Red Mountain Lions
Coach: Ron Wisniewski
Last year's record: 6-5, lost to Mesa in first round
Returning starters offense: 5, including speedy wide receiver E.J. Cordova, who had 32 receptions for 622 yards and six TD.
Returning starters defense: 6, including Devin Gordon, who's moving from defensive end to outside linebacker.
Aug. 27 vs. Westwood; Sept. 3 vs. Corona del Sol; Sept. 10 at Mountain View (Marana); Sept. 16 vs. Campo Verde; Sept. 24 at Mesa; Oct. 1 vs. Brophy; Oct. 8 vs. Dobson; Oct. 15 vs. Chandler; Oct. 22 at Centennial; Oct. 29 vs. Hamilton; Nov. 5 at Desert Vista.
Aug. 27 at Westwood: It's the debut of Ron Wisniewski's new bunch, and the Warriors gave the Lions all it could handle for a half last season. Westwood is improved, and this one could be interesting.
Sept. 24 at Mesa: After barely holding off Mesa's fourth-quarter comeback in the regular season, the Lions were pummeled by the Jackrabbits in the playoffs. Much has changed for both teams since then, but the intra-city competitive juices flow easily.
Nov. 5 at Desert Vista: A potentially important matchup for both teams when it comes to the playoff picture, whether it's getting in, staying in or trying to get a home game.
The easy path would be to chalk up this season as part of a reconstruction under new coach Ron Wisniewski, who replaces the successful Jim Jones as the school's only football coach.
But this is Red Mountain, and while many feel has underachieved the past few season, the Lions are never short on numbers given its place as a top-5 school in the state for enrollment purposes.
Wisniewski arrived from years as various college coaching positions, and his PhD-level education has been well documented, but even he said it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know the Lions have some kids who can play.
Maybe not the Hamilton or Chandler level of Division I-caliber athletes, but kids who can go places.
Sorting them all out is the first job. The Lions will begin with a QB and RB rotation to start the season and wait for someone to emerge.
Guys like Billy Freeman (sat out last year as a transfer from Brophy), Jacob Tune, E.J. Cordova and Coleton Thornton will make an impact, but a brutal Fiesta Region schedule plus 5A-II power Centennial await.
How much and how quickly the changes arrive remains to be seen.