The News-Herald on Monday released its Preseason Top of the Crop football poll on Monday.
Two teams from the Chagrin Valley Conference rank among the top 10 while a host of others were included on the watch list.
Kirtland, the defending Division V state champion, opens the season ranked No. 3 while Perry is No. 8.
“A total of 12 starters (six offense, six defense) return from a Kirtland team that went 15-0 and won a state championship last season. Anyone want to bet against the Hornets running the table again this year?” wrote John Kampf of The News-Herald.
The outlook at Perry hinges on a freshman quarterback rising to the challenge of playing under the Friday night lights.
“If freshman QB Brayden Richards emerges as quickly as some think he will, throw Perry’s ranking out the window,” according to Kampf. “The Pirates have graduated a ton of talent the past few years, but when you’ve got someone like Jaylen Anderson, you’ve got a good starting point.”
Wickliffe, Chagrin Falls and West Geauga were named among those to watch.