As was the case a year ago, the battle for the Region 6-A football championship will likely be a three-way affair with Cross, Baptist Hill and St. John’s battling down to the wire.

Baptist Hill is the defending league champion, posting a 4-0 region record a year ago. St. John’s lost only to the Bobcats, and Cross lost to both teams before finishing strong by winning the Division II-A state championship.

All three teams return many of their key performers from a year ago, but no team figures to run away with the championship.

“I expect all three teams will be very good, and the other two were better than we were,” said Cross coach Shaun Wright.

Baptist Hill

2012 RECORD: 7-4

COACH: Marion Brown (6th season)

RETURNING STARTERS: 10 (5 offense, 5 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Troy Harrison, RB Dakota Holmes, WR DeAngelo Frazier, LB Rashad Holmes

NOTES: Bobcats have 12 seniors, and Brown likes the leadership aspect of his team. Only two linemen return, a point of emphasis during preseason. Harrison is a three-year starter at quarterback while Frazier is one of the top players in Class A.

Cross

2012 RECORD: 11-3

COACH: Shaun Wright (5th season)

RETURNING STARTERS: 12 (6 offense, 6 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB Devantae Shepherd, RB Dionte Evans, RB Diamante Evans, OL/DL Greg Jones

NOTES: Cross is led by the three-headed monster at running back, a trio that rushed for 3,000 yards last season. Cross will have a new quarterback but returns solid experience up front. Trojans are dealing with the untimely death of defensive coordinator Antonio Simmons only two weeks before the start of practice.

St. John’s

2012 RECORD: 6-5

COACH: Brad Bowles (1st season)

RETURNING STARTERS: 12 (6 offense, 6 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB/LB Tresvon Coakley, WR/DB Taiwan Green, RB/LB Jordan Hammond

NOTES: Bowles takes over after several seasons as an assistant at Goose Creek. Coakley is considered the top overall prospect in the region. Strength of this year’s team is in the skill positions and linebacker.

Military Magnet

2012 RECORD: 3-8

COACH: Gene Ross (8th season)

RETURNING STARTERS: 10 (4 offense, 6 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB/LB Ivan Wiggins, QB/LB DeAngelo Rivers, OL/DL Kyle Oliver, OL/DL Deon Brown

NOTES: Ross says his program lacks size and depth, making it hard to compete with the better programs in the region. However, he does like their attitude and competitive nature. Key to success is cutting down on turnovers after losing several close games last season due to miscues. Five losses last year were by a touchdown or less.

Lincoln

2012 RECORD: 0-10

COACH: James Waring (1st season)

RETURNING STARTERS: 12 (6 offense, 6 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Eric Manigault, RB Chris George, DL Antonyo Pinckney, OL Nate Grampus

NOTES: Waring is in his second stint at Lincoln and was the head coach at St. John’s last season. Waring guided the program from 1991 to 1996 and won 29 games during that time. Lincoln has won only 33 games since 1997. Numbers are way up as well as the roster will have nearly twice as many players as they did last season.