T.C. Williams won a tight Virginia AAA Northern District football title a year ago with six sophomores as starters. This fall, the Titans could win the Northern Region. Season openers are a week away for most schools.
T.C. Williams has most of its skill people back. Tackle Joe Ledbetter (6-feet-5, 215 pounds) is the top lineman. All-District receiver Shawn McNeil (10 touchdowns) and top tackler and safety Evert Mitchell return, as does the backfield of speedy Julius Byrd and powerful Brent Lowery.
W.T. Woodson has finished first or second in the Northern District the last six seasons. Coach John Cox has another strong squad. Junior linebacker Andy Heck (6-6, 230) runs a 4.85 40-yard dash and already has the college scouts looking. Defensive tackle Pete Larsen, safety Doug Beaver, split end Jim McGlothlin and runner Jeff Molyniak are other key Cavaliers.
Robinson has all-Met placekicker Joel Dempsey, who converted 10 of 16 field goals, including a 47-yarder and punter Ricky Walsh. Also back are solid linebackers Ted Bridges and Brett Hopkins, fine tight end Chris Warren and veteran quarterback Mark Gilbertson.
All-District defensive tackle Mike Grisillo and guard Robby Goff lead an improving West Springfield squad while quarterback Jeff Beathard is the big gun for new Oakton Coach Bob Herb. Tight end Jeff Buser and linebacker Hank McCracken will try to lift Lake Braddock out of the cellar.
In the Gunston District, all-Met nose guard Sean Scott and all-District passer Frank Smith pace a Mount Vernon team favored to repeat after losing in the state semifinals a year ago. Linebacker John Rymiszewski and fullback Lee Proctor are the other major factors for Coach Bruce Patrick.
Edison didn't lose any of the five games quarterback Tony Bettinger started last year, and with Bettinger and linemen Dimitrious Pikrallidais and David Barnett returning, the Eagles should challenge.
Junior quarterback Jeff Jarosz, end Paul White, fullback Eric Miles and guard Mark Federovitch will help Lee contend. Fort Hunt returns most of its linemen, including Phil Smith and Joe Franconi, but aside from swift tailback Willie McCollom and wingback Matt Kropf, the skill positions are weak. Groveton and Hayfield will both struggle.
In the Potomac District, a four-way race is shaping up. Annandale Coach Bob Hardage welcomes back 12 starters, including all-District runner Tim Scott and backfield partner George Fruchterman. Safety Steve Caro, tackle Shawn Thomasson and linebacker Dan McGuire lead a tough defense.
Defending champion Chantilly hopes Tim Boyle is as good a quarterback as he is a punter. Tackle David Harper leads a strong defensive line, but the offensive line and receivers are suspect.
Quarterback John Brosnahan will run Stuart's pro-set offense that has strength in receivers Mike Smith and Tim Love, fullback Bernard Trice, and kicker Brian Mowry. Top defenders are Dean Kontzias, Steve Miller and John Overstreet.
Wakefield quarterback Allan Glascock, who threw only three interceptions in 241 passes in 1982, will throw behind a line that boasts two all-District linemen in 6-5 tackle Richard Bates and guard Mike Moore. Linebacker Marty Weible and safety Rudy Jackson are hard-hitters and tailback Carl Barbee is fast.
Left-handed passer Mark Salisbury and end Steve Pitt (48 catches, eight touchdowns) make Jefferson's offense strong. Kenny Wright, Randy Blanchetti and Brian Craft are first-rate linebackers and Tom Weston, Tim Ware and Mike Mitkeff are all good blockers.
Falls Church has a young but talented team. At Fairfax, Coach Francis Dall takes over following 17 years at Western Albemarle where he never finished worse than second.
Madison didn't lose a Great Falls District game in 1982, and Chuck Sell's Warhawks should win their sixth title in eight years. Center Steve Vaughn, linebacker Sean Fitzsimmons and cornerback Ron Lipscomb return. Quarterback Jon Hall and receiver Mike Colbert will lead the offense, along with tight end Tim Toomey.
South Lakes quarterback David Ritchie returns for his third year with tailback Willie Paige the main target. Linemen Mike Day, Kevin Young and Eric Locklear are standouts, as is safety Tim Ramey.
Do-everything junior quarterback Jeff Roberts leads a strong Herndon offense that features receiver Ted Derenge and tackle Brian Sargent.
Langley has a new head coach, Mike Weaver, a former Madison assistant. Linebacker David MacLaury and tackle Jeff David (6-3, 240) lead the Saxon defense. Ken Smith moves from tailback to receiver while Richie Schweiker joins fullback John Lucidi and quarterback John Link in the backfield.
Washington-Lee's Keith Butler is the leading returning rusher in Northern Virginia. Fullback Neil Heilman, and running backs Robert Courtney and Paris Williams join Butler in the fine General backfield that runs behind a strong offensive line.
Yorktown will have a tough season despite quarterback Dan Sweeney, linebacker Joe Bailey and wingback Blaine Bellard. McLean has 18 starters back including Craig Fielder, while new Marshall Coach Neil Callahan does not have much talent to start with.
Fauquier was the surprise champion in the Commonwealth District last year and the Falcons should hold off challenges from Potomac, Gar-Field and Woodbridge this fall. All-Met defensive tackle Billy Dores also plays guard on offense, anchoring a massive front wall that includes center Randy Whiting (6-2, 245) and tackle Moses Coates (6-3, 210). David Marshall and Alan Harris provide good speed in the backfield.
Inexperienced Potomac may have a hard time duplicating its 1982 7-2-1 mark despite defensive tackle Steve Colcomb, former tight end Paul Theriault, now at fullback, and safety Wayne Gilbert who may play quarterback. Woodbridge should improve its 6-4 record although the Vikings need linebackers and a fullback. Safety Tommy Belcher, linemen Jerry Ross and Kerry McAfee, tailback Jimmy Long and quarterback Matt Floyd are all potential stars, and kicker Andy Mueck and safety Fred Schmeid were All-District choices.
Nine returning defensive starters, led by tackle David Digesu and end Ricky Bell, spearhead the improved Stonewall Jackson team. Quarterback Tom Whorstell will hand off to Torland Green and Andre Sutherland, but he needs a receiver.
Chuck Boyer will be throwing often to tight end Howard Houston for Gar-Field. Chuck Benson, Dwayne Beaty and Dwayne Wilson pace the defense. Jimmy Null has a rebuilding job to do at North Stafford with only guard John Jenkins and runner Tommy Dixon returning. Stafford, despite passer Scott Starnes, punter John Druiett and runner Darryl Smith and James Wood must rebuild. (Next week: Virginia AA-Northwestern and Virginia A-Bull Run)