2016 record in parenthesis; listed alphabetically

ALGONAC (11-2)

Coach Scott Barnhart returns eight starters on defense from last year’s squad that reached the Division 5 semifinals. Leading the way will be a couple of two-way stars in senior linebacker/running back Luke Stephenson and senior defensive back/running back Steven Rose. Algonac also bring back six starters on offense, including three offensive linemen.

ALMONT (7-4)

Five offensive starters return, led by a pair of three-year starters in senior quarterback Clay Schapman and senior offensive guard Drew Schapman. Sophomore linebacker Jacob Hausmann and senior defensive tackle Martin Saavedra anchor a defense that returns four starters for coach James Leusby.


First-year coach Broderick Smith takes over for Dan Novak, who left for Milford, and will have three starters from last year’s team back on offense and defense. Senior Nate Runstadler takes over at quarterback for the graduated Broderick Smith Jr., while senior Charles Ramsey joins sophomore Aaron Winston and Walled Lake Western transfer Markel Whitaker at running back. Senior receiver Josh Meeks steps into a starting role, and sophomore defensive tackle Marcell Cooper will try to control the line of scrimmage with solid size and quickness.


Five starters return on offense, including senior quarterback Nate Yuhas, who had four touchdowns and more than 400 yards passing last year, and running back Dexter Ferrell, who rushed for more than 600 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016. Senior cornerback Lael Onifade started every game a year ago and leads a defense along with senior linebackers Pat Partin and Langston Laramore-Josey for first-year coach Bill Bellers.


Senior receiver/running back Kejon Hunter and senior quarterback Darryn Davis are the only returning starters on offense. Senior linebacker Jackson Chadwick and sophomore nose tackle Julian Wilson spearhead a defense that returns four starters.

CHELSEA (11-1)

Senior bookends Rafe Reyes and Jeret Hirst and 1,000-yard rusher Gus Reynolds are among four returning starters on offense. Chelsea breaks in a new quarterback as former slot receiver Thomas Steele takes over under center. Senior defensive end Ronnie Buford, defensive tackle Hunter Adams, linebacker Owen Nikischer and cornerback Patrick Bertoni return on defense.


First-year coach Allen Schmidt will rely on a bevy of two-way players to run his flexbone offense and 4-2-5 defense, including senior quarterback/free safety Nathan Muscat, senior receiver/linebacker Mark Mahan, senior receiver/cornerback Keiyon Reese and junior fullback/linebacker Pancho Singleton. Junior cornerback Jesus Sanchez-Carillo leads the defense.


Four starters return on offense, highlighted by three-year starting quarterback Dezmond Ambrose, who had 11 touchdowns and four interceptions last year, and senior receiver/defensive back Charles McAdoo. Senior defensive end Daniel Knight, who has a scholarship offer from Morehead State, is among three starters back on defense.


Three two-way starters are all that remain from coach Dan MacLean’s talented squad that reached the Division 4 state final last year: senior running back/cornerback Isaiah Johnson, senior linebacker/all-purpose offensive player Kolin Demens and senior lineman Christian Love.


Six starters return on offense for coach Cedric Dortch. Senior receiver/safety Treveon Washington brings three touchdowns from last year, and senior center/defensive end Kenneth Tate and junior offensive tackle Jabari Jefferson will anchor the line. Five starters return on defense, including senior cornerback Brandon Robinson and sophomore nose guard Anthony Curry.

MONROE (3-6)

Senior quarterback Caden Brooks and senior receiver Lane Kirk lead seven returning offensive starters. Senior linebacker Austin Sajdak and senior lineman Jared Rochowiak are among six returning starters return on defense for second-year coach Nick Notario.


Mount Clemens could only play a two varsity games and had to forfeit two others last year due to not having enough bodies, but there’s a lot of experience coming back with nine starters back on both sides of the ball for coach Anthony Warchol. The offense will be led by junior Delano Williams, who is a first-year starter at quarterback, junior running back Marquel Wright and sophomore receiver Don Williams. Senior defensive end Tyrone Gregory and defensive back Jalen Williams will spearhead the defense.


Eight starters return on offense, highlighted by senior quarterback Kevin Grigereit and his 700-plus yards passing last year. Six starters return on defense, which will be led by linebackers Bryce Chamberlain, who had double-digit sacks a year ago, and Mike Nicaj, who recorded 110 tackles last year. Junior two-way lineman Matt Hill also returns.


Senior quarterback Eli McLean, who threw for more than 1,200 yards, ran for another 600 and had 14 total touchdowns last year, leads four returning offensive starters, along with senior tackle Sean Cueny, who moves over on the line from tight end. Seven starters return on defense, including senior linebacker Parker Redburn and junior defensive tackle Nick Pollock.


Four starters return on offense, including senior tight end Colton McKiernan and senior left guard Tyler Marino. The starting linbacking unit of juniors Andrew Ball and Eric Barr and senior Bret Hamel are among the five returning starters on defense.

SALINE (11-1)

Offensive line will be a strength where a pair of senior Big Ten commits return in left tackle Dimitri Douglas (Michigan State) and center Zach Drevno (Michigan), son of Michigan offensive coordinator Tim Drevno. Seniors Emmett Turner and Andrew Diuble also return at receiver. Senior linbackers CJ Gildersleeve, who will be playing at Central Michigan next year, and Ethan Collick are the only returning starters on defense for coach Joe Palka.


Former Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson returns eight starters on offense, including senior quarterback Garvin Crout and senior receivers Jalen Allen and Cam Williams. Eight starters return on defense, including senior linebacker Matt Harmon, senior safety Deon Willis Jr. and senior defensive end/linebacker Hahmad Williams.


Six starters return on an offense that features senior dual-threat quarterback Cameron Thompson and senior running back Derek Thomason. Linebacker Will Lynn, a three-year starter, is back as well as junior defensive end Jordan Roberson and five other returning starters on defense. Junior linebacker Trevon Davis will step into a starting role this season.

Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer.