By THE HERALD-WHIG
2012 record: 7-4 (3-2 in the Tri-Rivers Conference)
Coach: Alex Van Delft (15-17 at Knox County, fourth season)
Returning starters: Offense — QB Donovan Edwards, 5-11, 170, Sr.; RB Brody Moubry, 5-9, 175, Jr.; WR Royce Poore, 6-0, 185, Sr.; OL Riley Poston, 6-2, 265, Jr.; OL Skylar Thompson, 5-5, 165, Sr.; OL Austin Haines, 5-9, 215, Jr.
Defense — DB Edwards; LB Moubry; DB Poore; DL Nat Harder, 5-10, 223, Jr.; DL Poston; LB Drew Hodge, 6-0, 215, Soph.; DB Cedric Boone, 6-0, 175, Soph.
Other returning letterwinners: None listed.
New Faces: OL/LB Brandon Schrage, 5-10, 185, Soph.; OL Skyler Sullen, 5-11, 225, Soph.; DE Alex Howerton, 6-0, 185, Sr. Key losses: RB/LB Kellen Gillaspy, RB/ LB Jared Barnard, TE/DB Lee Tague, OL/DL Colton Danger, OL/DL Nathan Miller.
Outlook: Speed and a swarming defense are the keys to Knox County improving on its district semifinal appearance last season.
The Eagles will depend on second-year starting quarterback Edwards and junior running back Moubry to give their offense some punch.
"One strength we do have on defense is our team speed," Van Delft said. "Because of this, we are looking to get as many people to the football as possible and create turnovers and have tackles for loss."
2012 record: 2-8 (2-3 in the Tri-Rivers Conference)
Coach: Daniel Burns (2-8 at Scotland County, second season)
Offense: Spread option
Returning starters: Offense — OL Jed Troutman, 5-10, 2013, Sr.; QB Cordie Kigar, 5-7, 260, Sr.; WR Chris Jackson, 5-9, 170, Sr.; RB Will McRobert, 5-9, 205, Jr.; WR Jade Holt, 5-10, 170, Soph.; OL Jacob Holt, 5-9, 220; OL Tyler Buford, 6-3, 290.
Defense — LB Troutman; CB Kigar; OLB Jackson; DE McRobert; OLB Jade Holt; DL Jacob Holt; DE Brendan Holt, Soph.
Other returning letterwinners: LB Chester Robinson, 5-10, 200, Soph.; LB Mason Vanhoozen, 5-9, 170, Jr.
New faces: DE/OL Lucas Howard, 6-3, 190, Sr.; DL/OL Landyn Swearingen, 5-11, 270, Jr.; WR/DB Ian See, 5-10, 170, Fr.; LB/DB Austin Day 5-9, 170, Fr.; DB/WR/QB Aaron Buford, 5-8, 160, Fr.; LB/OL Will Pickerell, 5-9, 170, Fr.; RB/DB Riley Kliethermes 5-9, 160, Fr.
Key losses: LB Monte Salle.
Outlook: Growing pains are expected in the Tigers second year under Burns. McRobert gives the Tigers a bruising fullback to lead the offense. Jackson gives the Tigers a threat out of the backfield and at wide receiver.
"This year will be similar to last year," Burns said. "We are still very young. ... However, we will have more experience with this offense and guys will be more comfortable and be able to play faster."
Editor's Note: No preseason information was received from North Shelby.
Here's a look at the media poll for the Tri-Rivers Conference. Herald-Whig Sports Editor Matt Schuckman, Herald-Whig Sports Writers Blake Toppmeyer and Josh Rizzo, WGEM Sports Director Ben Marth, WGEM SportsCenter Host Josh Houchins and WGEM Sports Reporter Dylan Austin participated in the poll. Points were awarded in a 6-5-4-3-2-1 format. First-place votes are listed in parentheses.
1. Milan — 36 (6)
2. Knox County — 30
3. Schuyler County — 22
4. Putnam County — 17
5. Scotland County — 15
6. North Shelby — 6