1. FORT LORAMIE (6-5, 6-1 NWCC): which has been to the playoffs the last seven years, is in its final season in the NWCC before joining the Cross County Conference. The Redskins have never won fewer than five games in 11 varsity seasons.
2. LEHMAN CATHOLIC (7-5, 5-2 NWCC): Jake Earhart has been first-team All-NWCC the last two years at linebacker and could be the Cavaliers’ No. 1 running back this season. Michael Bunker has also been first-team All-NWCC twice. Who replaces quarterback Stephen Monnin is the big question.
3. UPPER SCIOTO VALLEY(6-4, 5-2 NWCC). The Rams have a lot of people back from last year’s team, which was a contender for the league title, including running back Austin Sloan, end Chase Rose and linebacker Trey Freytag. All of them were first-team all-NWCC.
4. RIVERSIDE(10-2, 6-1 NWCC): The Pirates shared the league title with Fort Loramie last season. First-team All-0hio two-way player Connor Cotterman (1,866 yards rushing and 108 tackles) will be tough to replace. Junior defensive lineman Gaven Anderson was honorable mention All-Ohio.
5. PERRY(2-8, 2-5 NWCC). Herb Lane takes over as the Commodores coach. Quarterback Plummie Gardner and wide/receiver LaMonte Nichols, who were second-team All-NWCC, will be key players.
6. HARDIN NORTHERN(4-6, 2-5 NWCC): The Polar Bears have seven returning starters on both sides of the ball, including some who have played since they were freshmen.
7. RIDGEMONT(3-7, 2-5 NWCC): If the Gophers improve on last year’s record, the offense could play a big role. Quarterback Corey Eversole passed for 914 yards and rushed for 480 yards last season and Cameron Smith rushed for 996 yards.
8. WAYNESFIELD-GOSHEN (0-10, 0-7 NWCC): The Tigers will have a new coach, Shane Wireman, after last year’s 0-10 season. Offensive lineman Chandler Little was first-team All-NWCC last year on an offense which averaged 10.3 points a game.