Coaches from the Big 8 Conference and SRVC assembled Wednesday in Duquesne to provide a season outlook and reaction to the preseason poll.
Miller was selected to defend its conference title and picked up four of the six available first-place votes oaches could not vote for their own school, and one coach did not return a ballot. Miller edged the Pierce City by one point in the poll, 44-43.
"We lost 12 seniors and five All-State players due to graduation," said Baldwin. "Those players accounted for 80 touchdowns. This season we are going to learn a lot about ourselves. We only have one skill position player returning."
Miller has been blessed with large numbers at their summer workouts with an average attendance of 38 players. One area of strength for the Cardinals this season is offensive and defensive line.
"We return four linemen and two of which were All-Conference selections," said Baldwin. "Our team speed will be equal to that of last year's squad. With the experience we have returning on the line, our skill players should have time to develop."
Pierce City finished the 2010 campaign at 10-2 under first-year head coach Mac Whitehead, with both losses coming to league-rival Miller the latest in the second round of the playoffs. The Eagles picked up two first-place votes and were ranked in the top three on all six ballots returned.
"Things are different this year in Pierce City," said Whitehead. "With the passing of Coach Doug Weatherly, you just can't replace the 22 years of experience he brought to the team. This season we are going to have to respond and overcome that loss."
Assistant Coach Kenny O'Hara will take over the defense for the Eagles.
Pierce City graduated nine player off last year's squad and has replaced them with 11 incoming freshmen.
"We are going to be young," said Whitehead. "Cedric O'Hara and Curtis Palmer will carry our load on offense. We had a great summer workout and our ready to hit the field."
Lockwood (6-4) was third in the survey with 37 points and the other remaining first-place vote. Greenfield (6-5) ended up fourth in the poll with 35 points. The Wildcats fell to Pierce City in the opening round of the 2010 postseason.
Editor note: The Big 8 Conference preview will be in Friday's paper.