Favorite: Loudoun County (10-3)
The Raiders are 40-27 in six seasons under Coach Todd Hill. They advanced to the Region II Division 4 finals last season, but the loss of 18 starters will test their winning tradition. Junior Takwan Crews-Naylor succeeds prolific passer Jake Lokey (Shippensburg).
Around the league: Woodgrove stands to benefit most from Loudoun County’s attrition, but they could not beat the Raiders in two tries last year. The Wolverines return 17 starters including a three-year veteran center in Chase Smith and the district’s most dynamic runner in Josh Sweet, who rushed for 1,727 yards and scored at least three touchdowns in five games last year. Virgina-bound pass rusher J.J. Jackson is a 6-foot-4 terror off the edge. . . . Loudoun Valley will lean on an experienced pair of juniors in the backfield. Andrew Cordani topped 1,000 yards rushing and Sully Warner completed 51 percent of his passes in 2012. . . . Dominion has never finished better than 4-6 but claims continuity at quarterback and in the trenches. Offensive tackle Evan Ferguson was named MVP at West Virginia’s football camp. Yazeed Atariwa brings athleticism to the defensive line. Watch out for speedy junior linebacker Chad Smith. . . . Heritage (2-8) starts over under new Coach Reed Prosser, who implemented a pistol and zone-read offense. Justin Bethea and Paul Conteh anchor the receiving corps and the secondary. FB/LB Daniel Adigun deadlifts 560 pounds. . . . Either Champe (0-10) or Park View (0-10) will win at least one game this season. The Knights and Patriots square off in a Nov. 9 regular season finale. Park View returns its leading tacklers in Isam Shaban and Micah Hotz. Kory Kerico moves to outside linebacker in the Patriots’ conversion from a 4-3 to a 3-4 front.