's preseason East Texas Class 3A poll starts at No. 10 with a Van football team that has 13 starters back, but lost key pieces to graduation.

Head coach Jared Moffatt, who is 26-9 in his first three years leading the Vandals, must replace veteran quarterback Garrett Smallwood, defensive tackle Syd Moore (now at North Texas), and linebackers Hunter Hopkins and Bryce Krumvieda (now at Texas A&M-Commerce). Hopkins will be a freshman at Arkansas on a track scholarship.

A solid running game should help Moffatt. Matt Savis had a breakout season as a sophomore in 2012, when he ran for 1,300 yards and 16 touchdowns. Classmate Wyatt Santos (6-2, 300) anchors the offensive line. Whoever takes the quarterbacking reins will have a proven pass-catcher in Andrew Platter (562 receiving yards) running routes.

But there's no doubt matching the 38.8 points per game the Vandals averaged last season will be tough.

Van has seven defensive starters back after allowing 26.1 points per game in 2012. The Vandals' secondary should be solid with Layton Meyers (5 INTs), Brock Moore (95 tackles), and Alphonso Thomas, who could be ready for a breakout sophomore season.

Despite the losses to graduation, Van will once again be in the thick of the District 15-3A championship hunt. The Vandals could very well enter the 2013 season as the front-runner, although Athens returns 18 starters from a playoff team and Canton has Chandler Eiland back for his junior season after throwing for almost 2,000 yards in 2012.