2014 football preview: A closer look at the Tri-Rivers Conference

Posted: Aug. 20, 2014 8:52 am Updated: Sep. 10, 2014 9:15 am

Knox County

2013 record: 5-6 (3-2 Tri Rivers Conference)

Coach: Alex Van Delft (20-21 at Knox County, fifth season)

Assistant coaches: Bruce Vannoy, Zach Summers, Rob Sullens

Offense: Spread option

Defense: 4-3

Returning starters: Offense -- RB Brody Moubry, 5-9, 180, Sr.; RB Andrew Hodge, 6-0, 220, Jr.; WR Cedric Boone, 6-1, 200, Sr.; OL Riley Poston, 6-2, 260, Sr.; OL Nat Harder, 5-9, 250, Sr.; OL Skyler Sullens, 5-10, 245, Jr.; OL Brandon Schrage, 5-10, 215, Jr.; OL Tim Jones, 5-9, 175, Jr.

Defense -- DB Hunter Klocke, 5-9, 150, So.; DT Harder; DT Poston; LB Moubry; LB Hodge; DB Boone; LB Schrage

New faces: WR/DB Lane Couch, 5-5, 130, So.; RB/DL Cage Kirmse, 5-9, 180, So.; WR/DB Garyn Miller, 5-9, 145, So.; OL/DL Isiah Prebe, 5-10, 220, So.; OL/LB Ian Kincaid, 5-9, 175, So.; WR/LB Randall McCarty, 6-2, 205, Jr.

Key losses: QB/DB Donovan Edwards, WR/DB Royce Poore, OL Skylar Thompson

Outlook: The Eagles boast the biggest, most experienced offensive line in Van Delft's tenure, which should allow them to do what they do best -- that's run the ball. Moubry, a first-team all-conference selection last fall, is a workhorse who rushed for more than 1,400 yards, but the key will be getting some production from the passing game.

"We will need to pass just enough to keep the 10-man boxes we saw at times last year from happening," Van Delft said.

Boone, who has been one of four players the Eagles looked at as Edwards' replacement at QB, will be vital to the passing game one way or another. If he doesn't win the QB job, he'll start at tight end, where he earned second-team all-conference last season.

Boone also will play safety and give the Eagles a big hitter in the secondary. Harder's motor up front led to 17 tackles for losses last season and is expected to be an intimidating force.

North Shelby

2013 record: 0-10 (0-5 Tri Rivers Conference)

Coach: Todd Cripe (0-10 at North Shelby, second season)

Assistant coaches: Dahn Kemp

Offense: Wing-T and Flex bone

Defense: Multiple

Returning starters: Offense -- QB Jacob Rich, 5-9, 160, Sr.; OL Jacob Gander, 5-11, 170, Sr.; RB Dalton Brumbaugh, 6-1, 180, Jr.; RB Dylan Mettes, 5-9, 165, Jr.; OL Colton von Thun, 6-0, 170, Jr.; OL Lane Kemp, 5-8, 160, So.; RB Matt Perry, 5-9, 165, So.; WR Luke Reitz, 5-7, 155, So.

Defense -- DB Rich; DL Gander; LB Mettes; DL von Thun; DL Kemp; LB Perry; DB Reitz; DB Malcarne.

New faces: RB Shaughn Malcarne, 5-8, 150, So.

Key losses: RB/DB John Arnett

Outlook: Numbers will always be an issue for the Raiders, but with so many returning players and an athletic quarterback in Rich, better days lie ahead.

The challenge will be matching up man-for-man up front, especially as undersized as the Raiders are.

Cripe is confident North Shelby can become more competitive and should be more explosive with an experienced backfield.

Scotland County

2013 record: 6-4 (3-2 Tri-Rivers Conference)

Coach: Daniel Burns (8-12 at Scotland County, third season)

Offense: Spread option

Defense: Multiple

Returning starters: Offense -- RB Will McRobert, 5-11, 230, Sr.; WR Jade Holt, 5-10, 165, Jr.; OL Landyn Swearingen, 5-11, 220, Sr.; OL Tyler Buford, 6-0, 257; Sr.; TE Ian See, 6-1, 180, Soph.

Defense -- DB Ryan Slaughter, 5-10, 165, Soph.; LB Aaron Buford, 5-9, 165, Soph.; DL Swearingen; LB McRobert; LB Holt; DL T. Buford.

Other returning letterwinners: RB/DB Jacob Hull, 5-9, 160, Sr.; RB/LB Mason VanHoozen, 5-9, 170, Sr.; OL/DL Will Pickerell, 5-10, 170, Soph.; LB Aaron Blessing, 5-10, 170, Soph.; LB Riley Kliethermes, 5-9, 170, Soph.; RB/LB Austin Day, 5-10, 162, Soph.

New faces: OL Joshua Adams, Jr.; OL Bryson Orton, Fr.; OL Stephen Terrill, Fr.; RB/DB Gage Dodge, Fr.

Key losses: QB/DB Cordie Kigar, OL/LB Jed Troutman; WR Chris Jackson, OL/DL Lucas Howard

Outlook: The Tigers are moving pieces around in their backfield except for McRobert, the all-conference back who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns last season despite battling injuries. Who hands McRobert the ball will be different.

Holt started at quarterback last season, but he is moving to a slotback position where his speed and athleticism will be used to both run and catch the ball. Aaron Buford slides in under center and will be asked to do things similar to what Holt did last season when he passed for 800 yards.

Scotland County enjoyed a solid regular season last fall before getting knocked off by Knox County in the district opener. An experienced and electric backfield could keep that from happening again.

-- The Herald-Whig Staff

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