Clyde football coach Marc Gibson sounds like a broken record at this point.
However, the record is playing a song the coach and the Flier football program likes to listen to, as Clyde is again the runaway favorite to win an unprecedented sixth straight Sandusky Bay Conference title in 2012.
"As I've said last year, the year before that, and probably the year before that ... it's the bullseye factor," Gibson said. "Our kids know with the expectations we have for ourselves and others have for us, the bullseye grows bigger and bigger.
"We would certainly rather be projected on the top than the bottom. If you are on the top, it's a fight to stay there. Our kids like the challenge of representing our school from what's been done in years past."
After Clyde, the rest of the coaches poll projected Huron, Perkins, Oak Harbor, Edison, Port Clinton, Margaretta and St. Mary Central Catholic.
The media poll was identical, with the exception of projecting Oak Harbor third and Perkins fourth.
The Fliers, who started 0-2 last season before edging Bellevue 14-7 in Week 3 and running roughshod over the SBC, finished the season 9-3 after a second-round loss to Columbus Eastmoor Academy. Gibson returns five starters on offense and defense, as well as his kicker, punter and long snapper. Clyde will have 45 players grades 10-12.
"Our senior class, every year, that class doesn't want to be the team that loses the streak as far as conference titles go," Gibson said. "They embrace and work towards that, and it's certainly something we talk about because it's something in our control.
"Depending on how hard we work and play, it's within our reach. This season is no different, and we'll enjoy the challenges it comes with."
Clyde brings back four-year starters Thomas Glick and Bennett Brown on both sides of the ball, with Glick being named Northwest District Player of the Year in Division III. Another welcome sight for the Fliers will be running back Brad Smith, who had a school record 1,809 yards and 32 touchdowns in the regular season to earn SBC Most Outstanding Performer.
While favored again, Clyde will have its challenges. Aside from the likes of Huron in the SBC, the Fliers have a rugged non-conference schedule of Tiffin Columbian, Eastwood and Bellevue to begin the season. All three made the playoffs last season, and are no strangers among the traditional powers in Northwest Ohio.
"We do have some open spots, we just need to find out if some guys are ready to play on a Friday night," Gibson said. "You might have kids you think can do it, but until they play on a Friday night against another team, you really don't know.
"We ran into that problem last year and it took a few games to figure that out. Fortunately it was before the season got away from us."