Football rankings rollout: Nos. 17-14


Yorktown All-Met running back M.J. Stewart gained 1,842 rushing yards and intercepted 10 passes for the Patriots, who open the season at No. 17. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post).

17. YORKTOWN
2012 record: 12-1 (lost 69-50 to Stone Bridge in the Virginia AAA Northern Region Division 5 final)
Notable returners: RB/DB M.J. Stewart, QB Will Roebuck, OL/DL Teddy Schroeder
Notable losses: FB/DB Arturo Brown, LB Tyler Donnelly, DB Micah Gregory, WR Nick Yore
Games to Watch: vs. Hayfield (Oct. 11), vs. Chantilly (Oct. 25)
Overview: First-team All-Met M.J. Stewart, the reigning Northern Region Offensive Player of the Year, is back for his senior campaign after rushing for 1,842 yards and 27 touchdowns last season. The Patriots graduated six starters on defense, leaving Coach Bruce Hanson to rely on a young unit and Stewart, who had 10 interceptions last year and will play in the secondary at North Carolina. Offensively, senior QB Will Roebuck has the ability to find receivers on intermediate routes and will be protected by an improved offensive line. The move up to Class 6A is expected to make the playoffs a bit tougher for the Patriots, who have fallen just short of the state semifinals the last two seasons, but with one of the area’s top two-way players in Stewart, Yorktown remains a threat.

16. BATTLEFIELD
2012 record: 8-4 (lost 19-7 to Hylton in the Virginia AAA Northwest Region Division 6 semifinals)
Notable returners: H-back Cameron Skaff; TE Brandon Whaley; OL Josh Lakey
Notable losses: 
QB Ryan Swingle; WR Nick Newman
Games to Watch: 
at Woodbridge (Aug. 30), vs. Hylton (Oct. 4), vs. Stonewall Jackson (Oct. 10)
Overview:
 If Battlefield makes any kind of playoff run, it could be Mark Cox’s best coaching job to-date; the Bobcats’ roster features only six players with postseason experience. Junior QB Matt Gallagher attempted just four passes last season as a backup, but enters 2013 as Battlefield’s clear number-one option under center. Mammoth senior OT Josh Lakey (6-6, 270) will provide a veteran presence up front. The season opener against Woodbridge should be a litmus test for the Bobcats, whose opponents in games two through four combined for a record of 8-22 (.364) last season.

15. DAMASCUS
2012 record: 
10-1 (lost to Urbana 24-23 in Maryland 3A West region semifinal)
Notable returners: WR/DB Jalen Christian; TE Stephon Jacob; OL/DL Chris Whalen; QB Chase Williams; LB Ari Cacapardo
Notable losses: LB/WR Zach Bradshaw; LB George Vinson; DL Rashard Budd; DL Andrew Nickell
Games to Watch:  vs. Quince Orchard (Sept. 20), at Seneca Valley (Oct. 25), at Churchill (Nov. 8)
Outlook: Graduation hit the Swarmin’ Hornets hard, especially on the defensive front with the departures of defensive linemen Rashard Budd and Andrew Nickell, as well as first team All-Met utility man Zach Bradshaw. But Damascus still has prime-time talent. Junior WR/DB Jalen Christian is one of the best players in all of Maryland, and senior QB Chase Williams was the team’s most productive offensive player in 2012 (1,434 yards, 14 touchdowns). The Swarmin’ Hornets have a difficult schedule, including road tests at Seneca Valley and Churchill late in the season – but none is bigger than the Sept. 20 home date against Quince Orchard.

14. WESTFIELD
2012 record: 12-1 (lost to 23-16 Oakton in the Virginia AAA Northern Region Division 6 final)
Notable returners: RB Tyler Thrasher-Walker, WR Devon Burns, LB Connor McNulty
Notable losses: RB Dalaun Richardson, QB Chris Mullins, OL Joon Yeo, DL Brian Deely
Games to Watch: at Lake Braddock (Sept. 20), vs. Stone Bridge (Oct. 4), at Centreville (Oct. 11)
Overview: The Bulldogs are coming off their second straight 12-1 season, Concorde District crown and trip to the Northern Region Div. 6 final. Matching or bettering this success will prove a test, what with Westfield’s two top offensive producers and three offensive linemen graduating, but the Bulldogs still have their share of weapons. Tyler Thrasher-Walker is an explosive, speedy rusher who gained 882 yards last season, while the defense possesses a number of experienced players, including LB Connor McNulty, who can help slow opponents on their tough schedule. Mason Scoville has taken many of the preseason snaps at QB and should he secure the starting job, his confidence and evolution will be key to the team’s success.

Previously: Nos. 20-18

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