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Football Preview 2017

Shepherd Once Again Chosen to Win MEC

By DON CLEGG BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — The Mountain East Conference hit the gridiron running five short years ago and hasn’t stopped since. Shepherd’s run to the NCAA Division II football “Final Four” a year ago marked the third straight season that an MEC team has won a Region One ...

Hard-Luck Hilltoppers are Looking to Rebound

By DON CLEGG WEST LIBERTY — Veteran head coach Roger Waialae kicked off his 13th preseason camp at the West Liberty helm earlier this month with a bad taste still lingering in his mouth after one of the most frustrating campaigns of his career. Waialae’s 2016 Hilltoppers outscored ...

Oklahoma Selected To Wear Big 12’s Crown

By JIM BUTTA MORGANTOWN — Media members covering the Big 12 decided that Oklahoma will once again be the team to beat in the 10-team league when the season gets under way later this month. They also elected West Virginia to finish among the lower half of the conference despite a ...

Hopes Have Risen Considerably at Warren High

By RON JOHNSTON VINCENT — Warren High won two football games last season. That was two more than it claimed the year before and one more than in 2014. The Warriors are hoping to be on “W” side even more so this upcoming fall. “We have really high hopes for the team,” senior ...

Clay-Battelle Eyes Playoffs

By KYLE LUTZ BLACKSVILLE — Since coming into the OVAC in 2011, Clay-Battelle has put on an impressive showing during the regular season. Last year was no exception as coach Ryan Wilson’s Cee-Bees ended the year with a 7-3 record. The season concluded on a bittersweet note, ...

Indians Strong at Skill Positions

By CODY TOMER SALINEVILLE—Southern Local increased its win total last year from the year before, but head coach Rich Wright knows there is still room for improvement. Two years ago, the Indians turned in a 2-8 record and last season, they finished at a much-improved 4-6 mark, leaving the ...

Nittany Lions Still Climbing

By JOSH STROPE UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — After years of trying to rebuild from the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State finally looks to be back among the nation’s elite programs. The Nittany Lions won the Big Ten and went to the Rose Bowl last season and enter 2017 ranked No. 6 in the ...

South Will Be Depending on Youth This Season

By JOE ALBRIGHT PARKERSBURG — A battle to be the next Parkersburg South quarterback raged on throughout flex days, the three-week period, 7-on-7s, and into fall practice these past three months. Junior Brayden Mooney and sophomore Brandon Penn competed neck-and-neck to determine Brandon ...

Narduzzi Vows Pitt Will Be Disciplined Program

By TRACY WATSON PITTSBURGH — Having players run out of eligibility to play happens every year in college football, and third-year Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi has definitely seen his share of it. However, coming off of back-to-back 8-5 campaigns that each ended with bowl losses, Narduzzi ...

Marshall Seeks Rebound After Sloppy Season

By KYLE LUTZ HUNTINGTON — Going into the 2016 season, Marshall had secured five consecutive bowl victories. Unfortunately, for the Thundering Herd, that streak came to a bitter end after a disappointing 3-9 season. After a 62-0 victory over Morgan State to start the season, Marshall dropped ...

Bison Picked 7th in Presidents’ Athletic Conference

By ANDREW WOODLEY BETHANY — The Bethany College football team was picked to finish seventh at the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) annual Football Media Day held on the campus of Saint Vincent College last month. The Bison will enter the season with more than 15 starters returning ...

Caldwell Wanting To Build on End of Season

By MIKE MORRISON CALDWELL — Second-year head coach Grant Gaydos and his Caldwell Redskins would like to pick up right where they left off at the end of last season. After dropping five of their first six games to begin the season, Caldwell came on strong by winning three of their final ...

Defense Will Have to Lead Colts

By KIM NORTH BYESVILLE — Jeff Twiddy’s first two seasons as football coach at Meadowbrook have been like night and day. The Colts enjoyed a fantastic 2015 season in which they went 9-1 and qualified for the Ohio Division IV state playoffs. However, last fall saw them drop to 2-8. “We ...

Graduation Took Large Toll on Fort Frye Squad

By RON JOHNSTON BEVERLY — Fort Frye took a major graduation hit on the gridiron. Seventeen football players from last year’s school history-making 12-1 team received their diplomas in the spring. “Twelve of those guys were starters, too,” 10th-year coach Eric Huck said. “Since ...

Wells: “It’s Time” for Shenandoah

By MIKE MORRISON SARAHSVILLE — Shenandoah enters 2017 looking to put together its first winning season since 2009 and, according to third-year head coach Jesse Wells. “Its Time.” “It’s Time” is the team slogan for the Zeps as they look to improve on back-to-back 4-6 seasons ...

Sun Belt Thinks It Has New Year’s Day Team

By BRETT MARTEL AP Sports Writer NEW ORLEANS — Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield understood the implication when Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson asserted that the league could have a team in New Year’s Day bowl game for the first time — and win it — as soon as ...

Coaching Carousel Shakes Up Group of Five

By STEVE MEGARGEE AP Sports Writer The coaching carousel could have an impact on which teams from outside the five major conferences have the most success this season. Western Michigan of the Mid-American Conference had an undefeated regular season in 2016, while Houston won the American ...

Transfers Outside of QB Who Could Make Impact

By GENARO C. ARMAS AP Sports Writer MADISON, Wis. — Chris James has waited long enough to take a handoff at Wisconsin. The running back sat out a year after leaving Pittsburgh to move to Madison, looking for a better backfield opportunity. That moment has finally arrived. James is ...

Redshirt Freshman QBs May Be Big in SEC

By STEVE MEGARGEE AP Sports Writer This could turn into a big year for redshirt freshman quarterbacks in the Southeastern Conference. It all depends on how a few preseason competitions turn out. Florida, Tennessee and Texas A&M all have redshirt freshman quarterbacks bidding for ...

Several Freshmen Could Produce Early in NCAA

By STEVE MEGARGEE AP Sports Writer Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher says he learned long ago not to assume which of his freshmen would make the biggest impact each year. How much someone might play in his first college season can depend on everything from his level of homesickness to the ...