ILLINI PRAIRIE CONFERENCE
LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 14-0, 9-0 Illini Prairie
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Chris Brown, Jr., RB/SS; Briggs Fultz, Sr., LT; Nick Wassom, Sr., RT; Spencer Brown, Sr., WR; Matt Kerr, Sr., DE; Nic Takels, Sr., LB; Henry Dawson, Sr., LB;
Aug. 30 - at Stanford Olympia
Sep. 6 - at Chillicothe Illinois Valley Central
Sep. 13 - Champaign St. Thomas More
Sep. 27 - Bloomington Central Catholic
Oct. 18 - at Fairbury Prairie Central
Oct. 25 - St. Joseph-Ogden
LITTLE ILLINI CONFERENCE
LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 5-4, 4-4 Little Illini
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Dawson Dallape, Jr., OLB/WR; A.J. Cox, Jr., LB; Colin Branson, Jr., DB/WR; Layden Duniphan, Sr., TE/DE; Storm Washburn, Sr., RB; Nate Fouty, Sr., LB/RB; Jacob Self, Sr., DE/OL; Wade Seaton, Sr., OL; Scott Mahan, Sr., DT/OL; Aden Brenton, So., QB.
OUTLOOK: Casey-Westfield improved from 2-7 in 2017 to 5-4 last year but fell just short of qualifying for the Class 1A playoffs. Coach Jay Bohner, who is entering his third season as coach, will look to push the Warriors forward to make their first playoff appearance since 2014. Last year's starting quarterback Marcus Downs has graduated and so the offense will center around the run game led by returners Storm Washburn and Nate Fouty.
Aug. 30 - at Olney Richland County
Oct. 5 - at Lawrenceville
Oct. 11 - Kentland South Newton (Ind.)
Oct. 25 - at Bridgeport Red Hill
LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 6-4, 5-3 Little Illini
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Jacob Stanley, Sr., WR/TE; Payton Birch, Sr., QB; Marshall Tarr, Jr., QB/RB; Riley Allen, Jr., OLB/TE; Adam Bridges, Sr., MLB; Taylor Line, Jr., G/DT; Tanner Bierman, Jr., WR.
OUTLOOK: Newton lost an overtime heartbreaker to Fairfield in the Class 3A playoffs last season — the Eagles fifth consecutive trip to the postseason — and Newton is eager to keep that tradition going. Conner Bierman has graduated, leaving a huge hole in the offense and defense, and coach Jason Fulton will look for new faces to fill those spots. Senior Patyon Birch and junior Marshall Tarr are competing for starting quarterback duties. Senior wide receiver Jacob Stanley returns.
Sep. 6 - Sullivan-Okaw Valley
Sep. 13 - at Casey-Westfield
Sep. 27 - at Bridgeport Red Hill
Oct. 18 - Olney Richland County
Olney Richland County Tigers
LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 6-4, 6-2 Little Illini
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Gavin Dorn, Jr., RB/OLB; Quinn Miller, Jr., WR/CB; Levi Seitzinger, Sr., TE/OLB; Kaleb Foster; Sr., WR/LB; Skyler Sutton, Sr., G/DT; Blain Fryman, Jr., DL; Jace Greenwood, Sr., WR/DB.
OUTLOOK: The Tigers are in good hands with head coach Matt Music, who has guided the Tigers to five playoff appearances in his eight years leading the team. Last year's starting quarterback Dakotah Brown has graduated and so junior running back Gavin Dorn will be a key offensive weapon on this year's squad.
Aug. 30 - Casey-Westfield
Sep. 13 - at Bridgeport Red Hill
Sep. 20 - at Mount Carmel
LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 2-7, 2-6 Little Illini
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Garrett Florkowski, Jr., LB; Tyler Beard, Sr., RB; Dylan York, So., S/WR; Roger Cornwell, Jr., G/DE; Trenton Rodgers, Sr., RB/ILB; Levi Dickerson, So., ILB. Dayton Thurman, Sr., WR/CB; Riley Simpson, Jr., WR/CB; J.D. Caballero, Sr., NG/DE
OUTLOOK: Second-year Robinson coach Casey Pinnell will try to turn a program around that hasn't won more than three games in a season since 2014. The Maroons open their schedule at Warrensburg-Latham.
