Scranton, Dunmore and Old Forge enter the season as Lackawanna Football Conference division favorites, in varying degrees.
After sharing the Division 1 championship with Valley View a year ago, another tie at the top would not be surprising for Scranton. This time, Delaware Valley is regarded as nearly equal to the Knights in a preseason analysis of the conference by Go Lackawanna, with input from LFC coaches.
Dunmore, the only LFC team to complete an unbeaten regular season, is favored to defend in Division 2, but Riverside has an impressive group of returning players to help it mount a threat.
Old Forge, another defending champion, is the clear favorite in Division 3 where division newcomer Carbondale looks for a quick turnaround while Lackawanna Trail tries to remain strong.
A look at each division, with last season's record in parentheses:
Scranton (8-4) ran off seven straight wins following its 1-3 start last year.
The Knights used the streak to share the division title and claim the District 2 Class 4A title when they beat Wyoming Valley West 36-7 in the District 2/4-11 playoffs.
Karlon Quiller and Kyle Czarkowski lead a strong group of returnees.
Quarterback Bryan Schor leads the title hopes for Delaware Valley (7-4).
Schor is one of seven offensive starters for the Warriors, who also bring four defensive starters back from a team that reached the District 2/4-11 Class 4A regional.
Valley View (11-2) shared the division title and won the District 2 Class 3A championship last season.
Tyler Phillips, who averaged 9.7 yards per carry while running for 1,553 yards, was a first-team all-star running back.
Scranton Prep (7-4) return six full-time starters on each side of the ball and can put an experienced player at just about every position.
Abington Heights (3-7) will be trying to bounce back into contention after a rare off year.
West Scranton (3-6) has just three seniors with experience.
Wallenpaupack's 2011 lineup was about as heavily senior-dominated as a high school team can be. The Buckhorns (7-4) lost 28 seniors and return just one full-time and one part-time starter.
North Pocono (0-10) was winless and still suffered heavy graduation losses. Former Wyoming Area quarterback Greg Dolhon takes over as coach after spending 11 years as an assistant at Dunmore.
Dunmore (10-1) returns several players who made major contributions to its unbeaten championship regular season, including Austin Seamon and Daiquon Buckley, who combined to rush for more than 2,000 yards.
Riverside (7-5) returns five two-way all-stars from the team that handed Dunmore its only loss in the district semifinals.
Mid Valley (6-5) brings a talented group in its jump from Division 3 to Division 2. Western Wayne (3-7) features five players who earned all-star honors last year. Lakeland (5-6) could remain strong up front. The Chiefs also have seven players who started in the offensive line at one time.
Honesdale (4-6) had just two wins in 2½ seasons before going 3-2 over the second half of the season to tie for second in the division.
The Hornets returns seven starters on offense and six on defense.
Old Forge (10-3) has eight players who received all-star recognition last season when the Blue Devils won both the division and District 2 Class A championships.
Carbondale is almost certain to be able to improve after going 1-9 in 2010 and 2-8 in 2011. The Chargers drop from Division 2 to Division 3 and return 21 of 22 starters.
Lackawanna Trail (8-3) lost a strong senior class, but returns three four-year starters.
John Salinkas takes over as head coach at Susquehanna (5-5) where Dick Bagnall retired after winning 169 games in 28 season.
Holy Cross (4-6) headed into the start of practice with just five seniors and 22 players total on the roster.
Montrose (0-10) enters the season on a 28-game losing streak, the longest in District 2.