Kickoff Show: Paul Jacobson, Negaunee Miners

2017: 4-5, missed playoffs

Key losses: TE Luke Mattson, OLB/FB Jake Hill, RB Robbie Williams

Key returners: QB Jason Waterman, WR Drew DuShane, OL Collin Remilong, MLB/FB Peyton Anderson

Experience and continuity are two luxuries coach Paul Jacobson lacked last year, which caused the Miners to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Now Negaunee returns nine starters on each side of the ball, including all-conference quarterback Jason Waterman and special teams player of the year Drew DuShane. Look for the Miners to be one of the top teams in the new WestPAC Big Division. 

Kickoff Show: Jeff Olson, Ishpeming Hematites

2017: 3-6, missed playoffs

Key losses: QB Donald Denofre, TE/DB Aaron Corkin, OT Eric Heidelberger

Key returners: QB/DB Gavin Sundberg, RB/LB Drake Sundberg, RB/DB Hunter Smith

2017 was one of the most tumultuous seasons for Ishpeming football, with injuries and a tragic death at the school forcing the Hematites to forfeit two games. Many starters that missed most of last season due to injury are back, along with the sophomores who received more playing time than they ever expected. Can Jeff Olson bring the Hematites back to the playoffs for the first time since winning the state championship in 2015?

Kickoff Show: Dion Brown, Gwinn Modeltowners

2017: 3-6, missed playoffs

Key losses: RB/DB Marlin Moton, OL/DL Logan Kruhlik

Key returners: TE/LB Tucker Taylor, QB/DB Austin Forbes, RB/LB Seth Aho

Dion Brown’s Modeltowners were plagued by injuries and off-field issues, causing them to regress from their 2016 playoff season. Now back at full strength, Coach Brown thinks Gwinn can be a force in the WestPAC.

Kickoff Show: Westwood football coach Scott Syrjala

2017: 9-2, lost in district finals

Key Losses: OL Tabin Filizetti, OL/LB Ethan Homola, WR/DB Ethan Burke, TE David Delayre

Key Returners: QB/FS Nathan Beckman, OL/DL Sam Gilles, RB/LB Ashton Bergman, OL/DL Blake Hewitt, RB Taylor Dellangelo

Westwood football is coming off its best season in program history and its first playoff win since 2009. Now in a new conference, the Patriots have the target on their backs and won’t take anyone by surprise. Head coach Scott Syrjala joined the Kickoff Show to discuss expectations for his team and give his thoughts on conference realignment.