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Lakeland Eagles

Head coach: John Maltese, 11th year (49-47)

Last year: 4-5, did not make playoffs

Staff: James Loisel, Larry Chludzinski, Pat Kosowski, Steve Stewart, Danny Taylor, Steven Dorbeff, Mike Maltese, Jr.

Best players: Sr. RB/DB Anthony Waite (5-10, 180); Sr. OL/DL Zach Fedorko (6-1, 235); Jr. OL/DL Ryan Kelly (6-5, 270); Jr. OL/DL Kevin Kwapis (6-7, 315); Sr. RB/DB Chuck Sanders (6-2, 215); Sr. RB/LB Jack Flynn (5-11, 180); Sr. TE/DE Justin Bafus (6-2, 190); Jr. TE/DL Austen Yeomans (6-3, 225).

Strengths: Experience, offensive and defensive lines.

Weaknesses: Depth

Overview: With eight starters back on offense and seven on defense, there are lots of reasons for optimism this year with the Eagles. With Walled Lake Western and Walled Lake Central hurt by graduation losses, an experienced Eagles team could take advantage and win the KLAA North.

Milford Mavericks

Head coach: Pat Fox, 2nd year (6-4)

Last year: 6-4, lost to Walled Lake Western in Division 2 district semifinal, 27-20.

Staff: John Priespap, Bob Scheloske, Ken Schmidt, Dan Novak, Mike Akouri

Best players: Sr. QB Alex Larson (5-11, 170), 900 yards rushing, 1,200 passing; Sr. OL/DL Jarred Jackson (6-0, 275); Sr. OL/DL Derrick Newman (6-5, 305); Jr. LB/RB Danny Wallace (5-11, 230); Jr. LB/RB Cameron Bell (6-0, 205); Sr. WR/DB Darien Spencer (6-0, 175).

Strengths: Experienced QB, speed, size

Weaknesses: Depth

Overview: Foxís return to the sideline netted a playoff berth last year, and while the Mavericks likely donít have enough firepower to topple Grand Blanc for the KLAA West title, look for at least another six-win regular season with another full offseason for the players to get acclimated to his system.

Novi Wildcats

Head coach: Todd Pennycuff, 3rd year (9-9)

Last year: 4-5, did not make playoffs

Staff: Chris Hare, Dave Ray, Sean McHugh, Kenneth Nelson, Rand Helmcamp, Tab Longergan, Greg VanKirk.

Best players: Sr. WR Brian Boron (5-8, 175); Sr. WR Matt Forche (6-1, 190); Sr. RB Lucas Buck (6-1, 200); Sr. OL Kameron Mitchell (6-2, 250); Sr. WR Brandon Macklin (6-2, 170); Jr. OL Bepin Serraj (6-2, 280).

Strengths: Skill positions.

Weaknesses: Size, inexperience at QB

Overview: The Wildcats have been agonizingly close to playoff appearances the past two years, so as always they should be in the mix to earn a postseason spot this year. There arenít a lot of blue-chippers on the roster, so if Novi gets to the playoffs, itíll be through a team concept where everyone contributes.

South Lyon Lions

Head coach: Mark Thomas, 8th year (46-36)

Last year: 7-4, lost to Walled Lake Western in Division 2 district final, 3-0.

Staff: Jeff Henson, Matt George, Andy Baker, Adam DeLamielleure, Chad Sitarsky, Kevin Heidisch

Best players: Sr. OL Kevin Sanchez; Sr. TE/LB Brendan Donahue (6-3, 210); Sr. LB Connor McRell (6-1, 230); Sr. DB Tyler Nelson (6-1, 185).

Strengths: Improved strength as team, quickness

Weaknesses: Inexperience

Overview: One of the countyís most consistent programs traditionally, the Lions got back on track last year after a few down years by making it back to the playoffs. Whether they return to postseason play this year will rest largely on how well newcomers succeed in expanded roles. The Lions return just three starters on defense and two on offense.

South Lyon East Cougars

Head coach: Mike Lindman, 3rd year (6-12)

Last year: 3-6, did not qualify for playoffs.

Staff: Steve DeWitt, Ken Spratke, Rex Malarik, Chris OíBrien, John Jedinak

Best players: Sr. QB Cam Thomas (6-4, 190, committed to Western Michigan); Jr. OL/DL Evan Leary (5-9, 220); Sr. OL/DL Nathan DiRado (5-11, 220); Senior OL/DL Luke Patterson (6-2, 240); Sr. DB/RB Alex Spratke (6-0, 180); Sr. OL/LB Matt Burczyk (5-8, 220); Jr. TE/DE Lucus Marconcin (6-2, 190).

Strengths: Great QB, improved depth, less two-way players than in past

Weaknesses: Size

Overview: This is a year the Cougars have been pointing to for a while. Not only do they have arguably the countyís top QB in Thomas, but they finally have some numbers and depth on their side in whatís their fifth year as a program. Given that, donít be surprised if the Cougars compete for their first ever playoff berth.

Walled Lake Central Vikings

Head coach: Bob Meyer, 8th year (46-29)

Last year: 8-4, lost to Utica Eisenhower in Division 1 regional final, 38-21

Staff: Randy Micallef, Kraig Caurdy, Bob Guttovz, Derek Smith, Chuck Spolsky, Joe Boulus, Jeff Penrod, Todd Krumm, Miles Tomasaitis, Eric Sage, Thomas Ropek, Jurgen Collaku, John Gibson, Ned Stojkovic, Zach Fox, Mike Flanagan, Ryan Rzeznik

Best players: Sr. OL Devyn Bogert; Sr. OL Mike Dobrowolski; Sr. LB Matt Boulus; Sr. DL John Glenn; Sr. Alex Palafox, Sr. DL Jeff Thompson

Strengths: Offensive, defensive lines

Weaknesses: Youth at skill positions

Overview: Some might classify this as a rebuilding year for the Vikings with all their graduation losses, but itís more like a reloading one. Despite being young as a roster, Centralís good line play will carry it once again to contention in the KLAA North and the playoffs.

