The influx of quality coaches and drastic turnarounds has made the MSL-Buckeye Division an exciting and evolving conference.

The influx of quality coaches and drastic turnarounds has made the MSL-Buckeye Division an exciting and evolving conference.

The resurgence last year at Logan Elm drew attention from around the state and earned coach Scott Bartholomew recognition as the Division III Coach of the Year, as the Braves finished 12-1 overall after losing to Eastmoor 23-0 in a Division III regional final.

Finishing behind Logan Elm (7-0) in the standings were Canal Winchester (6-1), Fairfield Union (5-2), Teays Valley (4-3), Hamilton Township (3-4), Amanda-Clearcreek (2-5), Bloom-Carroll (1-6) and Circleville (0-7).

Logan Elm hopes to follow up last year's historic season with another league title and playoff berth, but the Braves now have a large target on their backs.

"It was an unbelievable season. Scott and his staff did a tremendous, tremendous job," Amanda-Clearcreek coach Ron Hinton said. "But they won't surprise anybody this year."

The recent rise of Logan Elm and Canal Winchester marks a power shift in the conference, and now the traditional contenders are looking to return to prominence.

Coming off its 12-win season, Logan Elm enters the year as the favorite, but not by much.

Since Phil Mauro took over the program, Canal Winchester has made the playoffs two years in a row. The Indians expect to continue that streak with a strong group of returning players that includes senior quarterback Justin Whitlatch.

Logan Elm returns quarterback Johnnie Brown, who was last year's MSL-Buckeye Offensive Player of Year.

Brown accounted for over 2,300 yards of total offense and appears poised for a big senior season.

The Braves beat Canal Winchester 16-13 last season in week 10 to decide the MSL-Buckeye championship, and the title could come down to those teams again. They will play Oct. 23 at Logan Elm.

"This league's tough and you don't really want to disregard anybody," Mauro said. "I think everybody's going to be pretty strong."

After a down season last year, Amanda-Clearcreek hopes to move up in the standings by returning to a traditional power-running attack led by senior Garren Dilley.

Coaches around the league think Amanda-Clearcreek will rebound after last season's disappointment.

"Amanda is going to be tough, especially with Dilley back," Circleville coach Keith Downing said. "He's a man."

Circleville also hopes to forget last year's 1-9 season, and Downing has a more experienced team back to make that happen. The Tigers have a handful of running backs to carry the ball and also return junior quarterback K.C. Hawkins.

Hamilton Township has improved the last two years, and will look to post its first winning season under Bob Jacoby.

The Rangers' strength is on offensive and defensive lines, and they need strong seasons from running backs Josh Frakes and James White.

In Gary Tipton's second season at Teays Valley, the Vikings are switching to a spread offense, which could make the team more dangerous.

Bloom-Carroll enters the season with the same coach for the first time in four years, as Kurt Forrest returns. He hopes that continuity makes Bloom-Carroll more competitive.

The Bulldogs also return junior running back Doc Kilby, who could have a big season to help turn around the program.

Fairfield Union finished .500 last season, but was one of the most competitive teams within the league under Tom McCurdy.

The Falcons lost close games to Canal Winchester (20-16) and Logan Elm (22-13), and several coaches think they could make a run at the championship.

"The league this year is going to be well balanced. I don't think there is a clear-cut favorite." McCurdy said. "You have to fight and scratch each week or else you're going to get yourself knocked off."