The two teams put together seasons to remember within their communities, with Woodridge qualifying for the state playoffs for the first time in the history of the program and Springfield compiling a winning record after several disappointing seasons in a row.
Can the Bulldogs and Spartans be contenders again this season competing on opposite sides of the Portage Trail Conference?
A.J. Graham, Sebastian Dodds and Marcus Thompson are three seniors who will attempt to lead Woodridge to a second playoff appearance after posting a 10-3 overall record and 6-1 mark in league play last season.
''I'm more counting on the defense early in the season to win us some games,'' seventh-year Bulldogs coach Eric Ervin said. ''Offensively, we have some good players, but we are replacing a lot of guys over there. It will take time to gel on that side.''
Ervin said that on paper, Mogadore, Streetsboro, Garrettsville and East Canton are the top four teams in the PTC County.
''The parity in the league is tight. It is like the NFL,'' said Ervin, a graduate of Archbishop Hoban High School and the University of Akron. ''I really think anyone in the league can win it.''
Woodridge beat visiting Mogadore 52-7 last season on Oct. 2 in a game the Wildcats have surely not forgotten.
Kodey Chance and Jake McAvinew return for their senior years at Mogadore, a team that went 10-2 overall and 6-1 in the league last season.
''We like to think we are going to be in the mix,'' Mogadore seventh-year coach Matt Adorni said. ''Woodridge and Streetsboro will be very strong and near the top, and we hope to be right there on their heels. Our No. 1 goal is to make the playoffs and if we can win the league along the way that is great.''
Kent Roosevelt appears poised to challenge for the Metro title under the direction of John Nemec, who is entering his 30th season as a head coach and his 26th season at Roosevelt.
The Rough Riders went 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the league last season. They feature senior quarterback Evan Shimensky, a Kent State recruit, senior Morgan Mason and juniors Ryan Anderson, Kevin Slone and Shakeel Howard.
''Field and Ravenna are really good football teams, and Springfield has a lot of guys coming back,'' Nemec said. ''I think we are in the hunt too.''
Ravenna is the defending champion after going 8-3 overall and 7-0 in the league last season. The Ravens return seniors Josh Chechak, Stephen Wilmington, Nick Winn and Dee Mack.
''I just know that you have to stay injury free and you got to take one game at a time,'' Ravens ninth-year coach Jim Lunardi said. ''We hope we are in contention. We have some new coaches in the league. That should bring some excitement to some schools.''
Springfield compiled a 6-4 overall record and 4-3 mark in the league. The Spartans return seniors Chase Cole, Zack Talbert and Erik Etapa and junior tailback Dillon Matthews.
''I think Kent, Ravenna and Field will be quality opponents, and we are going to put our horse in the race and see how we can run,'' said Springfield third-year coach Kevin Vaughn, an Ellet graduate.
Field, which has advanced to the state playoffs in each of the past three seasons, features seniors Jim Cercek, Nate Stasik, Jay Wilson and Cody Moore.
''We were hit hard by graduation, but the kids we do bring back have a lot of game experience, which is very important in high-school football,'' third-year Falcons coach Patrick Youel said. ''You can't simulate Friday night football and the speed that goes with it.
''Our league starts with Kent and Ravenna. They are the best teams in our league. We hope we can contend with those guys.''
Glen Kruger, 28, is taking over at Norton after being an assistant at Kent Roosevelt, Tallmadge and Norton. Kruger played at Roosevelt and graduated in 2001.
''Kent Roosevelt is the team to beat in the league,'' Kruger said. ''I really have a great deal of respect for coach Nemec and the staff over there. Coach Nemec is like a mentor to me, and I have several friends on the coaching staff. Maybe I am a little biased, but on paper they have the most talent in the league.
''I think Ravenna will be right on their heels.''
Jerami Hodgkinson, 30, takes over at Coventry after being an assistant at the school, Hudson, Green and also at Norton with Kruger.
''The family atmosphere that we have going on here is impressive,'' said Hodgkinson, who played at Kent State.
''We're ordering more helmets and more shoulder pads, which is a good thing. We had a lot of guys come out for the team that had not been out for the team before. We are a family-oriented team. We have guys that are hungry and want to win.''