1. Crestview – With all state quarterback Drew Kline and Wade Sheets, the Knights appear poised to grab the Northwest Conference title after coming up one game short last year. In addition to these two talented seniors, 11 other seniors return from last year’s squad.
2. Spencerville – Under Chris Sommers, his first-year as the Spencerville head coach, the Bearcats won the Northwest Conference title outright. Joel Lotz, who rushed for more than 800 yards last year, will be part of the wing-T offense and is joined by 10 other returning starters. The Bearcats will look to find a quarterback and fill some key spots on the defensive side of the ball.
3. Columbus Grove – The Bulldogs stumbled to a 2-8 season but with 22 starters back, including the talented Caleb Barrientes who is a threat on both sides of the ball, Columbus Grove looks to be in the mix for the always tough NWC title.
4. Ada – Shawn Christopher takes over an Ada program that made it to the playoffs last year. However, if he is going to be successful this year he will have to replace all-state quarterback Seth Conley and Mr. Everything Chase Sumner. With 13 returners back the cupboard is not empty but Brandon Hull, taking over the quarterback duties, will be called to learn on the job.
5. Bluffton – The Pirates will look to utilize their experience, 18 returners back, and the talents of running back Deandre Nassar who showed flashes of brillance and an experienced defense. Senior Logan Rhodes, who’s season last year was cut short due to injury, is back behind the center for the Pirates.
6. Delphos Jefferson – Jefferson took a step back last year by going 6-4 after winning the NWC for four straight seasons. New head coach Luke Taviano who took Perry to the playoffs last will look to bring the Wildcats back to the top of NWC. With 15 returners, Taviano has a strong nucleus of players that will help him garner victories.
7. Allen East – Like Jefferson, the Mustangs have a new coach in Wesley Schroeder. The Allen East head coach has worked under some of the best head coaches in the area and he will try to bring those winning ways to the Mustangs. The Mustangs return 13 starters fro a team that won two games last year.
8. Paulding – Paulding was winless in the NWC and recorded one victory overall. The Panthers are poised to produce more win with quarterback Jacob Diesler back as the signal caller and a number of weapons around him.