FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Heading into the 2014 football Leo looks to exit the conference on the heels of another championship, as the Lions are teaming up with Huntington North and six current NHC teams to form a new conference in 2015. Both South Adams and Adams Central are experienced, with the Starfires coming off their first sectional title in 17 seasons. Randy Hudgins takes over in Bluffton, while Woodlan looks to replace the program’s all-time leading rusher in Jaylin Bennett. Heritage returns the majority of its skill position players off a 7-4 team while Jay County has a new home after playing as an independent with Garrett moving back to the NECC.
ADAMS CENTRAL (1A) HC: Michael Mosser (6th) 6-5 IN 2013
Jets return seven starters on offense, eight starters on defense; QB Andrew Hammond (534 Yds. passing, 7 TD) returns after starting as a freshman ; 1st-team all-state TE Koty Frauhiger returns; Defense yielded just 19 points per game last season; Added Bellmont & Eastside to schedule in place of Blackford & Union County.
BLUFFTON (2A) HC: Randy Hudgins (1st) 5-6 IN 2013
Hudgins comes to Bluffton from Columbia City to take over for Casey Kolkman; Tigers have not finished above .500 since 2003; QB Malcolm Marshall (1,321 Yds.) & RB/LB Mike Pearson graduted; 16 overall starters return; RB D’Wayne Eskridge is back after stellar sophomore season (1,164 Yds., 17 Total TD); Senior Eric Baumgartner anchors offensive & defensive line;.
HERITAGE (3A) HC: Dean Lehrman (4th) 7-4 IN 2013
Patriots return senior QB Branson Dossen (2,467 Yds., 20 TDs), RB Justyn Hart (915 Yds.) & WR Nate Roop (40 catches, 484 Yds.); Offensive line must replace many experienced players; Defensive ends Jacob Meyers & Brad Scott bring size & experience to defensive line.
JAY COUNTY (4A) HC: Tim Millspaugh (2nd) 7-4 IN 2013
Patriots join ACAC after three-year wait; Averaged 305 yards rushing per game; QB Nick Clemens returns; Must replace graduated RB JD Mangas (1,803 Yds.); Five starters return on defense.
LEO (4A) HC: Jared Sauder (9th) 10-1 IN 2013
Lions have gone undefeated in regular season two of last three years; Must replace offensive linemen; Three starters return on offense including QB Jordan Hissong & RB Logan Leiter (1,398 Yds., 17 TDs); Six starters return on defense including DL JuJuan Allen.
SOUTH ADAMS (1A) HC: Rick Burkhalter (2nd) 5-8 IN 2013
Starfires won first sectional title since 1996; Senior QB Derek Wanner (1,274 Yds. Passing, 11 TDs, 687 Yds. Rushing), RB/DB Skylar Schoch (1,179 Yds. Total offense) & RB Drew LeFever (691 Yds. Rushing) return; Offensive line returns all five starters.
WOODLAN (2A) HC: Sherwood Haydock (4th) 8-4 IN 2013
Warriors made it to sectional title game in 2013, losing 20-13 to Bremen; RB Jaylin Bennett (2,320 Yds.) is now at Indiana State; WR Shawn Kitzmiller & QB Rick Ehle will lead offense; DLs Mitchell VanBrocklin & Hunter Louden will anchor defense that gave up only 128 yards rushing per game last season.