Favorite: Lake Braddock (12-1)
After seeing its undefeated run end in the Virginia 6A state quarterfinals, a motivated Bruins squad with offensive firepower seeks redemption. All-Met Offensive Player of the Year Caleb Henderson and several other key members of a Lake Braddock team that averaged 45.8 points and notched five consecutive shutouts have moved on, but the Bruins aren’t devoid of talent. All-Met WR/DB A.J. Alexander (nine receiving touchdowns and five interceptions) brings playmaking ability to both sides of the field, serving as a reliable target for new starting QB Kyle Edwards. The junior gunslinger can also depend on speedy tailback Dejoun Lee to break off long runs in the open field. Defensively, Peyton Scott mans an experienced secondary, while Abdul Ali is a threat on the line.
Around the league: After boasting one of the area’s most productive offenses, South County has an equally strong defense this year. Nine defensive starters return, including Bryce Nalls, who will team with imposing linebacker and junior transfer Kevin Allen in the trenches. The Stallions no longer have David Symmes and LeVaughn Davis to spark their option offense, but powerful rusher Rob Avery won’t be easy to slow down. . . . Fresh off its first playoff appearance in 22 years, T.C. Williams looks to build on this momentum. With RB/LB Malik Carney and DL Jeremiah Clarke now at North Carolina, the Titans will turn to quarterback Darius Holland and their seven other returning starters for production. . . . West Potomac and W.T. Woodson feature new coaches in Jeremiah Ross and Mike Dougherty, respectively. Ross takes over a Wolverines squad with 11 returning starters, including WR/DB Marquis Saldana, while Dougherty brings his fast-paced offense from Stonewall Jackson to Woodson, where QB Pat Riley and WR China Moon lead the way. . . . West Springfield returns all-conference LB Ryan Bursiek and capable rusher Adis Ojeda to improve upon last year’s 3-7 mark.
More high school football preview content