Football Preview 2016

Defense Must Grow Up Quickly for Notre Dame

By TRACY WATSON SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Brian Kelly’s seventh season as coach of Notre Dame could very well turn into one of his most interesting. Kelly, the longest tenured Fighting Irish coach since Lou Holtz was in charge from 1986-96, led Notre Dame to a 10-victory season in 2015 even ...

Non-Conference Schedule Is Huge for Marshall

By TRACY WATSON HUNTINGTON — Coming off another impressive campaign for Coach Doc Holliday’s Marshall football team, it faces a pair of huge non-conference games early in 2016 that could go a long way in deciding its fate. Holliday’s troops finished last season with a 10-3 ledger, ...

Bethany Program Wants to Take the Next Step

By JERROD PLATE BETHANY — Looking to continue its climb up the ladder in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference, the Bethany football program will turn to a solid nucleus of returning starters to improve on a .500 record from a season ago. Entering his fourth season at the helm of the ...

‘Improvement’ Is the Word at Conotton Valley

By CODY TOMER BOWERSTON — ‘Improvement’ seems to be the word Connotton Valley coach Karl Justus and his Rockets are focusing on this season. Last year the Rockets went 1-9 but Justus is taking over as the new head coach and expects his team to compete more in the 2016 campaign. Justus ...

Brutal Schedule Faces Cambridge

By BUBBA KAPRAL CAMBRIDGE — We may never know how good a football team Cambridge is this season. Why? Because the Bobcats tackle a schedule that borders on insanity. Coach Kevin Gunn’s club faces heavyweights Zanesville, Dover and New Philadelphia in successive weeks. Toss in 8-2 ...

Potters to Rely on 17 Seniors

By CODY TOMER EAST LIVERPOOL — Experience should not be an issue for the 2016 East Liverpool football team. The Potters are returning 17 seniors for the upcoming campaign and Coach Josh Ludwig, has had them their whole careers. He has been with the school for five years, serving as the ...

Times Have Changed For Meadowbrook

By RICK THORP BYESVILLE — When Jeff Twiddy arrived at Meadowbrook High School from Canton McKinley in 2015, his hope was that a little of the Bulldogs’ storied past would rub off on his new program. It did. Meadowbrook went 9-1 during the regular season and despite only winning one ...

Clay-Battelle Comes With Loads of Experience

By KYLE LUTZ BLACKSVILLE — After finishing 9-1 in the regular season and making a appearance in the state semifinals in 2014, Clay-Battelle experienced some growing pains during the first half of the 2015 season, experimenting with a somewhat young team. After the first five games, the ...

Kerns Back at Home Coaching Buckeye Trail

By RICK THORP OLD WASHINGTON — Sitting at his desk inside the Buckeye Trail coaches’ office at the Baker Activity Complex, Donnie Kerns couldn’t help but smile. He’s home. A 2000 graduate of the Guernsey County school, Kerns has a vested interest in the success of the program. He ...

Wells Eyes Improvement In Year 2 With the Zeps

By CODY TOMER SARAHSVILLE — After a 4-6 record in his first season at Shenandoah, Jesse Wells believes that despite having a young squad, the Zeps can still be contenders in both the Pioneer Valley Conference and the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference. “Last year we just came in with the ...

Beaver Local Looks to Build on Strong Finish

By BUBBA KAPRAL LISBON — Beaver Local finished the 2015 season on a roll. The Beavers captured five of their last seven games to finish with a 5-5 mark. Coach Jeremy McElroy is looking to build on that late-season momentum for bigger and better things in 2016. Beaver welcomes back six ...

Pitt Offense Looks to Light Up Scoreboard

By TRACY WATSON PITTSBURGH — Even with its all-time leading receiver gone to the National Football League in Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh heads into the 2016 season with what could be one of the most potent offensive attacks in the country. That is assuming Coach Pat Narduzzi’s Panthers ...

Franklin Still Trying Get Penn State on Top

By TRACY WATSON STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State is a team in the Big Ten that could really make some noise in 2016,. But Coach James Franklin’s squad is also one that could struggle and fall by the wayside early on. Franklin has guided the Nittany Lions to a 14-12 record during his ...

Alabama, SEC Trying to Stay in NCAA Penthouse

JOHN ZENOR AP Sports Writer A postseason rampage put both Alabama and the Southeastern Conference back on top in college football last season. Now, the trick will be staying there with three new coaches in the East and quarterback uncertainty across much of the league, including at ...