(listed in order of 2013 district finish)
2013 record: 10-3, 4-0 district (lost to Newport Central Catholic, 34-12 in regional final)
Head coach: Tim Browning (ninth year at Gallatin County, 44-44)
Key losses: WR/DB Nate McCoy, OL/DL Matt First, QB Austin Chapman
Key returnees: Sr. RB/DE Chris Brown (1,078 yards rushing, 8.1 yards per carry, 15 TDs, 93 tackles, 4.5 sacks), Sr. OL/DL Parker Duryea (50 tackles), Sr. DB Kevin Bisson (118 tackles)
Outlook: The Wildcats are rebuilding with a pair of starters returning to the multiple offense after the best year in school history brought them their first district championship and first appearance in the regional final.
“We lost 16 seniors, all of which played major roles,” Browning said. “So, this will be a major rebuilding year for us. We have our leading rusher returning in Chris Brown. Our offense will revolve around him. We’re only returning one starter on the line. Defensively, we will have many holes to fill in the 4-3/5-2, with three returning starters on that side of the ball.”
2013 record: 9-3 overall, 3-1 district (lost to Newport Central Catholic, 36-0 in second round of playoffs)
Head coach: Jeff Barth (6th year at Walton-Verona, 37-21)
Key losses: RB Chris Latimore, RB/DB Jake Higgins, OL/DL Benjamin Whelan
Key returnees: Sr. G/DE David Carr (58 tackles, 6.5 sacks), Sr. RB Mason Compton (1,155 yards rushing), Sr. QB Justin Kline 1,061 yards passing, 12 TDs, 7 INT), Sr. OT/DT Joey Coomer, Sr. DE Cody Catlett (53 tackles), Sr. RB Will Latimore, Sr. OT Danny Martin, Sr. DB Ryan Martin (45 tackles), Jr. C Noah Martin, Jr. DB Noah Richardson, So. ILB Hunter Ruber (57 tackles)
Top newcomers: Fr. LB, Noah Hammond, Fr. WR Zach Clinkenbeard
Outlook: The district’s most veteran team, the Bearcats welcome back seven defensive starters, at least two in each position area. There are seven starters returning to the hybrid Wing-T offense, where there’s depth in the backfield with emerging junior Halsey Page. The team takes it’s lead from Carr, a 6-2, 235 college prospect who becomes the school’s first ever four-year two-way starter.
“The main leader of our football team, our heartbeat,” Barth said of Carr, the team’s strongest player and one of its fastest, and who’s been invited to play in the Blue-Grey All-Star Game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa in January. “His size is an issue with some Division I schools, but his performance at the Blue-Grey combines at Paul Brown Stadium put him in elite status for defensive linemen, earning an invite to the combine in Canton,” Barth said.
2013 record: 6-6 overall, 2-2 district (lost to Gallatin County, 49-26 in first round of playoffs)
Head coach: Michael Weedman (eighth year at Carroll County, 37-37)
Key losses: QB John Adams, RB Keifer McIntyre, RB Blake Newby, WR Jacob Wise Key Returnees: Sr. OT/DE Caleb Guenthner (86 tackles), Sr. FB/LB Dean Taylor, Jr. RB Kyle Prosser (332 yards rushing, 10.2 yards per carry), Jr. RB Cameron Rose, Jr. RB/DB Logan McIntyre (3 interceptions), Sr. OL/LB Ramsey Gordon
Top newcomer: Jr. QB Isaiah Hogan
Outlook: There’s momentum after the team outscored its last three regular-season opponents and the first postseason foe by an average score of 40-9, but this is the fewest seniors (10) Weedman has had. Although five of the top seven rushers graduated, the Panthers remain committed to the running game after amassing 2,845 yards on the ground with five players over 300 yards but none with 100 carries. There is a new quarterback after the team passed for 691 yards last season. Prosser has recovered from a knee injury. The 6-3, 270-pound Guenthner is one of the district’s top players.
2013 record: 2-9 overall, 1-3 district (lost to Newport Central Catholic, 47-14 in first round of playoffs)
Head coach: Adam Fowler (seventh year at Owen County, 27-40)
Key losses: LB Logan Lowe, WR Logan Webster, DT Jesse McCracken
Key returnees: Jr. FB/LB Garrett Cobb, Sr. QB/FS Tanner Smith, Sr. RB/SS Brady Young
Top newcomers: Fr. WR/DE Dominick Barnett, Fr. C/LB David Gray
Outlook: There is continuity with seven starters returning to the Pistol Spread offense, including Young, the leading rusher, and Smith the quarterback. Six return to the 4-4 defense.
“We are excited to start this season,” Fowler said. “Garrett Cobb has returned from a dislocated knee and will be our fullback. Brady Young will be our best speed back. Tanner Smith returns at quarterback after starting as a junior. We also return all of our offensive line with the exception of the center.”
Trimble County Raiders
2013 record: 0-10, 0-4
Head coach: Justin Franklin (third year, 1-19)
Key losses: WR/DB Devin Drury, OL/DL Chad Hemingway, OL/DL Aaron Lloyd, QB Tevin Taylor
Key returnees: Sr. RB/DE Bo Hawkes, Jr. WR/S Justin Isaac, Sr. QB/DB T.J. Payton
Outlook: Nowhere to go but up for the Raiders after a winless season in which they were outscored 358-66 with just four seniors on the roster. This year, there are 16 seniors.