Elkin will be one of the teams to beat in the Northwest 1A football race again this season, according to coaches in the league. The Buckin' Elks were picked to finish second in the conference behind defending champion Mount Airy in a poll of Northwest 1A coaches published in the 2008 North Carolina Prep Football News yearbook. Elkin finished fifth in the nine-team league last season, winning four of eight games. East Surry is picked to finish third in 2008, followed by East Wilkes, West Wilkes, South Stokes, North Stokes, Bishop McGuinness and Alleghany. Michael Dobson of Mount Airy is the Northwest 1A's preseason player of the year. Mountain Valley 2A coaches see defending champion Wilkes Central as the team to beat in that league. Ashe County is pegged at No. 2, followed by Starmount, North Surry, Surry Central, North Wilkes and Forbush. Ashe County's Daniel Waln is the MVAC's pick for preseason player of the year. Elkin's Russell Stewart is listed as the 1A preseason all-state punter in the prep guide. The 17th edition of the North Carolina Prep Football News, published by Hamptonville's Deana King and Arnold Solomon was released this week. It's available locally at Yadkin Valley General Store in downtown Elkin. The cost is $12. The first official day of preseason practice is a week away for area teams (Aug. 1).