No one could have anticipated the kind of turnaround Scott Bartholomew orchestrated at Logan Elm last year.

No one could have anticipated the kind of turnaround Scott Bartholomew orchestrated at Logan Elm last year.

In his first season as coach, he took the Braves from the worst season in school history to the best.

Logan Elm bounced back from a winless campaign in 2007 to go undefeated in the regular season and advance to a Division III regional final.

The historic turnaround gave Logan Elm its first undefeated regular season, its first playoff victory and first 12-win season -- earning Bartholomew recognition as the state Division III Coach of the Year.

"Once you get there, the hard part is staying there," Bartholomew said. "Last year it was about building confidence, their self-esteem, which you always want to do. This year it's about making sure they know that they are now the team with the target on their back."

To stay on top of the MSL-Buckeye Division, the Braves will look to the 23 seniors led by quarterback Johnnie Brown, the MSL-Buckeye Offensive Player of the Year.

Brown (5-foot-10, 181 pounds) rushed for 1,407 yards on 235 carries, and threw for 912 yards with 11 touchdowns in the shotgun offense.

"He's like having another coach on the field, and I think that was one of the biggest positives we had last year," Bartholomew said. "He's not that high school quarterback that only learns his position. Johnnie knows everyone's position and where they're supposed to be."

Brown has one of his favorite targets back at receiver in senior Adam Blake (6-1, 155), who led the team with 405 receiving yards. But at running back, Logan Elm must replace Cody Cordle, who led the ground game along with Brown.

Seniors Chris Eversole (6-0, 170) and Josh Boesiger (5-9, 170), and juniors Anthony Harr (5-7, 189) and Nick Hart (6-2, 167), are all in the mix, and Bartholomew expects the competition to continue early into the season.

"All four will get reps in our scrimmages," Bartholomew said. "We'll just have to see how the competition plays out."

The offensive line returns three starters, and is anchored by senior left tackle Logan Hauserman (6-8, 290), a Division I college prospect. Junior center Kyle Eveland (6-0, 226) and senior right tackle Chris Spurlock (6-3, 322) also return.

The strength of Logan Elm's defense will be its secondary, Seniors Cory Whaley (5-9, 134), Brandon Depouw (5-10, 152) and Ean Stiles (5-10, 161) all return after starting last season.

"Our secondary, we feel pretty good about, especially with the knowledge of what to do, and where they're supposed to go," Bartholomew said.

The front seven of the defense is more of a question mark, as Logan Elm must six starters from the line and at linebacker.

"We lost three really good linebackers," Bartholomew said. "We felt like defense was a really strong part of our team, so we've got our hands full right there."

Logan Elm opens with the same non-conference schedule as last year before starting MSL play in week four at Amanda-Clearcreek.

The Braves open Friday at Washington Court House, a team they beat 27-6 last season.They then travel to Westfall on Sept. 4 and play host to Zane Trace on Sept. 11.

Logan Elm beat Westfall 32-28 and Zane Trace 41-17 a year ago.