Aug. 30 - at Warrensburg-Latham
Sep. 6 - Bridgeport Red Hill
Sep. 27 - at Casey-Westfield
Oct. 25 - at Olney Richland County
LITTLE OKAW VALLEY CONFERENCE
LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 3-6, 2-2 Little Okaw Valley Southeast
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Evan Newlin, Sr., QB; Levi Beard, Sr., RB/LB; Blake Girdner, Jr., WR; Troy Metzger, Jr., FB; James McPherson, Jr., T; Logan Scott, So., DB.
Aug. 30 - Meridian (at Palestine)
Sep. 6 - Farmer City Blue Ridge
Sep. 13 - Fithian Oakwood
Sep. 27 - at Catlin Salt Fork
Oct. 5 - at Bridgeport Red Hill
Oct. 11 - Westville (at Palestine)
Oct. 18 - at Georgetown-Ridge Farm
LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 13-1, 9-0 Sangamo
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Wade Jostes, Jr., QB/FS; Bryson Boes, Jr., RB/OLB; Drew Hicks, Sr., WR; Ben Gilbert, Jr., WR; Xavier Goetz, Sr., WR; Stone Sowa, Sr., DT/T; Tanner Hetz; Sr., MLB; Anthony Campbell, Jr., DE/T; Cody Marsh, Sr., FS/CB, Jack Applebee, Jr., CB/WR.
Aug. 30 - at Virden North Mac
Sep. 20 - at Williamsville
Sep. 27 - at Pleasant Plains
Oct. 4 - Petersburg PORTA
SOUTH CENTRAL CONFERENCE
LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 9-2, 8-1 South Central
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Lane Perry, Sr., MLB/FB; Drake Spracklen, Sr., WR; Cameron Owens, Sr., WR/OLB; Xavier Jones, Sr., T/DE; Wyatt Cloe, Sr., G/MLB; Wes Dixon, Sr., T/DE; Bryce Edmiston, Sr., WR/OLB; Will Kirkbride, Sr., G/NG; Jacob Klein, Sr., FS/WR; Wes Kile, Sr., WR/CB; Andrew Ambrose, Jr., WR/DB; Tyson Kime, Sr., OLB/FB; Matthew Lamb, Jr.; Sawyer McGrath, Sr., G/MLB.
OUTLOOK: The Panthers come off a 9-2 season in which they lost just one conference game to champions Carlinville and the team will rally around head coach Trevor Higgins, whose son died in a tragic accident this summer. Pana returns several key senior defensive members — Cameron Owens, Xavier Jones, Wyatt Cloe, Tyson Kime and Wes Kile — which should give opposing offenses some trouble. Bryce Edmiston continues the trend of ultra-fast Pana receivers — the senior joined 100-meter dash champion Cody Klein on the second-place-finishing 4x100 relay at last spring's Class 1A state track tournament.
Sep. 27 - at Piasa Southwestern
LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 7-3, 7-2 South Central
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Matthew Wells, Sr., QB; Trevor Smalls, Sr., RB/CB; Thomas Ritchey; Sr., RB/CB; Garrett Austin, Sr., WR; Gavin Mouer, Jr., DL; Anthony Enlow, Sr., G/T; Garrett Austin, Sr., LB.
OUTLOOK: Vandalia coach Jason Clay has the Vandals wrestling program on a 25-year regional championship streak and on the football side he has three consecutive playoff appearances since becoming head football coach in 2016. The Vandals return each of their key offensive pieces in seniors quarterback Matthew Wells, running back Trevor Smalls and receiver Thomas Ritchey, making them a dangerous team.
Oct. 11 - Piasa Southwestern