Riverdale got back into the postseason mode last season after missing the playoffs in 2013.
The Warriors finished with an impressive 8-3 record before falling in the second round of the TSSAA playoffs to Blackman for a second time. The Warriors' only other loss came at the hands of Oakland.
Veteran coach Ron Aydelott hopes last year's success will have a positive carry-over effect in 2015.
"You always hopes so," Aydelott said. "But every team in high school football is different every year. I thought we maximized pretty well with what we had last year. We lost to two teams three times which were clearly better than us. If we can maintain and beat those teams we beat and close the game with the other two, it will be interesting."
Offensively, Riverdale will have a new quarterback as senior Brandon Bea, a transfer from Vancouver, Washington, will most likely start. Sophomore Christian Souffront also could be in the mix.
Riverdale appears to have a bevy of skill position players, including tailbacks Austin Bryan, Jordan Jefferson, Jerry Young and Artavious Collier.
Bea also will have several quality targets, including Marqwell Odom, Brandon Sommerville, Marquise Cantrell, Preston Barge and Gentry Bonds.
"I think we'll be better at our skill positions," Aydelott said. "Our strengths would be our running backs who return and our receivers for the most part. The problems may be on the line, especially with depth. We've got some new bodies who don't have a lot of experience."
Bea will obviously be a key to the Warriors' offensive success.
"He has the ability to be as good or better than what we had last year, but we haven't seen him under fire, so it's kind of an unknown right now," Aydelott said. "
Defensively, the strength will be in the secondary, but there are concerns across the board, Aydelott said.
"It's a lot of the same thing as on offense," he said. "The secondary should make a lot of plays. We have a lot of returners who aren't burners, but they know what to do and are athletic.
"Our problems are going to be kind of down the middle. We have some good linebackers and our front guys are good, but depth-wise we are really challenged there. The two ends and outside linebackers have potential, but we're replacing starters from last year."
The line will be anchored by LaVonte Martin, Nick Boykin, Seth Black, Mario Saunders and Leon McLemore, while Canaan Owens, Marques Locke, Jordan Jefferson, Austin Valentine, Kentrell Green and Isaiah Stewart will all vie for time at linebacker.
Along with its difficult league matchups, Riverdale faces Ooltewah, Franklin and Hillsboro in non-conference games.
"There's no reason to shy from people because everybody makes the playoffs," Aydellot said. "Our schedule is tough and it was last year. If everybody is up to standard, it will be a really tough schedule."
Aydelott said his two biggest concerns are depth and leadership.
"We had one more student than La Vergne, so we're the smallest school in 6A other than Maryville. They have open zoning. We get who walks in through the door.
"But the thing that really concerns me about this team is leadership. What will we do when we face adversity? Last year our leadership was very strong."
Under the old playoff system, Riverdale would be a virtual lock to be in the playoffs. Many pundits think this could be the Warriors' year to return to the top of the region. However, how it stacks up with Oakland and Blackman, as well as Smyrna and Siegel will ultimately decide their fate. If Riverdale can develop more depth and avoid key injuries, it certainly seems poised for a nice playoff run.
QB: Brandon Bea, Sr.; Christian Souffront, So.
RB: Austin Bryant, Sr.; Jordan Jefferson, Jr., Jerry Young, So., Artavious Collier, Sr.
WR: Marqwell Odom, Jr. Brandon Sommerville, Sr., Marquise Cantrell, Sr., Preston Barge, Jr., Gentry Bonds, Jr.
TE: Canaan Owens, Sr., Austin Valentine, So.; Kentrell Green, Jr.
OL: Sam Glasgow, Sr.; Nick Boykin, Jr.; Seth Black, Sr.; Casen Sloan, Sr.; Jonathan Conyers, Sr.; DJ Johnson, Sr.; Jordan Cordova, So.
DL: LaVonte Martin, Jr.; Nick Boykin, Jr.; Seth Black, Sr.; Mario Saunders, So.; Leon McLemore, Jr.
LB: Canaan Owens, Sr.; Marques Locke, Jr.; Jordan Jefferson, Jr.; Austin Valentine, So.; Kentrell Green, Jr., Isaiah Stewart, Jr.
DB: Marqwell Odom, Jr.; Preston Barge, Jr.; Bradon Sommerville, Sr.
S: Jarek Campbell, So.; Gentry Bonds, Jr.; Clay Scothern, So.
K: Drew Brown, Jr.
P: Gentry Bonds, Jr.
Sports editor Monte Hale Jr. may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org