By THE HERALD-WHIG
2012 record: 5-5 (3-2 WIVC North)
Coach: Tom Little (75-42 at Brown County, 12th season)
Returning starters: Offense — QB Dylan Ruble, 5-9, 150, Sr.; RB Braxton Phelps, 5-9, 164, Jr.; RB Brady Long, 5-10, 150, Sr.; OL Nathan Banta, 6-1, 220, SR.; OL Nathan Fisher, 5-10, 180, Sr.; OL Clint Lewis, 5-10, 180, Sr.; OL Gage Bowman, 6-0, 250, Jr.; TE Collin Clinging, 6-2, 200, Jr.; TE Michael Scoggan, 5-10, 220, Jr. Defense — DL Lewis; DL Banta; DL Fisher; DE Clinging; DE Coltan Behymer, 6-0, 190, Jr.; LB Nathan Mekdara, Sr.; LB Alec Boylen, 5-10, 180, Sr.; LB Scoggan; DB Phelps; DB Long.
Other returning letterwinners: TE/DE Charlie Buss, 6-4, 180, Sr.; OL/DL Leland Boyd, Jr.; RB/DB Nick Doyle, Jr.; OL/DL Seth Gooding, Jr.; OL/DL Stefan Henson, Jr.; RB/LB Jake Lofland, Jr.; RB/DB Cody Perry, Jr.
New faces: RB/LB Wyatt Johnson, 5-10, 210, Sr.; QB/DB Brady Robinson, 6-0, 180, Jr.; RB/LB Brett Barr, Soph.; OL/DL Michael Buss, Soph.; QB/DB Jared Fry, Soph.; OL/DL Nick Hendricker, Soph.; RB/LB Jake Hulvey, Soph.; TE/DE Blake Law; RB/DB Jake Ruble, Soph.; RB/DB Colton Sievers, Soph.; OL/DL Sergio Vlahovich, Soph.; TE/DB Laken Wiese, Soph.; TE/DB Noah Williams, Soph.
Outlook: The Hornets look to take advantage of their offensive line and team speed to make another run at the postseason.
"I think we want to build off of the momentum we gained last year," Little said. "There were a lot of new faces we gained last year. They need to come back and play at the same level we have been and become better football players."
2012 record: 12-1 (5-0 WIVC North)
Coach: Brad Dixon (22-2 at Central, third season)
Offense: Double wing
Returning staters: Offense — FB Bobby Keltz, 5-9, 175, Jr.; G Mike Johnson, 5-10, 200, Sr.; C Eann Diller, 6-0, 270, Sr.; TE Jason Dormire, 6-0, 180, Jr.; G Jared Starman, 5-10, 220, Sr.; T Jacob Eilers, 6-6, 240, Sr. Defense — NG Jacob Walters, 5-9, 215, So.; OLB Johnson; ILB Starman; CB Cole Phillips, 5-11, 150, Sr.; CB Alger Saldana, 6-2, 170, Jr.; S Austin Kramberg, 5-8, 150, Sr.
Other returning letterwinners: WB/OLB Trevor Hennen, 5-6, 140, Sr.; TE/DB Kory Beinhoff, 6-0, 165; OL/DL Braden Obert, 6-3, 350, Sr.; TE/OLB D.J. Beasley, 6-1, 170, Sr.
New Faces: T/DT Michael Houston, 6-1,235, Sr.; TE/OLB Zach Foote, 6-3, 170, Jr.; QB/TE/LB, 5-10, 175, Jr.; WB/LB Trey Flesner, 5-10, 180, Jr.
Key Losses: OL/DL Drew Miller, WB/DB Dalton Heubner, WB/MLB Douglas Weese, OL/DL Logan Myers, OL/DL Jake Coclasure, TE/OLB Aaron Aschemann.
Outlook: The Panthers face a tough task in replacing three-fourth's of their backfield from last season. Finding kids who put in the time won't be the issue. Central didn't rest on its laurels after making the school's first trip to the state semifinals. The Panthers have six returning starters on offense and seven on defense and will look to compete for another playoff bid.
"Obviously we lost Heubner, Weese and Miller from last year," Dixon said. "However, the guys we have back are stronger across the board than last year's group because of their work ethic in the weight room."
