PORT HENRY - The Moriah football team has reached the state championship game each of the last two seasons thanks in large part to a dominating offensive line.
The Vikings will be hard pressed to repeat the feat.
The O-line has just one player returning this fall, making it a Moriah question mark instead of its traditional strength.
"The offensive line took a major blow to graduation," Coach Don Tesar said. "Sergio Camacho is the only returning starter; this will be his third year starting. Brandon Stoddard saw plenty of playing time and brings some experience to the line. After that..."
Tim Breeyear and Trevor Cheney are battling to play center. Conner Rodriguez, Ron Perry, Justin Cutting, Carlo Calabrese and Cheney are looking for remaining spots on the line.
Tom Slattery, Derek Waldron and Calabrese will play tight end.
Rounding out the "big uglies" are Crag MacDougal, Ethan Roberts, Jake Shaffer, Jake Stevenson, Troy Morin, John Zerbe and Mike Badger.
The line will be key if Moriah is to match last year's 9-3 overall and 6-2 Northern Football Conference record.
"A major concern is depth on the line of scrimmage," Tesar said. "If we can stay healthy with Camacho and Stoddard anchoring the line we should be very competitive."
As usual, Moriah will rely on a rugged ground attack. Leading the ground game will be three-year starter Nick Gilbo at fullback. Jim Curran and Willie Burbank will also play fullback.
Lining up at tailback will be Wally Edwards, Jalen Beebe and Tom Ida. Ryan Mascarenas, Ryan LaMour, David Quinn and Tom Slattery will play halfback.
"The running backs could be by committee," Tesar said. "Edwards, Ida and Beebe will all get touches at the tailback spot while Gilbo will get plenty of touches at the fullback position."
Mike Speshock, Zack DeSimone and Landon Cross are vying for the quarterback spot.
Wide receivers include DeSimone, Cross, Jeff Greenough and Alan Smith.
On defense Moriah will count on Gilbo, an all-conference performer at middle linebacker.
Also manning linebacker spots will be Curran, Burbank, Beebe, Speshock, Allen Jaques, Cheney, Cutting and Kevin Evens.
The defensive front will feature Camacho, Stoddard, Slattery, Edwards, Breeyear, Calabrese, MacDougal, Rodriguez, Roberts, Perry, Shaffer, Stevenson, Morin, Zerbe, Badger, Waldron and Smith.
The Moriah secondary will include Mascarenas, Slattery, Ida, DeSimone, Cross, Greenough, LaMour and Quinn.
Assisting Tesar on the sidelines this fall are Chris Lobdell, Tom Anderson, Casey Nephew, Pete Gilbo, Aaron Brassard and Jim Langey.
Sept. 4........at Bellows Falls, Vt.
Sept. 10......Tupper Lake
Sept. 24.......at Ticonderoga
Oct. 1..........at AVCS
Oct. 16.........at Saranac
Oct. 22.........Saranac Lake