The Mount Airy football team hasn’t won an outright conference title since 2013, and coaches in the Northwest Conference believe that brief break from the top of the standings will come to an end this season.
NCpreps.com released its conference predictions Thursday and selected the Granite Bears as favorites in the Northwest Conference. The predictions are based on the votes of coaches within each respective conference.
Mount Airy went 8-5, 4-2 last year and finished third in the league. The Bears bring back their leading passer, rusher and receiver into this season.
The coaches also selected Mount Airy’s Ian Holder as the preseason Conference Player of the Year. Holder spent most of his time at quarterback last season, but will primarily play wide receiver and defensive back when the Bears get started on Aug. 19 at Starmount.
East Surry won its second consecutive Northwest championship in 2015 with an undefeated regular season. NCpreps.com has the Cardinals finishing in second place during the upcoming year.
Rounding out the predicted standings are Walkertown (3rd), Winston-Salem Prep (4th), Biship McGuinness (5th), North Stokes (6th) and Atkins (7th).
In the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference, NCpreps believes the Carver Yellow Jackets will finish in first place and feature the Player of the Year in quarterback Germane Crowell Jr.
West Stokes, the defending WPAC champion, is predicted to finish as runners-up. North Surry and Surry Central are slotted right behind the Jackets and Wildcats.
The Greyhounds went 7-5, 3-2 in 2015 behind quarterback Avery Smith, last year’s Player of the Year. The WPAC coaches believe it will be another third-place finish for North Surry this season.
Surry Central’s 4-7, 1-4 record last year was good enough for a fifth-place finish, and NCpreps’ poll slots the Golden Eagles for a slight improvement to fourth place.
Forbush (5th) and South Stokes (6th) cap off the WPAC predicted standings.