Coach: Mark Peach
Last year: 9-4 (lost to John Hardin in third round of playoffs)
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Top players: Seth Carmichael (QB/FS), Ethan Kelly (RB/WR/KR), Matt Sprague (WR), Chris Fitzpatrick (OL), Travis Phillips (LB), Spencer Ruggles (LB), Bill Rose (K).
Outlook: The Bearcats have positive mojo after winning two playoff games for the first time in school history last fall. Peach is upbeat about this year's team, even though the offensive and defensive lines must be restocked. Carmichael returns to lead the offense after throwing for 2,600 yards and 29 TDs, and running for 598 yards and eight TDs last season. He also led the defense with four interceptions. Kelly was a versatile weapon last year, with more than 2,300 all-purpose yards and 31 TDs. Phillips and Ruggles were leading tacklers in 2010. Rose converted a school-record 61 of 62 PATs.
Coach: Adam Coleman
Last year: 2-9 (lost to Lexington Christian in first round of playoffs)
Top players: Darius Whitaker (QB/DB), Daniel Hubbard (OL/DL), Hunter Wilson (FB/DE), Eli Woodie (WR/DB), Zach Cunningham (RB/DB).
Outlook: The Pirates, under a new coach, are more experienced and physically stronger than last season. As is often the case with small schools, depth is a problem. Berea hopes for more consistency than last year when it won its opener and regular-season finale, but lost eight games in between.
Coach: Johnny Poynter
Last year: 4-7 (lost to Boyle County in first round of playoffs)
Top players: Kentayvous Hopkins (RB/DB), John Stout (QB/LB), Devin Arnold (TE/DE), Jaxson Hilander (DB), Dakota Mitchell (LB), Spencer Sledd (TE/LB), Jamal Clark (OL/DL), Joey Gomez (RB/LB).
Outlook: A step down to 3A should help the Colonels compete. Their returnees include Stout, who threw for 400 yards last year, Hopkins, who rushed for almost 300 yards, and Hilander, who had more than 100 receiving yards. Also back are Sledd and Mitchell, who led the team in tackles in 2010. Poynter likes his team's speed and toughness, but Bourbon County has only six seniors on its 54-man roster.
Coach: Paul Columbia
Last year: 5-6 (lost to Campbell County in first round of playoffs)
Top players: Pokey Harris (RB/DB), Chase Austin (FB/LB), Reid Campbell (QB/LB), Brent Stephens (OL/DL), Garrison Conn (WR/DB), Skylan Mayes (OL/DL), Tyler Creteau (FB/LB), Matt Hisle (OL/LB), Mark Davis (RB/DB), Darian Skinner (RB/DB), Dominic VanCleve (WR/DB), Brent Stoneking (WR/DB).
Outlook: Harris showed his playmaking skills last year, rushing for 912 yards and 12 TDs, and catching 27 passes for 575 yards and five TDs. He'll operate behind a strong offensive line that includes Stephens and Hisle. Replacing graduated standouts Andrew Dini (QB), Corey Rogers (TE), Mason Jones (FB) and Darius Skinner (RB/WR) won't be easy, but Columbia has a lot of young players ready to get game experience.
Coach: Mike Bowlin
Last year: 8-4 (lost to Boyle County in second round of playoffs)
Top players: Cameron Thomas (RB/DB), Seth Hunt (RB/LB), Oleh Markovich (OL/DL), Blake Hinkle (RB/DB), Cody Garrett (QB).
Outlook: The Jaguars, moving up from 4A, should have a productive ground game again after averaging almost 400 yards rushing to lead the state in 2010. Thomas rushed for 2,454 yards and 23 TDs last year. Hunt and Hinkle combined for 550 yards. That said, East must fill a lot of holes elsewhere. "We will be young, inexperienced and small in some places, but we're very quick with a very good attitude," Bowlin said.
Coach: Craig Foley
Last year: 9-4 (lost to Beechwood in third round of playoffs)
Top players: Kalen Leach (RB/DB), Aaron Jackson (WR/DB), Jalen Acree (FB/DL), Jalen Washington (RB/WR/LB), DeShaud Gilkey ATH/DB), Jesse Dunmire (OL/LB), Jackson O'Daniel (OL/DL), Matthew Collins (OL/DL), Jacob Perkins (OL/DL).
Outlook: The Panthers have averaged almost nine wins a season since 2003. To stay on that roll, they'll need a lot of production out of a thin roster. Speed, as usual, will be Frankfort's best asset. Leach is one of the top running backs around. Jackson is a threat at receiver. Both will be standouts in the defensive secondary, too.
Coach: Chris Tracy
Last year: 7-4 (lost to East Jessamine in first round of playoffs)
Top players: Ryan Timmons (WR/DB), Daniel Anderson (RB/LB), Greg Maupin (WR/LB), Sean Jarboe (WR/DE), Chris Roberts (RB/DE), Damani Aziz (DB), Jalen Jones (WR/LB), Jacob Campbell (WR/DB), Jesse Bertrand (OL/DL), Jay Brough (OL/DL), Logan Woodside (QB), James Maddox (RB/DB).
Outlook: Tracy thinks his Flyers have "the potential to be special." They've got speed, experience and skill-position talent. Timmons, a junior, is one of the top receivers in the state. Woodside, a junior, steps in at QB with lots of weapons at his disposal. Aziz is a threat running and receiving. He and Timmons are also key on defense. One concern is depth on the offensive and defensive lines.
