Favorite: Briar Woods (15-0)
The defending AA Division 4 state champions get back senior four-year starting QB Trace McSorley (2,548 passing yards, 33 touchdowns) as well as six starters from their 3-4 front on defense.
Around the area: Briar Woods Coach Charlie Pierce has the Falcons buying into “all the cliché, coach-speak stuff,” and doesn’t believe there will be a state title hangover in Ashburn. McSorley will look to build on his 42-3 career record as a starter and the Falcons will roll with a running-back-by-committee backfield with seniors Chris Larco and Hunter Ford getting first crack. . . . At Broad Run, junior QB Brady Reitzel reprises his role from a season ago, when he accounted for 20 touchdowns in the Spartans’ single-wing attack. Senior Da’qwan Earl, a four-year varsity player, will contribute on both sides of the ball and handle return duties. He’ll line up at safety on defense. The Spartans carried a lead into the final minute of their matchup with Briar Woods before losing in Week 2 of last season. . . . When Tuscarora QB Nick Azzarita takes the field this season, he’ll become the first returning passer in the Leesburg school’s four-year history. The Huskies return seven starters to their pistol offense — including junior RB Noah Reimers (23 touchdowns). . . . At Freedom-South Riding (3-7), first-year Coach Jared Van Acker is installing a spread offense. Senior QB Trent Gilmore will start for the Eagles after missing all of 2012 with a rotator cuff injury he suffered in a preseason scrimmage. . . . Potomac Falls (4-6) hired former Oscar Smith (Cheseapeake) defensive coordinator Jason Allen in February to fill its head coaching vacancy.