MOUNTAIN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE 2017 HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREVIEW:
The Clearfield Bison will start the season in a position to defend their 2016 Mountain Athletic Conference title, relying on 12 returning starters and a core of underclassmen who will be able to contribute right away.
Head coach Tim Janocko is beginning his 33rd season, and will once again be considered a playoff contender.
While Clearfield won the league, the Central Dragons enjoyed a run to the state semifinals in 2016. Central will have the ability to make a repeat trip to December, but will need to rely on experience at the quarterback position and along the lines.
Look for Bellefonte to make gains this coming season under Shanon Manning after the Red Raiders bowed out of the playoffs a year ago, losing to Clearfield in the first round. The key will be how fast Bellefonte is able to learn a new offense.
After over a decade of finishing about the five-hundred mark, Tyrone took a small step back last season, falling to 5-6. However, injuries could be blamed for their missteps. Now healthy, the Golden Eagles will be on the rebound returning 15 starters. The biggest question mark - especially early in the season - will be Tyrone's young offensive line.
Huntingdon made some gains a year ago, finishing 6-6 overall with a loss to Central in the district semifinals. Look for head coach Michael Hudy's offense to take some risks and reap some rewards this season utilizing more of a spread offensive attack.
The Penns Valley Rams need to replace several skill players to make a go of it in 2017 after graduation hit the program hard this past spring. But with experience returning in a key spot - along the lines - Martin Tobias' club could improve on a three-win campaign.
This will be year two under Jesse Nagle at Bald Eagle Area High School. With that, there should be marked improvement especially when it comes to the offensive and defensive systems his coaching staff employs. But the lack of size up front could be a deterrent from taking the big step forward that could still be a few years away.
Philipsburg-Osceola did not earn a conference win in 2016, but a season finale 34-13 victory over St. Joseph's Catholic Academy is what they'll want to remember entering the new campaign. Michael Soyster's program opens the season facing West Branch.
Catch WJAC-TV's 6 Sports "Two-A-Days" segment previewing the 2017 high school football season every night at 6 &11 leading up the opening week of the season.