▪ AFRICAN CENTERED: The Knights will try to regroup after a winless season, during which they were shut out seven times. Leon McElrath enters his first year as head coach.
▪ BASEHOR-LINWOOD: The Bobcats return only four starters on offense, but they include quarterback Justin Phillips and fullback Austin Ettinger. Phillips threw for 1,083 yards and seven touchdowns, and Ettinger rushed for 678 yards with five touchdowns.
▪ BISHOP WARD: It has been a rough first few years for Tim Dorian and the Cyclones, who have a 2-28 record in three seasons. This year they could be headed for improvement, returning seven starters on each side of the ball. Jordan Mitchell will lead the offense from quarterback and double as a safety.
▪ BONNER SPRINGS: The Braves will try to take another step into the Kansas Class 5A state tournament after losing in the regional round last season. Seniors such as Connor Byers, Michael Amayo, Marcell Holmes and Josh Adams will lead the way.
▪ CENTER: Junior running back Norvell Trent, who had four touchdowns in the opener, is one of several playmakers on offense for Center, which has won at least eight games in three consecutive seasons.
▪ CENTRAL: The Blue Eagles have won at least three games in five straight years, but to climb to the top of the Interscholastic League standings, they will have to unseat Lincoln Prep.
▪ DE SOTO: The Wildcats have some work to do after finishing last in the Frontier League last season, but they bring back first-team all-league selections Cooper Lee at kicker and Mason Clark at running back.
▪ EAST: The Bears have placed an emphasis on defensive intensity after they allowed 47 points per game last season. Xanthanus Pierro scored twice on opening night.
▪ EUDORA: After 16 years as an assistant coach at Eudora, Phil Katzenmeier is taking over. He is the fourth coach in four years for the Cardinals, who return senior linebacker and first-team All-Frontier League selection Travis Neis.
▪ EXCELSIOR SPRINGS: Junior quarterback Anthony Pritzel returns after starting all 10 games last year. Senior Sam Webb is athletic enough to be used just about anywhere on offense. Juniors Mason Moreland and Conner Creason return at linebacker, and senior Brice Mawby will see time at wide receiver and defensive back.
▪ GRAIN VALLEY: In search of their first winning season since 2010, the Eagles have asked quarterback Kellen Holland to take the reins of the offense.
▪ HARMON: The Hawks have some work to do after going 0-9 a year ago. Fifth-year coach Steven Jackson will have some help from top returners Darelle Alexander, Austin Tudor, Braylan Johnson and Edgar Contreras.
▪ HARRISONVILLE: After an 11-win season, the Wildcats have most of their skill players back. That includes quarterback Chance Chamberlain, who threw for 14 touchdowns and ran for 19 more in 2014.
▪ HOGAN PREP: While the Rams must replace their entire offensive line, they’re loaded at the skill positions, with junior DaRon Davis drawing Division I interest. The Rams have won 10-plus games in three straight seasons.
▪ IMMACULATA/MARANATHA CHRISTIAN: Coach Bryan Burdette has a unique challenge this season, trying to combine his Maranatha players with an influx of Immaculata players who used to be their competition. Some players who might lead the team are David Peck, Ben Kynion and Corey Holcomb.
▪ LANSING: The Lions lost five starters on each side of the ball, but return enough talent and experience to rely on a platoon system this season. A few players to watch include Nick Redwine, Riley Deskis and Quinton McQuillan.
▪ LAWSON: The backfield features junior quarterback Cody Glenn and senior running back Larry Richardson. The defense returns juniors Colton Williams (free safety) and Adrean Eskew (linebacker) as well as senior lineman Austin Nye.
▪ LINCOLN PREP: In search of their third straight Interscholastic League title, the Blue Tigers will rely on running backs Kalyn Davis and Travis Martin to carry the offensive load.
▪ LONE JACK: After back-to-back winning seasons, the Mules’ success in 2015 will hinge on the development of the offensive and defensive lines.
▪ LOUISBURG: Just four seasons removed from an undefeated season and the Kansas Class 4A state championship, the Wildcats will rely on top returners Cole Kramer, Anders Vance and Austin Terry to improve on last year’s 3-6 finish.
▪ McLOUTH: Gary Freeman will take the reins after six seasons as defensive coordinator for the Bulldogs. It is his ninth year overall with the program, where he also serves as the strength and conditioning coach.
▪ MIDWAY: Winners of 23 games over the last two seasons, the Vikings have a powerful offensive line and should be in the mix for another Western Missouri Conference title.
▪ NORTHEAST: First-year coach Kevin Bair has turned to quarterback Angel Rodriguez to guide an offense that struggled to score in 2014.
▪ OAK GROVE: The defending Missouri Class 3 state champions maintain a dynamic running game, with three offensive linemen and tailback Landon Cairer returning.
▪ ODESSA: The Bulldogs took a big step forward with seven wins last season, and could be poised for another one with seven starters back on both sides of the ball.
▪ O’HARA: The team is equipped with running backs Brock Hughes and Peyton Jones, but a young, inexperienced line is still looking to develop.
