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2011 SCAC East preview: 5 things to know

Here are five things to know about the SCAC East:

1) SCAC East teams have made the state championship game in seven of the last nine seasons.

Connell and Royal each have gone four times.

The Knights have won three state titles in that run -- including defeating Connell in 2007 -- while the Eagles have won it once.

With Connell welcoming two-time Class 1A All-State Player of the Year Matt Hadley back, expect the Eagles to make a run at advancing to a third consecutive state championship game.

2) While 2010 was the year of the running back for the SCAC East, 2011 is the year of the quarterback.

Four of seven teams have their starting quarterbacks back this season.

Most notably, Connell's Chandler Salisbury and Royal's Alex Myrick, who were first- and second-team all-SCAC East, respectively.

Columbia-Burbank, Wahluke and Mabton all have quarterbacks back as well.

3) Two new coaches join the ranks this season, as Brycen Bye takes over in Wahluke and Trevor Curtis takes over at Mabton.

Bye has been in Wahluke the last two seasons, so he has a good grasp on what the league has to offer.

Curtis was a volunteer on the football staff last year and will be making his debut as a varsity high school coach.

4) Both Connell and Royal are ranked in the Tacoma News-Tribune's preseason rankings.

The Eagles are listed at No. 2, the Knights at No. 7.

Both teams have the athletes to make those rankings hold up.

While the Eagles are the clear-cut favorite to win the SCAC East title, the other three playoff spots figure to be up for grabs, led by the tradition-rich Knights.

5) From the opening weekend, there are plenty of quality games on the schedule.

Connell hosts Othello, in the latest game from the long rivalry between the two teams. Both teams are ranked in the top three in the state.

Royal is at Cashmere, while Connell is at Chelan as both teams met in the playoffs last season.

River View also hosts Zillah later in the year.