Last seasons record (9-3)
The defending Mountain 7 champions are faced with the daunting task of replacing All State running back and linebacker Mason Polier who accounted for 130 tackles last season while rushing for nearly 1,900 yards and 30 touchdowns. That’s not all. Bryce Guerrant who was a leader on both sides of the ball must be replaced as well as the Mountain 7 Lineman of the Year in Trevor Wagner. Also gone is playmaker Antwun Jenkins who led the Bears in interceptions on defense and was a threat to take any pass or handoff to the house. All in all eight nine starters are to be replaced but a savvy group of veterans do return for Travis Turners Bears. Quarterback Brody Gibson returns after getting the starting nod his junior year. Running back Zavier Lomax returns for his junior season after suffering a season ending injury against Paintsville in the sixth game of the season. Lomax will get a bulk of the carries while C.J. Jones, Peyton Honeycutt, Johnny Satterfield and Trey Smith will get some touches out of the backfield. Sure handed receivers Alex Rasnick and Malachi Jenkins return as does tight end Ethan Mabe. Dakota Houston will get some run at receiver while freshmen Reyshawn Anderson and Keyshawn Anderson bring versatility to the offense and defense. Carson Ray and Zach Hall will anchor the offensive line. Rasnick and Jenkins will man down the secondary while Jones and Smith will lock down the linebacker spots along with Satterfield. Iron man Tanner Jervis and Landon Parsons return to the defensive line. The defense got out to a hot start as they pitched a shutout in a 28-0 season opening win over Lee High on Monday night. Look for Union to once again be in contention for a Mountain 7 title.
Last seasons record (9-3)
Last season didn’t end like the Wolfpack envisioned as Wise Central shocked the Wolfpack in the Region 2D semi finals atop Rose Ridge in what is now deemed as the The Fog Bowl. Obviously all eyes this season will be on Ridgeview running back Trenton Adkins who inked to play college football at Toledo this coming fall. Adkins earned All State honors last season as he rushed for a remarkable 2,856 yards and 47 touchdowns. Adkins isn’t the only key contributor to return as first year head coach Todd Tiller gets starting quarterback Nick Phillips back while Brandon Beavers and Cannon Hill return at the receiver positions. Seniors Andrew Edwards and Lucas Deel return to anchor the offensive line while Caden Gibson and Shane Deel return to man the defensive line. Hill will return to his linebacker while Phillips and Adkins present a very capable secondary. The Wolfpack began this season just like they ended last season, with a 14-7 loss to Central at home. With how rugged and competitive the Mountain 7 is, Ridgeview will look to ride Phillips and Adkins into contention for a district title.
Wise Central Warriors
Last seasons record (10-3)
Maybe the surprise team of last year, the Wise Central Warriors certainly won’t sneak up on anybody this year. En route to a runner up finish in Region 2D, the Warriors took down the likes of Union, Richlands and Ridgeview before falling to Graham in the region championship at Mitchell Stadium. After barely squeaking by a Virginia High team that finished 1-9 and getting blown out by an Abindgon team that was 2-3 at the time, Central put the region on notice with a 21-13 win over Union that they dominated from beginning to end. Central would string together seven straight wins after the loss to the Falcons and became the talk of the region. Now this season, the target sits square on the Warriors back as they bring back plenty of experience. Wingbacks C.J. Crabtree and Matthew Boggs return to a loaded backfield that includes fullback Noah Bolling. The trio combined to rush for 42 touchdown as Crabtree led the way with 22 scores and amassing 1,877 rushing yards. Boggs recorded 10 scores to go along with 585 rushing yards while Bolling tallied 10 touchdowns and 559 yards rushing. Ethan Mullins returns under center where he threw for nearly 1,000 yards and 9 touchdowns. Mullins was also named to the VHSL All State team as a defensive back. He gets his favorite target back in Ben Brickey who was named to all All Region team as he hauled in 5 touchdowns to go along with over 500 receiving yards. Tyson Tester returns at tight end and linebacker where he led the team in tackles last season. Maddox Reynolds returns in the secondary with Brickey and Mullins to form a dangerous trio. Coach Luke Owens retains every starter on the defensive side of the ball. The Warriors opened their season with an impressive 14-7 victory over Ridgeview to get their quest for a Mountain 7 title underway. Look for the Warriors to be contending for a district championship when the dust settles.
