Noble has improved every season since coach Steve Barrett returned to the program three years ago. That meant a 5-5 season a year ago and a near-miss in the playoff race.
The Bears figure to be better this season, with a host of talent back. But they will have to make due without one of those players — quarterback Dakota Boxwell — for the first several weeks of the season.
Boxwell injured a ligament in his throwing hand in a noodling accident during the summer, and will be unable to take snaps for the first three games of the season. While Barrett expects to him to return under center in time for district play, he’ll spend the first month of the season playing wideout for the Bears.