1. BLUE SPRINGS SOUTH
Nine returning starters give the Jaguars more experience than they’re accustomed to having over the last few seasons. The seniors — headlined by two-way players Briley Moore-McKinney and Adam Cofield — were undefeated when they were on the freshman team in 2012.
The defending conference champions have plenty back from last season, and their talent is spread across the skill positions. The Panthers relied on physical football in winning eight games in 2014, and the formula will be much the same this season.
3. LEE’S SUMMIT WEST
After a move to Class 6 that included a learning curve last season, the Titans have made several adjustments to better prepare for big-class opponents this season. A fast defense — showcased by Mario Goodrich’s pick-six on opening night — could string together victories.
4. BLUE SPRINGS
The Wildcats must replace their leading passer, rusher and receiver from last season. They are starting more underclassmen than recent years, but they believe there’s still enough talent to win games. Blue Springs will rely on Tresten Spruell to lead the run-first offense.
5. LEE’S SUMMIT
After the graduation of Simone Award winner Drew Lock, the Tigers’ strength shifts to the defensive side of the football, where they return seven starters. Tasked with replacing Lock, quarterback Dalton Hill had four touchdowns in a season-opening win against Truman.
6. LEE’S SUMMIT NORTH
After winning one game in 2014, the Broncos matched that total in the opening week. The Broncos have more than 90 freshmen who joined the program this season, which could make for an intriguing long-term future.
Offensive player to watch
After battling injuries for the last two seasons, Blue Springs South dual-threat quarterback Noah Nigro enters his senior year healthy, and that could prove critical to the Jaguars’ success.
Defensive player to watch
Lee’s Summit West senior Tyler Boehm disrupts plays in a variety of ways. He returns as the team’s leading tackler after tallying 70 stops last season, and he also had two interceptions, one sack and seven pass break-ups.
“We worked hard all offseason to get this program turned around,” Lee’s Summit North senior Chase Swisher said.