Coach — Manny Matsakis, first season, 31-25 career.
2012 — 4-7, 2-7 KCAC
Players to watch — RB Tevis Linnebur (267-1,175 rushing, 8 TDs, 1st team All-KCAC), DL John "Rocky" Castro (44 total tackles, 4 sacks, HM All-KCAC), LB Steven Williams (70 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, HM All-KCAC), OL Marcus Bradley (HM All-KCAC).
Local players — Tommy Seymour, fr., OL, Burrton HS; Colby Standefer, jr., DE, Sedgwick HS; Chad Wollenberg, sr., RB, Hesston HS.
Outlook — Bethany opened the season 3-2, including a win by forfeit, but lost four straight before ending the season with a 37-26 win over Southwestern. The Swedes return 28 letterwinners, including 16 starters. The Swedes non-conference schedule is in its favor (Southwestern Assemblies of God and Avila, followed by traditional conference favorite Ottawa. The key game could be Saint Mary in week four, where a win would put the Swedes in good position to contend for conference honors.
Coach — Monty Lewis, 10th season, 64-28 at Friends, 129-65 career.
2012 — 6-5, 5-4 KCAC.
Players to watch — RB Thomas Hankerson (167-955 rushing, 11 TDs, 2T All-KCAC), FB Nehemiah Scott (46-216, 1 TD, 2T All-KCAC), LB Casey Baliel (40 total tackles, pre-season All-KCAC), Derek Racette (P-Util., 33-73-6 passing, 382 yards, 4 TDs; 79-480 rushing, 2 TDs; 6-15 receiving; 42.0 yards-punt; 1T All-KCAC); CB Cody Lenhart (48 total tackles, 2 interceptions; pre-season All-KCAC).
Local players — Nathan Thompson, sr., OG, Sedgwick HS; Collins McDonald, jr., RB, Newton HS; Cory Schmidt, sr., OL, Newton HS.
Outlook — An upset loss to Southwestern and back-to-back losses to Ottawa and Tabor in the final two weeks cost the Falcons a chance as a conference title and a post-season berth. The Falcons return eight offensive, eight defensive and two special teams starters. The biggest move for the Falcons was to move triple offensive threat Derek Racette, one of the top athletes in the conference, to defensive back. The biggest question mark for Friends is at quarterback, but the Falcons are solid nearly everywhere else. The Falcons open against back-to-back ranked teams (Doane and Benedictine).
Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes
Coach — Dave Dallas, 90-72 at school, 128-111 career.
2012 — 6-5, 6-3 KCAC.
Players to watch — QB Trey Dallas (167-342-16, 2,269 yards passing, 18 TDs; HM All-KCAC), WR Zach McClain (42-844 receiving, 10 TDs, 1T All-KCAC), OL Sean Grove (1T All-KCAC), LB Brady Harwell (125 total tackles, 1 interception; 1T All-KCAC), DB Delton Reed (55 total tackles, 4 interceptions; 2T All-KCAC), KR Lee Stewart (21-494 kick returns; 2T All-KCAC).
Outlook — The Coyotes lose one of the top rushers in the nation, Brett Giesen, to graduation, but return seven offensive and seven defensive starters. The Coyotes have a tough non-conference schedule in Hastings and 22nd-ranked (NAIA) Evangel.
Coach — Pete Sterbick, second season, 4-5 at school and career.
2012 — 4-5, 4-4 KCAC.
Players to watch — TE-P Paul Rotering (27-448 receiving, 6 TDs; 36.9 yds.-punt; 2T All-KCAC); RB Terrance Jones (117-508 rushing, 3 TDs); DL Chris Ellison (52 total tackles, 6.0 sacks; 2T All-KCAC); LB Micah Roehl (62 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 interception).
Area players — Trent Stucky, QB-WR, so., Sedgwick HS; Tyler Bruton, sr., LB, Burrton HS.
Outlook — After a 3-2 start, the Bulldogs lost three of the last four. Five offensive and eight defensive starters return. The team was ranked 10th in the nation (NAIA) in total defense last year. On offense, the team lost its leading passer and rusher in QB Jake Snodgrass. With a solid defense, the success for the Bulldogs will be determined by the offensive newcomers.
Coach — Kent Kessinger, 10th season, 58-38 at school and career.
2012 — 8-3, 8-1 KCAC, lost to Missouri Valley 56-21 in the first round of NAIA playoffs.
Players to watch — OL Austin Britt (2T All-KCAC), K Jeff Stamp (9-17 FG attempts, long 46; 45-48 PAT kicks; 2T All-KCAC).