2012 record: 3-6 (2-3 WIVC South)
Coach: Mike Giles (29-35 at Pleasant Hill, seventh season)
Returning starters: Offense — SE Alex Rodhouse, 5-10, 170, Sr.; QB Kyle Moore, 6-0, 170, Sr.; T Logan Workman, 6-3, 210, Jr.; T Blake Smith, 6-2, 286, Sr.; FB Keenan Latham, 5-9, 210, Sr.; G James Smith, 6-1, 275, Sr.; TE Boe Smith, 6-2, 265, Sr.
Defense — S Rodhouse; CB Moore; DE Workman; DT Blake Smith; LB Keenan Latham, 5-9, 210, Sr.; DT Jake Smith; DE Boe Smith; LB Kyle Mowen, 6-1, 175, Jr.; LB Blake DeCamp, 5-10, 165, Sr.
Other returning letterwinners: RB/S Corby Edwards, 5-9, 145, Soph.; RB/CB Ty Pruett, 5-8, 135, Jr.; WR/CB Dakota White, 5-11, 150, Sr.; OL/DL Colton Clendenny, 5-11, 150, Sr.; G/DT Dustin Kirgin, 5-10, 135, Sr.; C/DT Griffin Hall, 6-0, 235, Soph.; OL/DL Klayton Miller, 6-5, 260, Jr.; TE/LB Logan Smith, 5-11, 175, Soph.; QB/LB Seth Moyers, 6-2, 185, Soph.
New Faces: OG/DT Justin Perez, 6-0, 250, Soph.; WR/CB Russell Miller, 5-11, 150, Jr.; C/DT Gunner Turner, 5-11, 235, Jr.
Key losses: Bradon Damon, Aaron Rodhouse, Seth Stroemer.
Outlook: After slipping to 3-6 last season, Giles is positive this team can turn things around. Returning a number of experienced players will be the key for the Wolves.
"We are bringing back the most senior football players that we have in a very long time," Giles said. "When you add our juniors to that group, we have a solid upperclassmen core on our team. There is a lot of potential with this team."
2012 record: 2-7 (2-3 WIVC North)
Coach: Kevin Krietemeyer (0-0 at Unity, first season)
Returning starters: Offense — RB Scott Beck, 5-8, 175, Sr.; T Lane Davis, 6-4, 215, Sr.; WR Alex Blickhan, 5-9, 190, Sr.; RB Tanner Wand, 5-9, 185, Sr.; TE Gage Klitz, 6-4, 205, Sr.
Defense — DL Klitz; DL Davis; DB Brady Loos, 6-2, 185, Sr.; DB Will Klusmeyer, 5-8, 175, Sr.; LB Wand; LB Beck; DB Blickhan; LB Skye Cantrell, 6-1, 205, Sr.
Other returning letterwinners: WR Drew Muegge, 6-0, 175, Jr.
New Faces: TE/DL Scott Letz, 6-4, 215, Sr.; WR/DB Sean Schmidt, 5-7, 175, Sr.; OL/DL Dustin Davis, 5-10, 225, Jr.; OL/DL Seth Bruuenger, 6-1, Jr.; WR/DB Clayton Thompson, 5-10, 155, Soph.; WR/DB Dawson Moore, 5-9, 155, Soph.; RB/LB Kaleb Vandermaiden, 5-9, 170, Soph.; OL/LB Kaleb Vandermaiden, 5-9, 170, Soph.; OL/LB Dayton Lord, 5-9, 190, Soph.; RB/LB Johnny Magliochatti, 5-8, 160, Soph.
Key losses: OL/DL Luke Muegge.
Outlook: If the Mustangs can avoid making mistakes, Krietemeyer has high hopes that this group can have success. Last season, turnovers plagued the Mustangs, as they averaged four per game. Lane Davis will anchor an offensive line that will try to provide first-year starting quarterback Brady Loos with plenty of time to pass.
"I think our work at camp and 7-on-7 will help us offensively to get teams to not load the box against us," Krietemeyer said. "We will be successful if we take care of the football."
Here's a look at the media poll for the Western Illinois Valley Conference's North Division. 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. Central — 34 (4)
2. Brown County — 32 (2)
3. Triopia — 23
4. Unity — 17
5. Routt —14
6. Jacksonville ISD — 6