Scott Howell took over the Central program in 2000 and finally has it where he wants, consistently on top of the conference standings. The Minutemen were dominant in league play in 2010, winning their third consecutive crown. Their last title previously came in 1988.
Coach: Scott Howell. 2010 record: 8-1.
• Howell's squad won every conference game by at least a touchdown, and it wound up outscoring its opponents by 18 points per game a year ago. Those numbers will be hard to duplicate by this year's Minutemen because of the loss of 12 all-conference performers. However, senior quarterback Seamus Walsh is back to direct the Central offense.
Coach: Kirby Scull. 2010 record: 3-6.
• The Cougars have struggled on offense the past two years, and it caught up with them last season. One year after earning a share of the conference crown, Scull's squad finished tied for fifth. The Cougars only scored more than two touchdowns in three games last season while averaging 17.8 points per game.
Coach: Michael Houston. 2010 record: 2-7.
• The Knights look to improve their offensive output from 2010 (11.3 points per game) with senior Antonio Wagener back to call the signals. Three receivers Wagener threw to a year ago are also returning. A young defensive group could catch up with the Knights.
Coach: Dave Zeitchick. 2010 record: 4-5.
• The Scots will bring more speed and athleticism to the field in 2011 than the previous year. Junior running back/linebacker Tycel Page (6-0, 185) will be counted on by Zeitchick. Seven starters return on offense, but junior Joey Silversmith (5-11, 175) must fill the void at quarterback in an efficient manner. Junior defensive back Keenan Jones (5-10, 180) heads the returnees on defense.
Coach: Anthony Minus. 2010 record: 5-5.
• The Hawks took a big leap in the conference standings a year ago, tying for fourth place. Humboldt's five victories in all were more than the program's previous six years combined (four). Senior running back/linebacker Chase Luster (5-10, 220 pounds) will be counted on heavily on both sides of the ball.
Coach: Jeff Plaschko. 2010 record: 7-4.
• Plaschko only has seven starters back, three on offense and four on defense. He expects solid play from his linemen on both sides of the ball, but his skilled players are unproven. Seniors Glen Ingram (5-10, 280) and Mitchell Rosenbloom (6-1, 240) will be keys up front.
3. Highland Park
5. Como Park