2012 record: 8-4 (lost to Oakton, 14-13, in Virginia AAA Division 6 Northern Region semifinals)
Notable returners: WR/DB A.J. Turner, DL/LB Chad Wiggins, WR/DB Charles Tutt, RB/DB Xavier Nickens-Yzer
Notable losses: None
Games to Watch: at Chantilly (Oct. 4), vs. Westfield (Oct. 11)
Overview: With 18 starters returning (nine on each side of the ball), the Wildcats have the potential for a deep playoff run. The level of talent at their skill positions makes them a dangerous team, led by two-way junior starters A.J. Turner and Charles Tutt. Turner used his blazing speed to accumulate 1,213 rushing yards while Tutt tied Turner for the team lead with five interceptions. Defensively, opponents will have trouble getting past hard-hitting, all-purpose defender Chad Wiggins and junior linebacker Tyler Love, who had a team-high 155 tackles last season. As always, the Concorde District will present several tough matchups but should the Wildcats survive, they will be battle-tested for the postseason.
4. Quince Orchard
2012 record: 12-2 (lost to Wise, 12-7, in the Maryland 4A state final)
Notable returners: WR Elliott Davis, QB Mike Murtaugh, RB Kevin Joppy, DB Malcolm Brown, DB Kyle Gregory, DT Adam McLean
Notable losses: LB Marcus Newby, DE Andrew Ankrah, QB Matt Choi, RB Tyrell Williams, DB D’Andre Johnson
Games to Watch: at Damascus, Sept. 20; at Gaithersburg, Oct. 25
Overview: The Cougars have been one of the state’s dominant programs over the last five years, but they’ve come up short in the 4A title game in each of the past two seasons. Quince Orchard will once again be a favorite to return to M&T Bank Stadium this season despite losing Nebraska recruit Marcus Newby. The Cougars return quarterback Mike Murtaugh from a torn ACL a year ago, as well as heavily recruited wide receiver Elliott Davis. Bolstering the roster are the additions of transfers Kevin Joppy (Seneca Valley) and 6-foot-3, 260-pound junior defensive tackle Adam McLean (Friendship Collegiate), who should be among the best players at any position in the county this fall.