Another season is here and the first South Dakota Sportswriters Football poll for 2016 has been released.

The defending champions of Class 11AAA Sioux Falls Washington received the most votes and open the season as the Sportswriters top team. Washington brings back a couple of starters on the offensive line and playmakers including Logan Uttecht. Jack Bren and Peyton Garrow highlight the defensive backfield for the Warriors as they look to go back-to-back this season.

Right behind Washington is Roosevelt. The Rough Riders return quite a few starters and players with varsity experience. Torren Devericks will take over the reigns at quarterback full time this season following a few appearances last year after Jett Thune was injured. Austin Johnson and Demario Hester return at the wide receiver position and Tyson Jahn is back at running back. Defensively, Carter Carstens will lead the defensive line and unit with  Cole Zwahr, Carter Lohr, Nathan Varns, and Dylan Garrow right behind him.

Brandon Valley has a lot of talent that is back this year on both sides of the ball. The Lynx return their quarterback in Alex Waltner and his main targets that include Spencer Grage and Chase Grode. Three starters also return on the offensive line and a good amount of the offensive players will play defense as well.

O'Gorman fell just short of a state title last season in 11AAA, and they enter 2016 with a new identity. Steve Kueter has retired and former Pierre coach Jason Poppinga has taken over as the Knights coach. With the change, the Knights offensive might look a bit more pass happy than it has over the last three decades. The Knights are in a transition having to replace players such as Luke Fritsch, Dodi Makwinja, and everyone else on the offensive side of the ball. Hunter Thompson will take over the quarterback position this season and will also remain at defensive back.

Lincoln comes in at number five in the preseason rankings for the South Dakota Sportswriters. Coach Aaron Beavers will look to get his young team back into the mix after a 5-4 season and a loss in the quarterfinals.

Class 11AAA Poll (First place votes, total votes, last year's final ranking)

1. SF Washington (4) 33 1
2. SF Roosevelt (3) 31 2
3. Brandon Valley 21 4
4. SF O’Gorman 20 3
5. SF Lincoln (1) 15 5

Class 11AA Poll

1. Yankton (5) 31 3
2. Mitchell (2) 28 2
3. Harrisburg (1) 26 4
4. Pierre 21 1
5. Brookings 14 5

Class 11A Poll

T1. West Central (4) 33 3
T1. Madison (3) 33 1
3. SF Christian 21 4
4. St. Thomas More (1) 17 2
5. Tea Area 7 NR

Class 11B Poll

1. Winner (8) 40 1
2. Tri-Valley 27 3
3. Aberdeen Roncalli 15 2
4. Groton Area 12 4
5. Sioux Valley 10 NR

Class 9AA Poll

1. Wolsey-Wessington(6) 34 2
2. Canistota (1) 22 (1 in 9A)
3. Webster Area (1) 20 4
4. W/WS/SC 14 1
5. Chester Area 11 3

Class 9A Poll

1. Sully Buttes (7) 36 5
2. Scotland 17 4
T3. Waverly-South Shore 16 2
T3. Warner (1) 16 3
5. Potter County 12 NR

Class 9B Poll

1. Langford Area (8) 40 1
2. Harding County 24 4
3. Corsica-Stickney 23 3
4. Colome 14 2
5. Hamlin 13 5