Offensive player to watch
Liberty quarterback AJ Cambric has drawn interest from a host of Division I schools, though he’s yet to make a decision on his future. A 6-3, 230-pound quarterback with a strong arm, Cambric threw for more than 2,000 yards last season.
Defensive player to watch
How’s this for a position combination? Park Hill sophomore Chester Graves was not only an all-conference defensive end last season, he also served as the Trojans’ kick returner for a chunk of the season. Graves (6-4, 215) is a highly-touted athlete with the speed to blitz off the edge.
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The top three teams in the conference — Liberty, Park Hill and Park Hill South — will all win at least one playoff game this season.
The newcomers in the conference immediately become the team to beat. The Blue Jays won seven games in Missouri Class 6 last season, but will drop to Class 5 this year. They return quarterback A.J. Cambric and tailback Devon Bryant, arguably the top offensive duo in the conference.
2. PARK HILL
The Trojans return all 11 offensive starters from last season, and they are eager to welcome back running back Kenyatte Harris, who rushed for more than 400 yards in three weeks last fall before breaking his wrist. Linebacker Carter Anchors and Jamaal Brazil will pilot the defense.
3. PARK HILL SOUTH
The offense returns a wealth of experience at the skill positions, but the Panthers must replace all five offensive linemen. Senior quarterback Shaefer Schuetz offers as much experience under center as any passer in the area. He has started since late in his freshman season.
4. ST. JOSEPH CENTRAL
The entire offensive line returns for the Indians, who have won exactly six games in three straight seasons. But there’s little other experience on the field. The team has only two returning starters on defense.
The Patriots didn’t win a game last season, and they were only competitive in two of the 10 losses. Second-year coach Gregg Webb believes his team has improved, with quarterback Dean Clemons and running back Jordan Salima returning to run the show.
Former NFL defensive back Kiwaukee Thomas was hired as the Eagles’ fourth head coach in the last four seasons. The team will count on wide receiver Rhochard Lawrence and offensive lineman Mike Young to rebuild the offense.