The Southern Central Athletic Association is getting a new look in 2012 as some teams have left the conference and another has been added.
With more small-school programs going to 8-man football, Class D leagues like the Southern Central Athletic Association will need to adapt going forward. St. Philip and Waldron have both moved to 8-man football and have left the SCAA for the 2012 football season. Litchfield left the league two seasons ago to go to 8-man football.
The SCAA will now be a 7-team league with Adrian Lenawee Christian joining the group. Adrian Lenawee Christian is relatively new to football, starting a full varsity schedule in 2009.
Perennial powers Pittsford and North Adams-Jerome could be strong again in 2012. Pittsford is coming off a playoff season in which it went 7-3 last year and North Adams-Jerome went 5-4 a year ago after going 9-3 in 2010.
The class of the league should again be Climax-Scotts, an annual threat to go the distance in Division 8 as the Panthers went 10-2 last year and have the talent to match that again this season.
Bellevue and Colon, who have grown their programs over the past few years, could again contend this season.
* Head coach: Doug Blattner (5th season)
* 2011 record: 6-4
* Top returners: Zach Webb (sr., QB), Cole Madry (jr., FB), Joe Coltson (sr., DE), Joe Gowers (jr. OL), Bruce Madry (sr., LB), Ethan Bloch (jr., DB), Tyler Lane (jr., RB), Dakota Rose (jr., WR)
* Outlook: After never making the playoffs in the history of the school, Bellevue has been to the postseason in each of the last two years. It will be a challenge to keep that going with a young roster. The Broncos only have three seniors returning with playing experience, but a good start is to have leadership at the quarterback position with senior Zach Webb.
The Bellevue defense could step up with two senior returners leading the way in Joe Coltson and Bruce Madry.
“We are looking to be competitive in games, going to be a young team with not a lot of playing experience,” Bellevue coach Doug Blattner said.
* Head coach: Kevin Langs (14th season)
* 2011 record: 10-2
* Top returners: Kirk Gibson (sr., RB/DB), Robert Thompson (sr., OL/DL), Zachary Nabozny (sr., QB/DB), Garrett Bartholomew (sr., OL/DL), Alex Lodes (sr., RB/DB), Aaron Cook (sr., TE/DE), Logan Simmons (jr., RB/LB), Samuel Eshuis (jr., RB/DB)
* Outlook: When you win 10-plus games in eight of your last nine years, expectations are high . The Panthers advanced to the third round of the playoffs last season with a squad that depended more on defense than in past years and needed to. The Climax-Scotts offense scored 100 less points over the year than in any season since 2002.
Clilmax-Scotts could have the athletes to pick it back up on offense in the Panthers’ wing-T offense with Kirk Gibson returning at running back and Zachary Nabozny returning at quarterback. Climax-Scotts also has Alex Lodes lining up at running back after he was the state champ in the 100 and 200 dash last spring. Up front, Climax-Scotts can depend on four-year letterman 6-0, 280-pound Robert Thompson at tackles and two-year letterman Garrett Bartholomew at guard.
* Head coach: Spencer Henley (9th season)
* 2011 record: 4-4
* Top returners: Brad Yoder (sr., LB/FB), Jimmy West (sr., DL/OL), Kyler Thibideau (sr., LB/OL), Kory Smoker (sr., DB/WR), Anthony Saxman (sr., OL/DL), David Parrish (sr., RB/DB), Chase Morris (sr., OL/DE), Brandon Kauffman (sr., RB/DB), Ryan Johnson (sr., RB/DB)
* Outlook: After making the playoffs for two straight seasons, Colon just missed last year with a 4-4 record. The Magi think they can get right back in the postseason this year with a deep, experienced squad with 11 seniors returning with playing experience. Senior quarterback Arron Balizet will lead an offense that will include an experienced offensive, featuring Jimmy West, Kyler Thibideau, Anthony Saxman, Chase Morris and Jesse Binkley. Morris and Brad Yoder, both getting interest from Division II and Division III colleges for football, also lead a strong defense.
To get back over .500, Colon will be challenged as it has seen its schedule get tougher with two games on the list against perennial power Climax-Scotts, to make up for St. Philip dropping to 8-man football.
“With 11 seniors returning we should be in position to challenge for the league title,” Colon coach Spencer Henley said. “With 23 varsity players we have had good competition during camp and the players have come together as a family.”