1No dynasty here: If you like unpredictability, this eight-team league is the perfect landing spot. A year ago, three teams shared the conference title — Belle Plaine, Tri-City United and Watertown-Mayer. The previous five years, six different schools either won or shared the conference crown. The conference coaches give a slight edge to Tri-City United in 2014. “Tri-City United has great size, speed and depth,” Watertown-Mayer coach Craig Johnson said.
2Running wild: Norwood Young America has won only five games over the past two years, but that hasn’t slowed senior running back Noah Peterson. The two-time all-conference selection has turned in back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Peterson, who is 5-10 and just 145 pounds, has 2,491 yards for his career and has an outside chance to eclipse 4,000. He also doubles as a defensive back.
3 Small, but big: Mayer Lutheran is the smallest school — and lone Class 1A team — in the conference, but that doesn’t keep it from having two big large-college prospects. Senior tight end/defensive end Taylor Otterstatter (6-6, 235) and junior guard/defensive tackle Sam Schlueter (6-7, 278) are drawing plenty of interest from Division I and II programs. “We have a couple of very good players,” Crusaders coach Dean Aurich said.