The Weir High boys soccer team seeks another return trip to Beckley in November to compete in the state tournament, where the squad was the West Virginia Class AA-A state runner-up a season ago.
But, because of realignment, the Red Riders (16-4-2 last season) will see new faces in East Fairmont and Fairmont Senior, to name a few.
The new possible opponents still does not change the ultimate goal.
"This is a very good team," said longtime coach Joe Pepe, who sports a 238-125-25 record. "They are very committed and focused on their goals."
The returning lettermen are seniors Chad Hensley, Josh Groves, Shane Davis, Kenny Muhart, Ryan Duke, Steven Maragos, Nathan Masters, and juniors Alex Hannah and Matthew Tenaglio.
Hensley, Davis, Muhart and Duke were also all-state and all-OVAC a year ago.
Also on the squad are seniors Jeromy Falk and Zack Knuutila, junior Ryan Dragonir, sophomores Jordan Barney, Jonathon Fedoush, Ben Kopa, Kristian Fuchs, Anthony Veltri and Nicholas Barnabei and freshmen Michael Ceraolo, David Gianni, Ethan Gilbert, Ryan Kirk, Matt Stonebraker, Thomas Szymanck, Chancellor Penebaker, Caleb Foglio, Brandon Konnovitch and Tyler Stumpf.
This is a much different team than coach Greg Bowers has had during his tenure at Steubenville - young.
Bowers, in his eighth year, is 88-27-9 and Big Red was in the OVAC Cup finals last season for the third time in four years.
"We graduated 43 of our 53 goals scored last season," he said. "We will bring back a strong defense but for us to be successful we need to work on creating a lot of goal scoring opportunities. Just like years past, role players on the field will need to develop into playmakers.
"The younger players will have to learn their role in the system. We have not changed our expectations but we will have to be focused and work extra hard to achieve our goals."
The returning lettermen are seniors Brandon Llewellyn (S), Joseph DuBois (D) and Shane Fabros (MF), juniors John-Paul Duff (GK), Dominic DiCarlo (MF), Bryan Brown (D) and Blake Mullen (MF) and sophomores, Nate Kurty (D) and Jorge Dominguez (S).
Promising newcomers are seniors Dominic Fabian (MF), Kesaun Austin (S) and Rashaun Jenkins (MF), junior Tanner Westslake (MF), sophomores Jason Criss (MF), Phil Stoutz (D) and Matt Dayton and freshmen Tyler Clevenger (MF) and Parker Dalton (MF).
Bowers also has junior Charles Massie and sophomore Spencer Hancock in the fold.
Duff, the goalkeeper, was honorable mention all-Eastern District a year ago.
The five returners who scored goals last year are Dominguez (three), Llewellyn, Fabros and Kurty with two and Muller with one.
Aaron Bennett is in his first full season as Golden Bears head coach.
He took over midseason a year ago for Sam Paletta, who had a hip replaced and has since moved over to the girls team.
"Team work will be the key this year," said Bennett, whose team is off to a 3-0 start. "We have a very dedicated core group that will take leadership of the team and guide us to great things.
"We plan on taking one game at a time and seeing where it takes us.
"We would like to welcome all of our visitors to the new Bears Den."
The four captains are seniors Eric Oliver, Nick Fryer and juniors, Cullen Bennett and Chris Bailey, the final two were all-OVAC honorable mention last season.
Coach Bennett also has seniors Joe Doughty, Travis Bolner, Cory Martin and Jamie McDonald, juniors Brock Smith, Justin Bailey, Devin Polen, Ian Travis and Donnie Shoup, sophomores Addison Sayre, Cody Waggoner, Nate Bennett and Evan Hall and freshmen Jesse Lantz and Christian White.
The Crusaders return 14 players, five of which are returning lettermen and starters. Two of those starters - senior Cuyler Ledyard and junior Leo Herrmann received Eastern District and OVAC honors a year ago.
"We graduated starters from all phases of the game - goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders and forwards, and will look to returning players such as Ricky Happ, (juniors) Pat Hernon, Isaac Sanford, Carlo Fabian, Blake Kiedrowski and (sophomores) Harold Rogers and Jude Ledyard to step into those leadership positions on the field," said veteran coach Steve Kopcha.
"New players such as John-Paul McNamara (junior) and (sophomore) goalie John Bolster will contribute in key positions on the field.
"When needed, the incoming freshmen and returning upperclassmen will fill in as needed as they sontinue to learn and develop into high school soccer players."
Cuyler Ledyard and Happ are the only seniors on the 20-man roster.
Kopcha also has junior Michael Crosby, sophomores Jacob Decker, Anthony Lamantia and Chris Allietta and freshmen Anthony Raymond, Caleb Moore, Jacob Rigaud, Brady Bolger, Isaac Kiedrowski, Aiden Gotta and Kevin Herrmann.
Second-year coach Jonathan Hoover is looking for bigger and better things for his Redskins.
"We were a young team last season who gained a great deal of valuable experience," said Hoover. "We have eight returning starters including (senior) goalkeeper Matt Barker (honorable mention all-Eastern District).
"I am looking forward to seeing them improve each day. Others to watch for are (juniors) Ian Gambill, Russell Ratcliffe, and (sophomore) Max Lewis. We have a wealth of experience that should allow us to have a successful year."
Hoover also has at his disposal seniors Jared Conn, Anthony Young, Shane Johnston, Paul Stephen, Taylor Koos, Cody Shanley and James Travis, juniors Lee Utt and Kyle Probert, sophomores Jordan Herald, Cole Recinella and Chris Carr and freshmen Nick Utt, Drew Markja, Lucas Kennedy, Jonathan Blackburn and Zach Barker.
Head coach Chris Bromley is all smiles when it comes to his Wildcats, who have started the season 2-0.
"We have a lot of newcomers to the program this year, which is great for us," he said. "With new players this year, we have been working extremely hard throughout the summer. The Wildcats return seven starters from last season and have a great leadership presence from the seniors class.
"We are looking forward to the season and putting the last couple a seasons behind us."
Bromely has seniors Daniel Bell, Sam Costa, Stephen Chivers, Josh Higgins, J.D. Howell, Alec Jones, Tyler Kirk and Tony Pham, juniors Austin Barrett, Trav Bell, Brad Mason, Armando Sinicropi and Zac Sansone, sophomores Dalton Brockway, Christian Durbin, Cody Kuntupis, Cory Kumtupis and David Burghoff and freshmen David Harris and Ryan Myers.
Jefferson County Christian
Head coach Jim Seabright is in his second year and led the Royals to the SouthWestern Christian Athletic Conference championship game a year ago.
Seabright has 17 players in the fold this season and they are led by seniors Bo Johnson, Keenan Scott, Collin Cassidy, Michael Shaw and newcomer Isaac Klug.
The remainder of the roster are juniors Nic Marshall, Matt Townsend and Wes Seabright, sophomores Blaze Bowers, Garrison Mathison, Chris Brown, Christian Brown, Chris McGurn, Dillon Sindeldecker and Jerome McCoy and freshmen Michael Wendt and J.D. Pritchard.
"Our goals are always the same and leading the way is our team verse, Matthew 5:16," said the coach. "We have some scoring to replace, but we'll be fine on that end of the field. We have athletes who can play both ends of the field and that will help us.
"I like what we will bring to the table each game.
"We just have to remember each game who we are playing for."