MCMECHEN - With four returning offensive linemen and standout running back Jordan Bonar returning, Bishop Donahue is looking poised to make a third straight trip to the playoffs.
Bonar rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and scored 15 touchdowns as Bishop Donahue advanced into the quarterfinals of the West Virginia Class A playoffs before losing to East Hardy.
''The expectations don't change,'' Bishop Donahue coach John Durdines said. ''We expect to come out every night and work hard and get right back to the playoffs. Once you've tasted the playoffs and you've been there, we keep wanting more and want to go further.
''Every team starting out has to be thinking that. The biggest thing is to keep playing up to its expectations and up to its level. We can't take anything for granted. We know we are going to have to outwork teams because teams are getting better and we have a tough schedule again this year.''
Bonar, a second team all-stater and first team All-Valley selection, will be the lead horse this year after splitting carries with the graduated Ollie Parker.
Saquan Hill was the third-string back last year and figures to get more carries, along with sophomores Andrew Cunningham and Brett Moore.
Matt Vucelik and Alex Riedel are ''1A and 1B'' at fullback.
The offensive line features the returns of center Chris Vani, guard Gino Aquilino, and tackles Nick Fallova and Jacob Zombek.
The other guard spot is a four-man race between Chase Padlow, Billy Bauerle, C.J. Huff and Lane LeMasters. Freshmen Bo Campbell and Dylan Druschel are also in the mix for playing time along the line.
With Bonar returning along with an experienced line, that should make things easier for the winner of the quarterback job between junior Hunter Kaschke and sophomore Jesse Padlow, who are looking to replace Cody Ballard.
''It's up for grabs and it has been all through June and two-a-days,'' Durdines said. ''Padlow and Kaschke have been neck-and-neck. They are both athletic enough to where if they don't get the quarterback job, they will be able to play other positions. Right now, we are letting scrimmages dictate and it's really 50-50.
''They both run the ball exceptionally well and have their reads down both pre- and post-snap. Whenever you return someone like Jordan Bonar, he is going to be your focal point but balance is going to be our strength. We are going to be able to throw the ball and not just be a running attack or a passing attack.''
Whomever wins the job will have a good set of receivers to throw to in Lavonte Hampton, Josh Miller, and David Beazel.
In with them are senior Logan Herrick, junior Austin Cunningham, sophomore Dalton Lantz, and freshmen Will Robinson and Cole Berletch.
The defense will be led by Hill at inside linebacker, who led the Bishops with 126 tackles in his junior season.
''He will be the leader,'' Durdines said. ''He is very smart and will be making all the calls. Matt Vucelik is one of the smarter players, too, and he is a great complement to have next