Lee High Generals
Last seasons record (0-10)
Coming in to the 2021 spring season the Generals of Lee High are sporting a 16 game losing streak that they’re looking to get rid of. The Generals last tasted victory in September of 2018. Coach Alec Haston will be looking to junior Tanner Laster to lead the offense from the quarterback position. Last led the Generals with 11 touchdowns on the ground last season. Jonathan Blanken, Ethan Blanken and Trent Baker will get carries out of the backfield for the Generals while Ethan Blanked will also get some looks at receiver. Brennan Ely will man the tight end position. Richard Lovell returns to anchor the offensive and defensive lines while Landon Laster brings versatility to both sides of the ball. Lee High opened their season Monday night with a 28-0 defeat at the hands of the Union Bears.
Gate City Blue Devils
Last seasons record (4-7)
Jeremy Houseright’s Blue Devils snuck in to last years playoffs and almost came away with an opening round upset over the Union Bears at Bullitt Park. It took the late game heroics of Mason Polier to stave off the Blue Devils in game that ended with a 20-19 final in favor of the Bears. The Devils put Southwest Virginia on notice as they opened up last season with a victory over the Richlands Blue Tornado at Ernie Hicks Stadium. A taste of success has the folks from Scott County wanting more. They will have to replace 13 kids that graduated that included starting linemen Logan Davidson and Kert Gibson. Tight End/Receiver Jon Sallee and a running back duo of Michael Calhoun and Logan Tomlinson are also going to be missed. Quarterback Luke Reed returns to lead the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Carson Jenkins brings versatility and can play receiver and tailback. Ethan Fleming, Will Edwards and Brady Edwards will all be called upon to bring leadership. The Devils suffered a setback to open up this seasons campaign as they were defeated by John Battle 16-6.
The Abingdon Falcons finished last season at 5-6 after they were upended in the opening round of the class 3 playoffs by the Northside Vikings. They lost three of their last four games and were without star running back Martin Lucas due to a late season injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. It was an up and down year for the Falcons as they started the year 2-0 and lost their next three games before winning their next two and ultimately limping to the finish line. Lucas ran for nearly 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns last season before suffering his injury. The William & Mary commit has been in the weight room getting bigger and stronger. Coach Garrett Amburgey lost quarterback River Carter to graduation but will have Cole Lambert step in and take the snaps. 6’4 Peyton McClanahan returns to his receiver position and will be joined by Haynes Carter and Ethan Doane. Junior Malique Hounshell shined last year in the absence on Lucas and rushed for almost 700 yards and 7 touchdowns. On defense, the Falcons return four members from the secondary , in Carter, Bishop Cook, Jack Puckett and Timmy Jessee. Jake Johnson and Connor Barton return to the linebacker spots while Eli Ratcliffe and weight room warrior Reese Jones will anchor the defensive line. Plenty of experience looms so look for the Falcons to rebound and be in contention for a Mountain 7 title this season.
John Battle Trojans
Last seasons record (2-8)
After not making much noise last season, the John Battle Trojans start the 2021 spring campaign off 1-0 after defeating the Gate City Blue Devils 16-6 on Monday night at Legion Field. After starting last season out at 1-1, the Trojans dropped six consecutive games and lost star running back Dylan Cunningham to a torn acl in the process. Coach Bradley Ricker is leaning heavily on senior quarterback Jack Thurston. Thurston is the top returning weapon on offense for the Trojans. Nick Lall and Chase Martin return to the offense and will be weapons at the receiver and running back positions. Battle is hoping that this seasons 1-0 start will accumulate more wins in hopes of earning a shot at the playoffs.