▪ ORRICK: Bryar Martin, last year’s quarterback, will switch to running back. Sophomore Grant Subbemen will take over under center. Junior Alex Stockton will provide pop at both fullback and linebacker.
▪ OSAWATOMIE: The Trojans found a rhythm in the middle of last year, rattling off five consecutive victories and finishing with a 4-2 record in the Pioneer League. They will try to harness that energy and avoid the two straight losses to end the season.
▪ OSKALOOSA: The Bears rarely won comfortably, but they got the job done and won each of their first five games last season. That helped them finish 6-3 overall, with a 5-1 mark in the Northeast Kansas League.
▪ PAOLA: Beginning his 36th year with the school, coach Mike Dumpert will turn to seniors Ryan Gleghorn, Nathan Staats, Alexander Wilson, Zane Clark and Duncan Watrous to improve on last year’s 7-4 finish.
▪ PEMBROKE HILL: There’s a lot of experience back for the Raiders, who return nine offensive starters and nine more on defense, but the team must find a way to finish off its drives this season.
▪ PIPER: The Pirates have lost two big pieces from their Kansas Class 4A state semifinal team, but they return 14 letter winners. The top returner is senior running back Sterling Owens, who rushed for 1,025 yards.
▪ PLEASANT HILL: Coach Greg Smith migrated to Pleasant Hill from Smithville. He inherits a team that won only three games in 2014 but returns 17 starters between its offense and defense.
▪ PLEASANT RIDGE: The Rams’ 5-5 record in 2014 was their best in coach Pat McCollim’s three years at the school, and the return of 15 letter winners should mean more improvement. Three-year starter Nick Holmes will lead the offense from quarterback, with three experienced running backs.
▪ RICHMOND: The offensive backfield will feature senior running back Tommy Wedgeworth and senior fullback Timmy Beasley. The offensive line includes David Parker, Jaeger Plymell and Kanon Franklin.
▪ ROCKHURST: The Hawklets are young after reaching the Missouri Class 6 state championship game last year, but they should be a factor late in the season. Their game plan will be centered around four-star recruit A.J. Taylor.
▪ SCHLAGLE: Although coach Dwayne Williams and the Stallions did not improve their record last season from the previous mark of 4-5, the differences were apparent in the high-scoring offense. It averaged 11.1 more points per game than in 2013.
▪ SMITHVILLE: After 14 seasons coaching Moberly, Jason Ambroson brings a power running game to Smithville, and the Warriors return five linemen who saw significant playing time last season.
▪ SOUTHWEST: The Indians face a difficult schedule, which includes a trip across the state line to face Kansas Class 5A opponent Mill Valley.
▪ SPRING HILL: Jason Feeback inherits a Broncos team that went 4-6 last season. He will have some transitional help from returners such as defensive back Cameron Mills, defensive lineman Nick Nolte and offensive lineman Nick Sprague.
▪ ST. JAMES ACADEMY: The Thunder ended last season on a sour note, losing two of its last three games. Coach Tom Radke said the team is more focused than ever on making the postseason. Senior quarterback Trey Keith will lead the offense.
▪ ST. PIUS X: Despite a young roster, the Warriors have a sizable offensive line, led by Travis Barber and Gabe Jury, which will allow them to expand the playbook.
▪ SUMMIT CHRISTIAN: In only its second full season, Summit Christian has nearly its entire roster returning. The Eagles have a potent offense that scored 56 points on opening night.
▪ SUMNER ACADEMY: The Sabres have won just two games in each of the last four seasons, but they have a chance for a fresh start under first-year coach and former assistant Andrew Wright. They start the season against Bishop Ward, which was one of their two wins last season.
▪ TONGANOXIE: Experienced two-way players will lead the way for the Chieftains, who finished 2-7 a year ago. Returning starters William Woodyard and Sammy Sigourney will anchor the offensive and defensive lines.
▪ TURNER: In his fourth year with the Golden Bears, coach Jeremy Milne will try to keep building a program that went 3-6 in 2014. He will have some help from returners Andre Jackson, Gabe Alvarez, Arnez Dowdy and Xavier Delatorre.
▪ UNIVERSITY ACADEMY: There’s some experience back for University Academy, including three-year starting quarterback Monta Porter and running back David Robinson, who rushed for 1,243 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.
▪ VAN HORN: After back-to-back Crossroads Conference titles, the Falcons will embrace a youth movement in 2015, though that doesn’t eliminate them from the league’s championship picture.
▪ WASHINGTON: New coach Maurice Mack inherits a squad that went 5-4 overall and 4-1 in the Kansas City Atchison League last season. The defense was a point of pride, registering three shutouts and two in KCAL action.
▪ WEST PLATTE: West Platte’s option offense will feature a new quarterback this season. That, along with a deep pool of returning talent on both sides of the ball, has the Blue Jays taking aim at a district championship.
▪ WYANDOTTE: Michael Lockett and the Bulldogs should be in prime position to improve on last year’s 2-7 record after losing just six seniors. The team will rely on veterans running back William Smith, safety Kendrick Jackson and quarterback Marcus Jones.
| Sam McDowell, Kathleen Gier and Todd Engle contributed to this report.