Piedmont's coming off an 8-5 season and a playoff win. The Panthers lost nearly all of their starting linemen from last year, but most of their skill players are back. 'We're probably better than we were this time last year,' says veteran left guard Dillion Chaney.
After 212 starts in the premier series, 32-year-old AJ Allmendinger celebrated his first career Sprint Cup victory on Sunday at Watkins Glen. Allmendinger is now one of 12 drivers with a win this season.
Marvin Ridge suffered its first losing football season ever last season, and first-year coach Brad Hoover is trying to build the program back up.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. now has three Sprint Cup Series wins this season, and ranks first in the Chase Grid with five races to go before the playoffs.
Monroe's football team won 13 games last year, but the bitter taste of losing by four points in the state championship game lingers. With an experienced offense, the Redhawks are focused on finishing the job in 2014.
Sun Valley softball star Brittany Pickett has accepted a scholarship offer from the UNC Tar Heels. The rising junior led the Spartans to the 3A state title last June.