1Lucky No. 7: Central has had a lock on the conference crown the past six seasons. To make it seven consecutive titles, coach Scott Howell’s group will have to overcome low numbers, a core of young players and not a lot of depth. “If we stay healthy, we could compete for the conference title,” Howell said. Central hasn’t lost a conference game since 2009 and is riding a 23-game winning streak in league play. Its last conference setback came at the hands of Highland Park, 24-19. The two will meet in Week 7 at Highland Park.


2Struggling on defense: The conference champion Minutemen were the only team to yield fewer than 20 points per game in the six-team league a year ago. Four schools allowed an average of between 25 and 39 points per outing — Highland Park (25.2), Como Park (25.9), Harding (27.6) and Humboldt (38.9). If these teams plan on being better in 2014, they must show improvement on the defensive side of the football. Only Central and Highland Park outscored their opponents last season.


3 Quirky schedule: Humboldt’s 2014 schedule has an unusual look. The first four games are at home while the last four are on the road. Coach Steve Elizondo’s squad also plays only three of its five possible conference opponents. They are Como Park, Harding and Johnson. Thus, it avoids the top two teams in the conference. Humboldt hasn’t won a conference game the past three seasons. Its last triumph was 32-20 over Harding in 2010.


ron haggstrom