The Lowcountry may not produce any state title contenders in the SCISA ranks this season, but Porter-Gaud and Palmetto Christian could provide some excitement in what appears to be a rebuilding year for most teams.

Among the schools playing 11-man football, Porter-Gaud and Palmetto Christian stand out because of some key players returning from last year. The Cyclones are led by senior defensive lineman Michael Preddy. At Palmetto Christian, senior J.T. Waters is back for his fourth season at quarterback at Palmetto Christian. Northwood Academy junior Will Lloyd is one of the top returning passers in SCISA, but will need plenty of support from his defense.

St. John’s Christian played for the state title in eight-man football last season, but the Cavaliers have a new coach this fall. Cathedral Academy and Charleston Collegiate should field winning teams in the eight-man ranks as well.

PORTER-GAUD

2012: 5-6

COACH: Rick Reetz (5th season)

RETURNING STARTERS: 12 (6 offense, 6 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: DL Michael Preddy, OL Phillips Marshall, WR/DB Trey Low, LB Travis Barnett

NOTES: Preddy is one of the top senior prospects in SCISA and has verbally committed to Georgia Tech. Marshall is a three-year starter along the line. The Cyclones were 11-2 and played for the state title in 2010. Reetz is 29-18 in four seasons as head coach.

NORTHWOOD ACADEMY

2012: 2-9

COACH: Philip Keefe (2nd season)

RETURNING STARTERS: 16 (8 offense, 8 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Will Lloyd, RB Chris Williams, RB/LB Darrett Drayton, WR/DB Noah Hammond

NOTES: Keefe begins his second season as head coach with high expectations. The Chargers must improve defensively after allowing 34 points per game last season. Lloyd, a junior, threw for 1,832 yards and 14 touchdowns last fall.

FAITH CHRISTIAN

2012: 2-8

COACH: Joseph Douglas (3rd season)

RETURNING STARTERS: 10 (5 offense, 5 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: WR Logan Winningham, DE Will Boling, RB Brandon Wilson, WR Austin Pfoff, QB Jonathan Feagin

NOTES: Douglas is optimistic that Faith will be much improved as an 8-man team this season. The roster will include 17 players, the most in school history. Feagin will be a first-year starter under center but shows solid potential.

CATHEDRAL ACADEMY

2012: 7-4

COACH: Rick Howell (2nd season)

RETURNING STARTERS: 6 (3 offense, 3 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Cristian Rogers, OL/DL Ryan Carter, RB/DL Niko Brace, OL/LB Jake Lecroy, RB/DB Chandler Mafaffey

NOTES: Rogers, a junior, rushed for 1,255 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. Brace, a junior, had 122 tackles and 14 tackles for loss last season. Last year’s team was loaded with seniors, while this year’s preseason roster listed only two seniors.

PALMETTO CHRISTIAN

2012: 7-4

COACH: Jim Daniel

RETURNING STARTERS: 14 (7 offense, 7 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB J.T. Waters, LB Will Tuchfarber, RB Ryan Roe, WR Ben German, DB Chase Shimakonis

NOTES: The Eagles made a successful leap into SCISA AA ranks last season, winning seven games. Daniel has a solid cast returning which should make for a competitive season. Waters accounted for 1,644 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns and threw for 1,512 yards at quarterback while Roe gained 1,100 yards rushing. Tuchfarber is the top returner defensively, totaling 57 tackles with four sacks last season.

COASTAL CHRISTIAN

2012: 7-4

COACH: J.W. Myers (4th season)

RETURNING STARTERS: 3 (3 offense, 3 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: WR/LB Will Hollingsworth, LB/OL Josh Morgan, WR/DB Hayden Riley, WR/DB Ben Forbes, QB/FS Seth White

NOTES: Myers led his program to its first playoff appearance last season, losing in the first-round of the 8-man state playoffs.

JAMES ISLAND CHRISTIAN

2012: Chad Wheeler (1st season)

COACH: 4-6

RETURNING STARTERS: 6 (3 offense, 3 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Josh Black, OL/LB Jordan Riner, OL/LB Brandon Boyles, RB/DB Jonathan Hickman

NOTES: Wheeler comes from a position as quality control assistant at The Citadel and took the job a week before practice started. Wheeler says Black is the team’s best player and a major part of the triple option offensive attack. This will be the fourth year of the program, and the Lions made the state playoffs two years ago.

ST. JOHN’S CHRISTIAN

2012: 11-2

COACH: Matt Gilbert (1st season)

RETURNING STARTERS: 3 (3 offense, 3 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: OL Logan Brown, DL Walter Edwards, CB John Fondren, QB Dustin Parsons

NOTES: Cavaliers played for the 8-man state title last season but have been hit hard by graduation and transfers. Gilbert has three players returning that saw action. Nearly half of the roster is comprised of first-time football players, including QB Parsons, a left-handed pitcher on the baseball team.

PINEWOOD PREP

2012: 1-9

COACH: Michael Wright (1st season)

RETURNING STARTERS: 10 (5 offense, 5 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: OL Cameron Poaps, OL Clayton Are, LB Zack Latham, WR Kevin Webber

NOTES: The new head coach inherits several returning starters and feels the Panthers will be competitive. The strength is along the offensive and defensive fronts, led by Clayton Are, a 6-5, 300-pounder.

CHARLESTON COLLEGIATE

2012: 5-6

COACH: Archie Horne (3rd season)

RETURNING STARTERS: 6 (3 offense, 3 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Manny Smalls, WR Andre Coaxum, RB Justin Arnold, LB Nathaniel Reyes

NOTES: With limited numbers, the Sun Devils won five games in the 8-man ranks last season. Horne says this year’s team has a better chance to post a winning record. Reyes is a third-year starter at linebacker and is only a sophomore.

FIRST BAPTIST

2012: 10-1

COACH: Will McCombs (8th season)

RETURNING STARTERS: 4 (2 offense, 2 defense)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB/LB Noah Butler, OL/DL Robby Westbury, OL Cooper Murray, CB Owen Eberhardt

NOTES: All of the offensive production has moved on and McCombs is rebuilding the 8-man program with a roster that includes 10 freshmen. Butler will be the team’s top running back after starting at linebacker last year. McCombs sees a competitive battle at quarterback between sophomore Carter Falk and freshman Cameron Berl.