1. MARION LOCAL: The Flyers (13-2, 7-1 MAC) had their streak of four straight state championships stopped in the D-VI title game last year. With the talent they have coming back, they could play 15 games again this fall.
Offensive tackle John Dirksen is getting NCAA Division I offers and was first-team All-MAC as a sophomore. Linebacker Cole Unrast also was first-team All-MAC and quarterback Duane Leugers is also back.
2. FORT RECOVERY: Until last year, a football state championship was something Fort Recovery could only dream about. But the dream became real for the Indians (13-2, 6-2 MAC).
Quarterback Caleb Martin, a University of Toledo commitment who threw for 2,398 yards last season and running back Will Homan (1,174 yards rushing) are back to lead the offense. Andrew Stocker (11.5 sacks) was first-team All-MAC as a sophomore.
3. COLDWATER: The Cavaliers (15-0, 8-0 MAC) have won four straight state championships, played in a state championship game the last seven years and have been in the playoffs for 20 consecutive years.
So, how do they rank third behind Marion Local and Fort Recovery?
Experience, or more precisely, lack of experience. Only three starters are back from last year’s team.
4. MINSTER: The Wildcats (10-3, 6-2 MAC) lost to two state champions (Coldwater and Fort Recovery) and a state runner-up (Marion Local) last season. Receiver Bryce Schmiesing was first-team All-MAC a year ago but the Wildcats have several significant holes to fill, including replacing Josh Nixon at quarterback.
5. ST. HENRY: The Redskins (6-4, 4-4 MAC) have an experienced offense but will be have first-year starters at four offensive line positions, quarterback and running back.
6. VERSAILLES: The Tigers (4-6, 3-5 MAC) have some young talent but will that translate into improvement on the field?
7. Anna: The Rockets (3-7, 3-5 MAC) are trying to reverse a slide that has seen them go 17-23 in the MAC in the last five seasons.
8. DELPHOS ST. JOHN’S:Blue Jays (1-9, 1-7 MAC) hope that increased overall strength and a healthy season for quarterback Jacob Youngpeter lead to a better record this fall.
9. PARKWAY: The Panthers (2-8, 2-6 MAC) have lost 41 of their last 50 games.
10. NEW BREMEN:The Cardinals (1-9, 0-8 MAC) have returning starters at almost every position but still have some territory to cover to become competitive in the MAC.