THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH Enlarge | Buy This Photo
Last fall, Bowsher claimed its first City League championship since 1979.
Can the Rebels pull off a repeat performance?
All signs point toward the belief that it's going to be difficult to remove Bowsher from its current perch as the league's best.
The coaches in the league consider the Rebels, who have 17 returning letter winners back from last season's team, as the clear favorite to end up as league champions.
It's not much of a surprise, considering Bowsher's roster bolsters some of the top returning talent in the league.
READ MORE: 2013 High School Football Preview
Bowsher senior QB Mac Jewell, a 6-foot-1, 190-pounder, played with plenty of confidence and poise during a junior season in which he passed for nearly 800 yards and threw for four touchdowns. There's also a Rebels running game the rest of the league has to be concerned with.
Khane Collins enters his senior campaign after a breakout year, surpassing 1,000 rushing yards and scoring a team-best eight touchdowns.
Bowsher is predicted as the league favorite, followed by defending league runner-up Start, Rogers, Waite, Scott and Woodward, respectively.
"I think we’re going to be better than what we were last year," Bowsher coach Craig Lubinski said. "I tell the kids all the time that it’s harder to defend a title than to win a title."
The position of reigning league champions hasn’t caused the Rebels to lose the edge that led to them winning last season, according to their coach.
"I think it only makes us work harder," Lubinski said. "There hasn’t been an air of arrogance. The kids have worked harder."
That doesn't mean others don't have goals of their own to win the league championship.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge | Buy This Photo
Perhaps no team has been more motivated and anxious for this season to begin than Start, which fell a point shy of Bowsher in their meeting last fall, which ultimately determined the league champion.
Start coach Tyson Harder said missing out on winning the league title last year served as fuel for consistent and productive offseason workouts.
"We've talked about winning during the offseason," Harder said. "The kids have really worked hard in the offseason."
The Spartans don't have the overall depth that they benefited from last year when they sustained injuries and were able to overcome them with a deep roster.
But they do have a roster with the kind of young talent that could come together and make a run at challenging the rest of the league for the championship.
Rogers second-year coach Keith Dawson is installing a new spread offense with basically a new offensive roster. The Rams were in contention for the league championship, or at least a share of the league title, a year ago with a few weeks remaining in the regular season before losing several players to suspensions.
With most of those players having graduated in the spring, Dawson said the team's total numbers are down.
However, the Rams coach said the team's approach to the game appears to be in the right place and they're a group to be reckoned with during league play.
"The attitudes of the kids are great," Dawson said. "The kids are really doing well for us, in the sense that they're willing and ready to learn.
"We don't have anybody that tries to isolate and run the team the way they want."
Waite is a team that appears to be in a rebuilding situation after losing several key players to graduation.
Scott and Woodward are two programs looking to close out the regular season as City League surprises.
Yet, the biggest surprise heading into the season would be if the Rebels don’t finish the year as repeat champs.