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In the Springfield area, high school football season officially begins in 50 days, so the Springfield News-Leader has come up with 50 questions we have ahead of the season.

The season begins under the lights on Friday night, August 30, in a year that has seen many new formations in the conference, teams looking to repeat last year’s success, and others trying to get back on track.

The 2023 season was a strong one for many area teams. Marionville won a state title and Republic played its first championship game. Fair Grove, Seneca and Webb City will try to get back to the state semifinals.

Here are the 50 questions the Springfield News-Leader has ahead of the season.

1. How big of an adjustment will it be for Ozark Conference programs joining the Central Ozark Conference?

2. Will anyone be able to beat Marionville or will it be all-out again?

3. After its recent winning streak under head coach John Perry, can Nixa finally advance past the state championship quarterfinals?

4. Will Reeds Spring take over the Mid-Lakes Conference with his move or will Fair Grove continue its dominance?

5. Will West Plains dominate the newly formed Ozark Mountain Conference or can a former Central Ozark Conference team like Branson win the league’s first title?

6. Fair Grove senior Kellen Lair scored 49 total touchdowns last season. Any chance he can get 50?

7. Will anyone be able to stop an explosive Ava team from the South Central Association?

8. Central plays a more challenging independent schedule this season, consisting primarily of teams from the Ozark Mountain Conference. Will the Bulldogs take another big step forward?

9. Will Mount Vernon’s rise continue now that the Big 8 Conferences have merged and the team will face teams like Lamar, Seneca and Nevada every year?

10. Willard took a step forward last season. How far will that step go now that Andy McFarland has taken over the program after leading Reed’s Spring 2022 to a state championship appearance?

11. Lamar has won four consecutive state championships. Can head coach Jared Beshore make it five and win his third title before he turns 30?

12. Webb City’s star quarterback Gabe Johnson is out for the rest of the year after a knee injury sustained during basketball season. How will the Cardinals respond without their best playmaker?

13. Parkview hasn’t won more than one game in a season since 2018. Can the club get back to winning ways in its first year with an independent schedule?

14. Lebanon has led the Ozark Conference in points for the past two seasons. How will it fare in the Central Ozark Conference schedule with teams like Webb City, Joplin and Nixa?

15. Nevada running back Jack Cheaney broke out last season behind one of the state’s best offensive lines. Can he repeat his success when he rushed for over 2,000 yards last season?

16. After a dramatic 2023 season, Glendale is entering a new era under Frank Tristan. How different will its offense look and how will it fare in the COC?

17. The region’s top five receivers from last season have graduated. Who will be the region’s top target in 2024?

18. Seneca has developed much of its backfield after finishing second last season. Will Seneca remain one of the best teams in the region after the new recruits?

19. Carthage junior Landon Bland has received power conference offers and is a three-star edge rusher. What numbers will he put up for the Tigers?

20. How will Branson’s recruitment of veteran kicker Dane Efird explode?

21. Kickapoo has had a dominant defense in its final years in the Ozark Conference. Will that continue with the addition of Joplin, Webb City, Republic and Nixa to the roster?

22. Who will be Republic’s starting quarterback after Wyatt Woods, the 2023 News Leader Player of the Year, graduates?

23. Marionville junior Cash Pomeroy has the potential to be a Class 1 player of the year at running back and linebacker. Will he live up to expectations?

24. What will Monett’s offense look like in their first season with Ben Mauk taking over as head coach?

25. Key pass rusher Trevor Wilson has had double-digit sacks two years in a row. Can he do it a third time?

26. Will Nixa, led by five-star junior offensive tackle Jackson Cantwell, have the best offensive line to ever come out of the Springfield area?

27. Logan-Rogersville has struggled in district play in recent years. Will the Ozark Mountain Conference better prepare them for the postseason?

28. Strafford quarterback Jourdyn Edelstein is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the area. Can he help them make the transition to the Mid-Lakes?

29. What numbers can Alex Wilkerson achieve as a quarterback during a fully healthy season?

30. Can Ozark, in its second year under Jeremy Cordell, become this year’s breakout team?

31. Will Republic have to take a step back after much of its backfield graduates following the best season in program history?

32. Bolivar linebacker Mason McCurry recorded 228 total tackles and 11 sacks last season. Can he even come close to those numbers?

33. Jax Glendenning was successful with Lebanon throughout the Ozark Conference last season. Will that translate to the Central Ozark Conference?

34. Catholic was successful at the end of last season and now moves to the Mid-Lakes. Will the progress from the end of the season continue in the new league?

35. McDonald County won its first district championship last season. Will the Mustangs’ success continue after several departures at key positions?

36. What will Joplin look like after running back Quin Renfro graduates and rushes for 1,600 yards in eight games?

37. Mountain Grove quarterback Aden Estep rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and 24 touchdowns as a sophomore last season. Can he improve his game to help the Panthers and their new coach Daniel Swofford challenge Ava?

38. Will Nixa sophomore quarterback Adam McKnight be as good in football as he was in basketball and baseball last season?

39. Veteran Ozark linebacker Parker Elliott established himself as one of the best in the area last season. What will his recruitment look like at the end of the season?

40. Forsyth won the 2022 Mid-Lakes and returns some standout players from last year’s 8-3 team that was somewhat injury-plagued. Can it be an underdog to challenge in the Mid-Lakes?

41. Which team between Ash Grove, Stockton and Sarcoxie can give Marionville the biggest fight this season?

42. Will Camdenton and Rolla regret not joining the Central Ozark Conference when they had the chance?

43. Will the Ozark Mountain Conference face travel issues if the league extends from Carl Junction to West Plains?

44. What new rivalries will emerge as a result of the conference realignment?

45. Who will be the breakthrough player this season?

46. ​​Marionville quarterback and defensive back Bryer Guerin was one of the area’s best passers and led the Ozarks in interceptions as a sophomore. How will he take his game to the next level?

47. Can Clever star Xavier Robinson lead the Blue Jays to their first three-win season since the school started a college football program in 2020?

48. Bolivar was one of the teams with the most progress last season. What’s the next step under new head coach Jamie LaSalle?

49. Which team will generate the most excitement between now and opening night?

50. What team are we not talking about that will advance deep into the postseason in November?