Official preseason practices began for fall sports teams at Brookville and Clarion-Limestone on Monday with golf beginning its schedule as early as Thursday.
Football scrimmages are Friday while other non-football teams have some exhibition dates next week before the start of the regular season.
Here’s a quick look at the teams at Brookville and C-L.
It’s season No. 5 for head coach Scott Park, whose team went 6-5 last year.
While he’s over 50 players in preseason camp, he’ll probably settle at around 39 when his freshman are sorted out between varsity and junior high.
The Raiders grinded through a season using four different quarterbacks with returning starter Jack Krug, a junior, playing just seven quarters and throwing for 930 yards and 14 TDs while missing most of the year with a broken collarbone. He’s back and just 247 yards shy of tying Jon Guth’s career passing yardage mark of 4,033 yards.
Junior Robert Keth threw for 2,103 yards and 22 TDs in eight games, but he’ll move to receiver and will help anchor the defense at linebacker. Senior Ian Thrush is the top returning receiver (29 catches, 650 yards, 9 TDs) while junior Elliot Park is the top returning tackler on defense.
The Raiders scrimmage Mercyhurst Prep at home on Saturday at 11 a.m. before opening the regular season at Bradford next Friday.
Coming off a District 9 Class 2A runner-up finish, the Lady Raiders have 26 girls in preseason practices as head coach Joyce Reitz enters her third year of her second term with the program.
The Lady Raiders were 13-7, reaching the district final before losing to Redbank Valley. Junior sisters Morgan and Madison Johnson are returning all-district players.
The Lady Raiders scrimmage at A-C Valley Saturday before starting the regular season at Brockway on Sept. 3.
It’s Dave Reitz’s third season with the Raiders, who were 7-9-2 after a first-round playoff loss in overtime to Kane.
Reitz has 17 players on the preseason roster, which includes two returning all-conference players in senior midfielder Bryce Kunselman and junior striker Jace Miner.
The Raiders scrimmage twice next week, Tuesday at Ridgway and next Saturday at home against Penn Cambria before opening the season on Sept. 3 at Clarion-Limestone.
Kaitlyn Hill enters her second year with the Lady Raiders, who were 9-10 after splitting a pair of playoff games and reaching the Class 2A final before losing to Karns City.
Hill has 21 girls on the preseason roster, with leading scorer and all-conference striker in senior Madison McAninch back.
The Lady Raiders scrimmage at Ridgway next Tuesday before opening the season schedule at home against Elk County Catholic on Aug. 30.
The combined preseason varsity roster looked to be around 20 athletes strong for veteran head coach Doug Roseman, whose team starts the season at Brockway on Sept. 3.
At districts last year, the Raiders were fifth while the Lady Raiders finished third. Two state qualifiers return with senior Bryce Baughman and junior Emma Fiscus, who both finished 11th.
It’s the first year of the co-operative program with C-L and Clarion, which already had a setup with North Clarion. So the three schools were sitting at 44 — 19 Clarion, 19 C-L and six North Clarion — going into the preseason.
The Bobcats, as they’ll be called, have a promising season ahead as the preseason District 9 League coaches poll had them at No. 1 in the Large School Division ahead of Ridgway and Brookville.
Among the players back is C-L senior Austin Newcomb, who broke the D9 single-season rushing record with over 2,600 yards and 35 touchdowns. While Newcomb was the Small School South Offensive MVP, senior Ben Smith was the Offensive Lineman of the Year and head coach Dave Eggleton was Coach of the Year.
Eggleton and his former Lions assistant Doug Knepp are part of head coach Larry Wiser’s staff. Wiser enters his 31st season as head coach.
The Bobcats visit Marion Center for their Saturday scrimmage before opening the regular-season schedule at Punxsutawney next Friday night.
Former assistant coach Kelly Dungan replaces departed MacKenzie Biggs to take over the Lady Lions, who were 5-6 last year.
Dungan has 26 players on her preseason roster.
The Lady Lions scrimmage at home against Brockway next Thursday then at Union on Aug. 27 before starting the season at Venango Catholic on Sept. 3.
The Lions were 5-8 last year and head coach Don Montgomery heads into his second season with a smallish 13-man roster after losing three all-conference players in South Division MVP Kyle Schonbachler, Donovan Montgomery and Isaac Kim.
The Lions scrimmage at home against Keystone next Tuesday before starting the year at home against Brookville on Sept. 3.
Nicole Oakes starts her second year with both teams, which combine for a 14-athlete roster that includes six in the junior high ranks and only two girls overall.
One of the two girls is sophomore Morgan McNaughton, who was 21st overall at districts and a KSAC First-Team selection.
Junior Braden Rankin, who was 40th overall, is the top returning district placewinner for the boys.
Both teams open the year Sept. 4 at North Clarion.