Outlook — The Braves return 14 starters from last season's KCAC championship team, but lose top rusher and passer Shane Gizmo and receiver Jon Hillinger. After an 0-2 start, the Braves won eight straight to earn an NAIA playoff berth. The offensive and defensive lines are mostly intact, but new offensive skill players will have to lead the Braves.
Saint Mary Spires
Coach — Lance Hinson, ninth season, 33-46 at school and career.
2012 — 6-5, 6-3 KCAC.
Players to watch — WR Jerrell Young (72-971 receiving, 9 TDs; 1T All-KCAC), WR Ronnie Cooper (76-971, 12 TDs; 2T All-KCAC), RB Will Ryan (133-694 rushing, 666 yards, 5 TDs; 2T All-KCAC), Util. David Hartley (HM All-KCAC), RB-P Evan Hearn (127-588 rushing, 3 TDs; 38.6 yds.-punt, HM All-KCAC), OL Alan Gudka (pre-season All-KCAC), DB Eli Amador (44 total tackles, 5 interceptions; 2T All-KCAC), DB Udi Okpono (50 total tackles).
Outlook — The Spires opened the season 0-4, but won six of its final seven games to finish the season in third place in the conference. The Spires return seven offensive and three defensive starters, but lose QB Mike Keese, one of the top passers in the nation all divisions last season. The Spires do return most of its receiving corps as well as two running backs. Three of USM's first five opponents are ranked.
Coach — Ken Crandall, seventh season, 19-43 at school, 41-116 career.
2012 — 4-7, 3-6 KCAC.
Players to watch — RB Tanner Strohl (137-584 rushing, 2 TDs); WR Joe Vargas (36-515 receiving, 3 TDs), QB Brady May (27-59-3 passing, 307 yards, 3 TDs), WR-P Ceth Bannister (29-417 receiving, 3 TDs; 36.6 yds-punt), LB Paul Mata (103 total tackles, 3.0 sacks), DL Garrett Mangrum (43 total tackles, 3.0 sacks; 1T All-KCAC), DB Loren Fouts (38 total tackles, 3 interceptions; 2T All-KCAC).
Local players — Strohl, Halstead HS.
Outlook — After a 4-3 start that included an upset of then 25th-ranked Friends, the Moundbuilders lost four straight. The Moundbuilders open the season against first-year team Oklahoma Baptist, followed by Peru State. Southwestern returns six offensive, seven defensive and two special teams starters, but will be thin on both the offensive and defensive lines.
Coach — Andy Lambert, 10th season, 49-42 at school, 79-85 career.
2012 — 3-7, 3-6 KCAC.
Players to watch — QB John Cardona (72-147-6 passing, 902 yards, 7 TDs; 8-492 rushing, 3 TDs), WR-RB Denton Hudspeth (180-987 rushing, 3 TDs; 18-47-3 passing, 256 yards, 1 TD; 25-241 receiving, 2 TDs; 2T All-KCAC), LB James Morley (45 total tackles, HM All-KCAC), DL Adam Guthmiller (18 total tackles).
Local players — Chase Kozak, jr., LB, Remington HS.
Outlook — Sterling returns nine offensive and four defensive starters from last season. After an 0-5 start, the Warriors won three of the last five games. With most of the offense returning, the key for the Warriors will be how quickly the defense comes together.
Coach — Mike Gardner, sixth season, 35-18 at school, 60-36 career.
2012 — 8-2, 7-1 KCAC.
Players to watch — QB Simon McKee (171-1,050 rushing, 13 TDs; 72-132-3 passing, 904 yards, 8 TDs; 2T All-KCAC), RB James Monroe Jr. (213-1,092 rushing, 11 TDs; 10-72 receiving 1 TD; 1T All-KCAC), DL Treach Antonie (49 total tackles, 8.5 sacks; 2T All-KCAC), LB Nik France (52 total tackles, 5 interceptions; 1T All-KCAC).
Local players — Simon McKee, Halstead HS; Derrick Garnica, fr., RB, Newton HS; Jacob Wright, fr., DB, Newton HS; Jonah McKee, fr., RB, Halstead HS; Trey Schmidt, fr., QB, Goessel HS.
Outlook — A 25-21 loss to Ottawa kept the Bluejays out of the playoffs last season. The Bluejays had a game cancelled against McPherson. Tabor finished the season ranked 17th in the NAIA. The Bluejays are ranked 17th in the pre-season poll, opening the season against Nebraska Wesleyan (which received top 25 votes) and 10th-ranked Mid-America Nazarene. Tabor returns seven offensive and eight defensive starters, including quarterback Simon McKee and running back James Monroe, who both were among the conference's leading rushers.