Coach: Bert Browne
Last year: 1-10 (lost to Ryle in first round of playoffs)
Top players: Kenjah Bosley (WR/CB), Austin Coyle (LB), Jamez Chenault (RB), Jon Floyd (TE/DE), Dre Goggins (WR/CB), Taylor Nunley (OL), Brandon Parks (OL), Josh Sizemore (LB), Hunter Allen (TE/DE), Chris Walters (OL), Kevin Segar (WR/DE), Dominique Hawkins (RB/WR/DB), Melvin March (LB), Jacob Hensley (DL).
Outlook: Browne hopes the Indians will turn things around in his second season. The Indians are still relatively inexperienced but they're very athletic, led by Bosley, Chenault and Goggins. The addition of basketball players Hawkins and Allen will be a boost. Off-season work in the weight room, something Madison Central lacked in recent years, is now a priority and should make a difference.
Coach: Jon Clark
Last year: 1-10 (lost to Rowan County in first round of playoffs)
Top players: Ethan Lake (WR), Derek Howard (DL), Chris Roberts (FS), Adam Simpson (QB), Clayton Barnes (DE), Spencer Stone (TE), Brett Sipple (LB), Tyler Hagan (LB), Casey Dionne (WR/DB), Alex Layne (RB/DB).
Outlook: A new coach brings new enthusiasm to a program that has a 3-38 record over the last four years. The Eagles, moving from 4A to 5A, are young, but Clark thinks that's a perfect fit for a new coach looking to install a new system and forge a new team attitude. Clark's experience includes stints as an assistant at Ohio University, Auburn, Syracuse and Idaho State.
Coach: J.J. Everage
Last year: 0-10 (did not make playoffs)
Top players: Jalen Walton (RB/OLB), Trayvon Johnson (OL/DL), Nate Stevens (QB/DB).
Outlook: The Greyhounds hope things can only get better. They start the season saddled with a 22-game losing streak after being outscored by an average of 53-9 last year. A kinder schedule should make life a little less difficult.
Coach: Jim McKee
Last year: 10-4 (lost to Male in state semifinals)
Top players: Jordan Kindred (LB), Josh Walls (RB/S), Ben Lawler (QB), Avery Ford (DB), Nick Smith (TE), Tyler Fitch (C), Thorrin Brant (OL), Brad Hale (OL), Jordan Sinclair (OLB), Brad Smith (OLB), J.T. True (LB), Damien Gray (LB), Jon Scott (DL), Kevo Edwards (RB/DB).
Outlook: Fourteen starters return for the two-time defending region champs. Both sides of the ball are stuffed with veterans, including four-year starter Walls and three-year starter Kindred. Walls had more than 1,000 yards rushing and receiving last year. McKee expects big things from Lawler, who threw for 1,403 yards and 14 TDs as a junior. Kindred led the team in tackles, followed by True. Scott County lost its first three games last season but then reeled off 10 wins in a row to reach the state semifinals. This is a program that expects to win.
Coach: Graham Heasley
Last year: 8-4 (lost to Lexington Catholic in second round of playoffs)
Top players: Will Knight (WR/DB), Sean Donaldson (WR/LB), Romando Tatum (RB/DB), Cornelius Cheggah (OL/DL), Zack Bowerbank (WR/DB), Austin Bourland (WR/DB), Robbie Irgang (WR/LB), Tyler Stewart (OL/DL), Hunter Knuckles (RB/LB), Ryan Horne (QB), Devin Taylor (QB/LB).
Outlook: The Colts move from 4A to 5A with a talented group of skill-position players, led by Donaldson and Knight, who combined for 61 catches, 940 yards and 14 TDs last year. Tatum rushed for 560 yards and eight TDs. Knight was also a standout on defense with six interceptions. Only two other starters return on defense, and West is thin on experience up front on both sides of the ball.
Coach: Don Miller
Last year: 3-8 (lost to Elizabethtown in first round of playoffs)
Top players: Austin Smith (QB/DB), Dakota Miley (WR/DB), Logan Curry (TE/DE), Adam Aldbhany (RB/LB), Christian Wilkins (OL/DL), Gabe Loman (OL/DL), Eric Coubert (OL/DL), Daniel Noble (RB/DE), Jordan Taylor (WR/DB).
Outlook: The Wolverines have a pretty good nucleus to build on, including Aldbhany and Wilkins, two of their leading tacklers last season. Miley and Aldbhany also got experience at running back last season. Overall, Western Hills should be strong up front, but it still has a lot of players who need game experience.
Coach: Steve Stonebraker
Last year: 1-10 (lost to Highlands in first round of playoffs)
Top players: Elijah Jones (OL/DL), Conrad Smart (LB), Michael Rusher (WR/DB), Matt Couch (QB), Taylor Stakelin (RB), Justin Brown (RB), Chad Goodrich (RB), Kris Walling (OL), Derek Campbell (DB), Casey O'Nan (DL), Sam Rusher (LB).
Outlook: The Yellowjackets return seven starters on offense and seven on defense, which should mean a step forward from last year's struggles. Plenty of skill-position experience on offense, but it must get help up front. Defense looks solid, led by Jones and Smart, who are drawing interest from college scouts. A tough six-team district means the schedule gets important fairly quickly.