1996 record: 2-3, 3-5, tied for third
Coach: Jim Hereford
Years coaching, record: 7th, 36-20
Starters, lettermen returning: 4, 9
Base offense, defense: Pro set, 4-2
Top returners: Bill Lathrop, sr., 5-10,175, RB; Jake Peterson, sr., 5-8, 165, E; Jason Miller, sr., 5-9, 170, C; Brent Slemp, jr., 6-1, 175, QB; John Worman, soph., 6-0, 170, RB.
Newcomers: Scott Degon, sr., 5-10, 170, RB; Dan Degon, soph., 5-11, 197, G.
Quick kicks: The Spartans, whose depth is a question, got a boost when the Degon brothers transferred from Liberty.
Coach’s comment: “We plan on being in every game with a strong effort from every player.”
Outlook: Touchet and Colton are expected to be two of the top teams in the state, unfortunately, they’re also in the same league. The Spartans are primed to pick off a playoff spot if either stumble.
1996 record: 2-3, 4-5, third in SEB-8
Coach: Jeff Nelson
Years coaching, record: 4th, 20-9
Starters, lettermen returning: 5, 8
Base offense, defense: Misdirection, 3-4
Top returners: Greg Whitman, jr., 6-2, 185, QB/LB; Mark Fehrenbacker, jr., 5-11, 205, OL/DL; Phil Blankenship, sr., 6-2, 180, RB/DB; Keith Wigen, jr., 6-2, 175, RB/LB; Derek Henley, jr., 5-11, 170, WR/DB; Justin MacIntosh, jr., 5-10, 170, WR/DL.
Newcomers: Ben Dunster, jr., 6-5, 180, DL/OL; Mike Armstrong, jr., 5-10, 240, DL/OL; Jared Blakenship, soph., 5-6, 145, RB/LB; Dustin Colter, soph., 5-10, 155, RB/DB.
Quick kicks: The Tigercats are ineligible for the playoffs because their enrollment is 102 and the 8-man cutoff is 100.
Coach’s comment: “We will be very strong at the end of the season. If our players can put everything together and become cohesive early, we will be extremely dangerous.”
Outlook: With five two-way starters returning, L-W would be a logical playoff pick. Playing for pride, they could be even more dangerous.
1996 record: 5-1, 6-3, first, lost in quarterfinals
Coach: Duane Gatlin
Years coaching, record: 16th, NA
Starters, lettermen returning: 2, 6 Base offense, defense: I, 4-1-3 Top returners: Jess Schumacher, sr., 5-10, 175, LB; Clayton Burch, sr., 5-11, 185, LB; Hunter Abell, sr., 5-11, 160, C; Michael Jolley, soph., 5-10, 155, QB/DE.
Newcomers: Casey Johnson, jr., 5-8, 140, WR; David Tonasket, frosh., 5-8, 145, RB; Marvin Signor, jr., 5-9, 185, TE.
Quick kicks: Gatlin is the coach after being co-coach a year ago after a five-year absence. He coach the Hornets to a state title in 1983.
Coach’s comment: “If we can bring our eighth and ninth graders along, hopefully by the league opener, we will be competitive. We can’t afford to lose any key players to injuries.”
Outlook: The Hornets rolled through the league last year, but they lost a lot and the gap has closed. However, it was a wide gap and they are favored again, although the race should be close. Eighth graders could see action.
1996 record: 0-6, 0-8, last
Coach: Todd Kent
Years coaching, record: 2nd, 0-8
Starters, lettermen returning: 5, 13
Base offense, defense: Not available
Top returners: Josh Wills, jr., 6-0, 160, QB; James Parkins, sr., 6-0, 170, RB; Alex Alcocer, sr., 5-7, 145, RB; Jose Huitron, soph., 5-6, 135, RB; Mike Ethington, jr., 6-2, 210, OL/DL.
Newcomers: Mitch Fode, frosh., 5-10, 170, QB/LB; Joseph Wright, jr., 6-3, 220, OL; Adam Labes, jr., 5-8, 140, RB/DB.
Quick kicks: The Bulldogs only lost four lettermen from their 17-player roster.
Coach’s comment: “If we can stay healthy and eligible, we have a chance to win a few games. We have a lot of young talent, if they develop quickly and we get strong senior leadership, who knows what could happen?”
Outlook: The Bulldogs have a long way to go, but a few wins is a good start. If they get some momentum, they could be a challenger.
1996 record: 2-4, 2-7, second
Coach: Chuck Wyborney
Years coaching, record: 6th, 19-26
Starters, lettermen returning: 5, 9
Base offense, defense: I; 3-2-3
Top returners: Cory Wagner, jr., 5-10, 160, TB/CB; Justin Young, soph., 5-11, 165, TB/LB; Aaron Anderson, jr., 6-0, 165, G; Richard Gifford, jr., 5-11, 155, G; Mark Strickler, jr., 6-0, 165, TE; Keith Donahue, soph., 6-1, 170, TE.
Newcomers: Grant Denison, jr., 5-11, 155, TB; Brandon Neidhart, jr., 5-11, 160, QB.
Quick kicks: No seniors dot the roster.
Coach’s comment: “Great attitudes and team quickness, but inexperience and lack of size. We will compete and play hard.”
Outlook: Wait until next year and the Lions could roar.
1996 record: 1-5, 1-7, fourth
Coach: Mark Patterson
Years coaching, record: 1st
Starters, lettermen returning: 4, 5
Base offense, defense: Pro or wing; 4-2
Top returners: Deno Denison, sr., 6-0, 170, RB/LB; Greg McCrea, sr., 5-8, 150, RB/DB; Jamie Nomee, sr., 5-8, 190, OL/ DL.
Newcomers: Marc Covington, sr., 6-4, 180 (transfer from Columbia); Cubby Abrahamson, sr., 5-9, 170, RB-TE/LB; Mikie McCrea, soph., 6-0, 165, QB.
Quick kicks: There are no juniors on the Redskins’ roster for Patterson, who replaces Jim Hombel.
Coach’s comment: “We’ve got a lot of older kids ineligible. If we get them elgible, we’re going to be pretty tough. They (shouldn’t) miss any league games. We’ll get lots of playing experience in those two games, hopefully that will bode well for the season.”
Outlook: In a balanced league, if the Redskins can get everyone playing, they could challenge for one of the two playoff spots.