Walled Lake Northern Knights

Head coach: Brett Moore, 5th year (14-22)

Last year: 5-4, did not qualify for playoffs

Staff: Pete Scott, Nathan Bruce, Mark Grattan, Kevin Crane, Ted Lilley, Steve Nicles

Best players: Sr. RB/DB Matt Kosmalski (5-10, 170); Sr. RB Jake Ginster (5-11, 175); Sr. OL Mitch Curl (6-1, 280); Sr. OL Anthony Camarda (6-1, 220); Sr. QB Collin OíDonnell (5-9, 170); Sr. LB Mike Peer (6-0, 180); Sr. DE Kody Harthun (6-1, 210); Sr. DT Myles Kenney (6-0, 185)

Strengths: Speed, experience, leadership

Weaknesses: Depth

Overview: Northern had every reason to be heartbroken about not making the playoffs for the first time in school history last year, given it had an unstoppable offense, lost several close games to good teams and were not one of the many 5-4 teams to get in. Look for a motivated Knights team to possibly nab that elusive first playoff berth.

Walled Lake Western Warriors

Head coach: Mike Zdebski, 14th year (110-47)

Last year: 11-2, lost to Lowell in Division 2 state semifinal, 42-35 (OT)

Staff: Mike Uyttendaele, Nick Michniacki, Mike Wesikopf, Eric Bambard, Matt Fodal, Russ Mullen, Bill Larges, Marty Castellon, Draeton Steiner

Best players: Sr. DB Josh Jones (6-2, 210, committed to Illinois); Jr. QB/K Kyle Bambard; Jr. OL Alex Joss (6-4, 275); Sr. RB Matt Carroll, (5-9, 185); Sr. LB Zach Prokes (5-10, 190); Sr. DL Melis Johnson (5-9, 185).

Strengths: Speed, kicking game with Bambard

Weaknesses: Experience. No starters on offense, only one on defense.

Overview: Despite enormous graduation losses, donít expect the Warriors to be chopped liver this season. Thereís enough talent and quality coaching to ensure contention in the KLAA North.

Waterford Kettering Captains

Head coach: Kyle Schultz, 1st year

Last year: 0-9, did not qualify for playoffs

Staff: Ron Koyl, Jim OíLeary, Bob Wareck, Ryan Dingman, Andrew Micovich, Richard Brackins, Greg Raspberry, Brian Huff

Best players: Sr. RB Alec Spurlock (5-8, 170); Sr. LB Brandon Thompson (5-11, 210); Jr. QB Danny Hubbell (6-3, 190).

Strengths: Speed, depth

Weaknesses: Size, inexperience

Overview: Thereís nowhere to go but up for the Captains, who failed to win a game last year after going 1-8 in 2010. A successful season will be changing the losing culture thatís dominated the program for years and lay a good foundation going forward.

Waterford Mott Corsairs

Head coach: Chris Fahr, 1st year

Last year: 2-7, did not qualify for playoffs

Staff: Beau Everitt, Steve Clayton, Rob Clayton, Mike Bolan, Ford Sharp, Brad Schneider

Best players: Sr. WR/DB Justice Bolling (6-0, 175); Sr. DL Chris Matthews (6-0, 230); Sr. OL Robert Berden (6-0, 285); Sr. DB Andrew Webb (5-9, 165)

Strengths: Coachability, chemistry.

Weaknesses: Youth with only 11 seniors, familiarity with system.

Overview: Former Seaholm head coach Chris Fahr returns to Michigan and the high school ranks after a year at a junior college in Iowa, and he faces a major rebuilding task. The good news is that there are some promising sophomores on the team. Thatíll bode well for the next two years.

KLAA at a glance

Defending champions: Walled Lake Western (North), Plymouth (South), Northville (Central), Grand Blanc (West)

Big question No. 1 ó Can both Walled Lake Central and Walled Lake Western contend despite big graduation losses? Yes they can and yes they will. Look out for Lakeland in the North Division, but the favorites are still the Vikings and Warriors, traditional powers who will reload and still be the teams to beat in what has been a weak Division since the KLAA was formed just four years ago.

Big question No. 2 ó Which non-Oakland County teams will be the best in the league? Canton and Grand Blanc, who probably are the two best teams in the entire Association heading into the season. Canton is led by senior offensive lineman Cameron Dillard, who has committed to Florida, while Grand Blanc has one of the top linebackers in the state in Luke MacLean, who has committed to Pittsburgh.

How theyíll finish

North Division: 1. Walled Lake Central; 2. Walled Lake Western; 3. Lakeland; 4. Walled Lake Northern; 5. Waterford Mott; 6. Waterford Kettering.

South Division: 1. Canton 2;. Plymouth; 3. Livonia Churchill; 4. Westland John Glenn; 5. Livonia Franklin; 6. Wayne Memorial.

Central Division: 1. Northville; 2. Novi; 3. South Lyon East; 4. South Lyon; 5. Salem; 6. Livonia Stevenson.

West Division: 1. Grand Blanc; 2. Milford; 3. Brighton; 4. Howell; 5. Hartland; 6. Pinckney.

Last Updated: 8/15/2012 11:04:17 PM EST

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