Predicted order of finish in the Northwest Central Conference:
1. FAIRBANKS: The Panthers went unbeaten in the conference last year. Until someone beats them, they’re No. 1.
2. WAYNESFIELD-GOSHEN: Fourteen starters are back for the Tigers, including quarterback Connor Mortimer (720 yards passing), running back Ryan Spencer (566 yards) and receiver Keaton Fetter (16 catches).
3. RIVERSIDE: The Pirates finished third in the NWCC last season.
4. PERRY: The Commodores were 4-4 against NWCC teams last season, but were outscored 129-24 in two games outside the conference. Coach Dale Adams is in his first year.
5. UPPER SCIOTO VALLEY: The Rams are counting on team speed. Quarterback Rhys Rose is a three-year starter. Steve LaRue leads the defense.
6. FOSTORIA ST. WENDELIN: The Mohawks are in their first year in the NWCC. They will continue to play in the Midland Athletic League for all their other sports.
7. MARION CATHOLIC: Marion Catholic, which has fewer than 50 boys in the upper three grades, has faced a numbers problem for years.
8. RIDGEMONT: The Gophers are looking for a turnaround from last year’s 0-10 season.