After winning the Class B state championship last season, Laverne returns as the favorites to win the district.
The Tigers have several key contributors back, including a talented backfield combination of quarterback Tucker Rolf, fullback Dalton Birch, and tailback Trevor Harris.
“They're pretty good skill kids,” said coach Tim Allen. “They've all got pretty good speed and things that allow us to do some different things with them.”
The trio rushed for 478 yards in the state championship game, each going for over 150, as the Tigers beat district rival Pond Creek-Hunter 50-19.
CAN PC-HUNTER OVERCOME LAVERNE?
Pond Creek-Hunter lost two games last season. Both losses came in big-time showdowns against Laverne.
The first was a 36-18 defeat in the de facto district championship game, and the second was a 50-19 rout in the Class B state title game.
With six starters back on offense and five on defensive, the Panthers once again have the talent to play for championships.
Senior Trenton Grimes, a three-year starter, rushed for 1,053 yards and 14 touchdowns last season while splitting time at running back.
Grimes will have an experienced offensive line to help create holes in front of him.
JUNIOR CLASS DEEP AT GARBER
Garber will be lead by a deep junior class this season, highlighted by Trenton Harmon (RB/LB), Dallas Hunt (WR/DB), and Alec Monsees (RB/LB).
Each member of the trio started last year and has the speed and versatility to make an impact on both sides of the ball.
Harmon played a key role on the defense last season with 134 tackles and 10 sacks. He's expected to take on a bigger role in the offense after racking up 765 all-purpose yards and scoring seven touchdowns as a sophomore.
Hunt (84 tackles, six interceptions) and Monsees (73 tackles) also had impressive sophomore campaigns on defense.
WILDCATS HAVE DEPTH ADVANTAGE
Despite being a young team, Covington-Douglas comes into the season with an advantage in numbers.
The Wildcats have the depth to rest key players on each side of the ball, giving them a luxury few eight-man teams have.
Regardless of depth, junior TE/LB Dylan Daugherty won't be coming off the field much.
Daugherty had 123 tackles and 340 receiving yards last season.
Merritt's Pierson Waugh (FB) and Cody Pruitt (RB) each rushed for over 900 yards last season. ... Canton seniors Lance Sessions (LB), Kendall Schoonmaker (RB), and Wade Webb (RB/DE) are three-year starters. ... Ringwood returns seven starters, including 1,500-yard rusher Eudaldo Gomez. ... New Seiling coach Bruce Hendrickson has never seen an eight-man game.
District B-1 coaches' poll
1. Laverne (14-0)
2. Pond Creek-Hunter (12-2)
3. Ringwood (5-5)
4. Garber (9-3)
5. Seiling (4-6)
6. Covington-Douglas (5-5)
7. Merritt (6-5)
8. Canton (4-6)
9. Waukomis (1-9)
10. Medford (1-9)
Note: Last year's records in parentheses