp McCarthy? He should be excited. The Westies are big, fast and athletic. Only one or two players go both ways, so they'll be fresh, too. Getting Phillps back healthy after he missed the last four games of 2011 with a shoulder injury is a huge boost. West Haven's only real gripe is that there are no returning receivers and the QB, transfer Javon Taylor (Wilbur Cross), is still learning. That won't be a problem against some of the league's smaller teams. Only when the Westies go up against equally physical teams like Hand (Week 6) or Xavier (Week 9) on the road will we see if they're legit. As long as Phillips is in the backfield, they have a good chance.
Compiled by Hearst Connecticut Newspapers staff.