(2016 record in parenthesis; listed by predicted order of finish)
MILAN (9-2, 6-1)
With six starters returning on both sides of the ball, including senior offensive lineman Michael Furtney (6-foot-5, 280 pounds), Milan should be a heavy favorite to repeat as league champions after sharing the title with Grosse Ile in 2016. Coach Jesse Hoskins also boasts a big playmaker on the defensive side, as sophomore defensive back Tristen Hines racked up 75 tackles and six interceptions as a freshman last fall.
NEW BOSTON HURON (6-4, 4-3)
Tim Spiess takes over at New Boston Huron. He brings his son, Marek, with him as his starting quarterback this season. How the team reacts to a new coach and new signal caller will go a long way in determining the success it has this fall.
RIVERVIEW (2-7, 2-5)
If there’s one team in the Huron League whose fortunes could change for the better in 2017, that team is probably Riverview, who returns nine starters on offense and defense. Senior running backs Cam Rogers (550 rushing yards in six games) and Zach Guthrie (637 all-purpose yards), and junior Kyle Naif (330 rushing yards) are all part of a rushing attack that could power a turnaround this fall.
MONROE ST. MARY CATHOLIC CENTRAL (4-5, 4-3)
With two tough losses by a combined seven points to New Boston Huron and Monroe Jefferson in 2016, SMCC will be looking to rebound and get back into the postseason this fall. Coach Adam Kipf returns five players on both sides of the ball, but it’s the slew of experience on the defensive side that could be key this season. Collin Woolford is the top returning threat at running back after racking up 953 yards and 12 touchdowns last fall.
FLAT ROCK (4-5, 2-5)
Experience is the name of the game in the league this fall as Flat Rock also brings back plenty of players with experience, returning nine starters on offense and seven on defense. Senior linebacker Sameer Tayeb led the league in tackles last season with 120, while four-year starter Mason Hamilton (6-2, 230) should be a handful on both sides of the line. Coach Brandon Reaume said his team isn’t allowed to make excuses this year after a lot of struggles in the second half of games last season. Depth should improve this year, as Reaume expects 39 players to dress for the varsity this season.
CARLETON AIRPORT (1-8, 0-7)
Jim Duffy takes over at his alma mater with hopes of guiding the program back to the state playoffs for the first time since 2012. With five returning starters on the offensive line and a bevy of team speed, that goal is attainable. Senior quarterback Tanner Jeska will be asked to run the Wing-T offense with senior running back Mike Foor and junior running back Bryce Bondy. Duffy says he’ll open things up down the field a little more than your traditional Wing-T offense would, but he expects big things out of Bondy given the leadership he’s shown during the offseason.
MONROE JEFFERSON (5-5, 4-3)
After finishing .500 or better for the first time since 2008 and making the playoffs for the first time in 10 years, Jefferson coach Gene Gennoe will have a lot of spots to fill this fall with just four players returning on each side of the ball.
GROSSE ILE (8-2, 6-1)
After a banner season and a share of the league title in 2016, Grosse Ile coach John Bodner has his work cut out for him with just one returning starter on offense and two on defense.