Corvallis Blue Devils
Coach: Clayton Curley (1st year)
Record last year: 0-8
Returning starters: Tanner Palin (Sr., DB), Chaney Waldo (Sr., WR), Taylor Sylvester (Jr., WR).
Noteworthy: Curley, in his first season as coach, was the head girls basketball coach at Ronan last season. Curley played safety at Montana State in the early 2000s. … Jayce Gilder, a junior, is expected to take over at quarterback for graduated senior Branden Butt.
Coach Curley says: “We have big-play potential because of great speed and athletic ability at the skill positions and at QB. We will have to improve our line play to compete with the best of the best.”
Coach: Rick Nordahl (1st year)
Record last year: 8-2, State A runner-up
Returning starters: Donovan Hucke (OL/DL), Carson King (OL/LB), Troy Scott (TE/LB), Mick Paffhausen (WR/DB), M.J. Simkins (QB/SB/CB), John Luke Koslosky (RB/DE).
Noteworthy: Nordahl takes over for former coach Terry Thomas, a Montana Coaches Association hall of famer who stepped down after 28 seasons and five state championships. … The Beavers have appeared in the past two State A title games.
Coach Nordahl says: “Our defense will be solid. Offensively our line is inexperienced, but we are experienced at the skill positions.”
Glendive Red Devils
Coach: Ryan Buckley (2nd year)
Record last year: 0-9
Returning starters: Tanner Schwartz (Sr., QB/DB), Taylor Schwartz (Sr., WR/DB), Colter Bachmeier (Sr., WR/LB).
Noteworthy: Tanner Schwartz and Taylor Schwartz both were honorable mention all-conference last year.
Coach Buckley says: “Our kids have had a good summer and good fall camp so far. We are continuing to get better and learning how to compete on a consistent basis.”
Coach: Travis Blome (3rd year, 7-12).
Record last year: 2-6.
Returning starters: Josh Bauder (Sr., QB/SS), Teague Blome (Sr., WR/FS), Kris Cleveland (Sr., WR/DB), Matt Turley (Sr., RB/LB), Adam Smith (Sr., RB/LB), James McCormick (Jr., OL/DL), Zack Brown (Jr., OL/DL), Ty Burt (Jr., WR/DB).
Other key players: Abe Westfall Sr., WR/DB), Seth Blackwood (Sr., WR/DB), Dylan Mhyre (Jr., OL/DL), Mike Bumgarner (Jr., OL/DL), Phillip Whitney (Jr., OL/DL), Alex Draper (Jr., WR/LB).
Coach Blome says: “We are very experienced at the skill positions and hopefully, up front we will continue to get better each day.”
Lewistown Golden Eagles
Coach: Gary Gebert (26th year, 109-101)
Record last year: 3-5
Returning starters: Dylan Stenseth (Sr., FB/LB), Ethan Blyth (Sr., RB/LB), James Derheim (Jr., QB/DB), Brock Butcher (Jr., WR/DB), Colten Gobble (Sr., OL/DL), Logan Wilcox (Sr., TE/DE), Hunter Grover (Sr., WR/DB).
Noteworthy: Stenseth was named all-state last season, while Blyth and Derheim were both picked as All-Central A players.
Coach Gebert says: “We have a lot of returning skill players, but we need to stay healthy on the line because we don’t have much depth.”
Coach: Bryan Beitel (6th year)
Record last year: 8-2
Returning starters: Colton Gavne (Sr., OL/DL), Chris Emter (Sr., OL/DL), Colten Holdorf (Sr., FS), Peter Townes (Jr., C).
Noteworthy: The Rangers captured a conference championship and advanced to the semifinal round of the State A playoffs before losing to eventual state champion Billings Central. … Livingston’s offense is built around its running game. The Rangers rushed for 3,396 yards last year, an average of nearly 340 yards per game.
Coach Beitel says: “We have some good momentum as a program after winning the Central A and being a state semifinalist. We lost some talented seniors but the young guys we have now are motivated to have another good season.”
Miles City Cowboys
Coach: Dan Stanton (9th year, 70-31)
Record last year: 4-5
Returning starters: Ben Herzog (QB/FS), Colton Pederson (OT), Morgan Bishop (OL), Alec Haughian (WR/DB), Brett Keith (WR), Robert Hofer (LB), Cody Wacker (OL), Evan Haughian (RB).
Noteworthy: Miles City is hungry to rebound from a sub-.500 season in which it missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Coach Stanton says: “We return many starters, so we should be competitive in the Eastern A.”
Coach: Scott Wilson (13th year, 82-30)
Record last year: 9-1
Returning starters: Brady Hislop (Sr., TE/DE/K/P), Wyatt Jenson (SR., OL/DL), Andrew Weltz (Sr., QB), Cedrick Smith (Sr., WR/DB).
Other key players: Tyler Davis (Sr., WR/DB), Dylan McCrumb (Sr., DE/TE), Joe Gallatin (Jr., LB/RB), Nick Marquardt (So., OL/DL).
Noteworthy: Hislop, Jenson, Weltz and Smith were all all-conference selections.
Coach Wilson says: “We are an inexperienced team that will have several senior starters.”
Coach: Roger Merritt (3rd year, 5-11)
Record last year: 1-7
Returning starters: Caleb Benson (Sr., WR), Jordan Stevens (Sr., RB/SS), Dace Fisher (Sr., DE), Austin Kendall (SR., FB), Gresh Jones (Jr., QB/DB), Cody Johnson (Jr., PK), Josh Alexander (Sr., OL), Logan Thiel (Jr., DB).
Noteworthy: Benson, Stevens, Fisher, Kendall and Johnson were All-Eastern A performers last season. … Sidney, a once dominant program in Class A, is looking for its first playoff appearance since 2007.
Coach Merritt says: “We are returning some very athletic players with valuable experience. We will have a lot of younger players on our roster.”
Coach: Hank Praast (4th year, 18-10)
Record last year: 4-4
Returning starters: Zach Gavlak (Sr., WR/DE), Jesse Sims (Jr., WR/DE), Kyle Behner (RB/LB), Jared Schulz (QB/DB), Chris Lords (WR/DB), Chris Bergman (WR/DB), Rob Johnson (OL/DL).
Noteworthy: Stevi boasts some quality talent in the wide receiver/defensive end combo of Gavlak and Sims. The duo shared the MVP award while leading the Yellowjackets to the State A boys basketball championship last March.