Even though Anacostia has lost several excellent players through graduation, Coach Willie Stewart's team has enough talent to be considered the favorite to win the Eastern Division and overall Interhigh football championships.
"I have enough kids coming back to win the East this year," Stewart said.
This season will mark the end of an era at Anacostia, with Delmar Chesley the last member of the Chesley family to play in the Interhigh League.
Chesley, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound senior, will play linebacker for the Indians. His teammates will include Brian Wise (running back) and Bryan Nance (offensive tackle).
"I feel that we are going to defend our championship," said defensive coordinator Eddie Williams. "However, to repeat is going to be a little bit of pressure. We are going to play one game at a time."
Sophomores will play a major role at Ballou. New Coach Frank Young has only 15 to 20 players returning.
"We are a young team," Young said. "But I have a very mature group of 10th graders."
One of Young's first duties was to scrap former Coach Steve Powell's offensive system for a simpler one. Former McKinley standout Lawrence Moten will be the new offensive coordinator to devise the system.
"They (the players) have expressed themselves about the complicated system and all the motion," Young said. "Sometimes, they didn't know where they were going. Our offense will be very simple and easy to learn. They won't have any problems picking it up."
Sophomore Anthony Parker will play quarterback. Senior Darious Bowman will be the key on defense for Ballou.
Eastern may challenge Anacostia.
"I feel that, with the right attitude, we should be in the thick of things," said Ramblers Coach James Fields. "But it all depends on the kids. I have only 11 returning ball players."
Fields is hoping kicker Marc Palmer can score points. Also returning are Don Hightower, Derrick McDonald and Gregory Simmons at wide receiver. Anthony Clarke, Michael Walker and Donald Washington are the key running backs and Kevin Brown and Shaun Ashberry will each play offensive and defensive tackles. Vincent Dodd and Don Wicks are the key defensive backs.
Spingarn will have several players playing both offense and defense.
"We have a lot of people back," said Larry Miles, assistant coach in charge of defensive backs and scouting. "It shouldn't be that hard. Some of them played two positions last year."
Coach George Spicer will depend on Avin Colefield, who will play both running back and linebacker. Chris Mayhorn will play offensive guard and linebacker. Derrick Logan will probably start at quarterback. Kenny Allen, Daniel Fields and Harold Harris will be in the starting defensive backfield and Barn Wilson and Nash Jones will be kick returners for the Green Wave.
Coach Robert Headen wants his H.D. Woodson team to reclaim its usual spot at the top of the East Division. But, last year, the Warriors fell to 5-5 while playing a tough schedule. This year, Headen must field a young team.
"We are going to be fair this year," said Headen. "We should be all right, but some guys will have to go both ways. We have a young team coming in, but I also have some experienced guys."
Gerald Robeson probably will start at quarterback. Michael Holly and Thomas Jefferies are the starting wide receivers. Rodney Wilson, who is also a linebacker, will be the key on the offensive line along with Kevin McGregor and Roderick Daniels. Fred McCoy will start at tight end. Ronald Jones, Bobby Williams and Johnny Vessel will start in the defensive backfield.
Every year in the West, coaches Luther Banner of Dunbar and James Tillerson of Theodore Roosevelt talk about their teams' lack of talent.
But, at the end of the season, their teams usually are near the top in the division. This fall should be no different.
"We had 26 seniors graduate," said Banner. "At the skill positions we are good, but it's a matter from tackle to tackle where there will be some problems.
"I think our biggest strength is offense. We probably have the best quarterback in the whole area in Louis Brown and Osorio Jackson is the best running back around."
"Right now, I'm probably at the bottom trying to be competitive," said Tillerson.
Thirty players are returning from last year's squad, including wide receiver Maurice Johnson and running back Robert Thomas, who is the Interhigh sprint champion.
"I don't have a quarterback and I'm going to run what the defense dictates," said Tillerson.
Cardozo Coach Bobby Richards will depend a lot on sophomores to turn the Clerks' fortunes around. Richards spent most of the summer looking for players and equipment.
"I hope to get at least 30 incoming 10th graders," said Richards. "We should have at least 20 returnees coming back."
Sam Taylor returns for another tenure coaching at Coolidge, and must find some players. Taylor took over the program in June and discovered that some of his players have transferred to other schools.
"We are starting from scratch," said Taylor, who coached at Coolidge in the 1970's. "We are going to work hard from there. We are not going to short-cut. We are going to take our time and do it right."
Coach Hank Saunders will depend on experienced players at McKinley. He will have veterans on the offensive line, at wide receiver and in the defensive backfield.
"We look pretty good and we should win a few games," Saunders said. He will depend on running backs Charles Adams, James Holbrook and Archie McCrea. Antonio Price and Kenneth Wallace will be the receivers.
Mike Fielder, Eric Simms and Kevin Wedge will lead McKinley's offensive line. Linemen Gregory Jones and Reginald Lewis will play both offensive and defensive tackles.
Wilson Coach Horace Flemming will depend on two players on both lines. Flemming rests his hopes on Mark Ausbrooks and Tommy Thompson.
"They are going to anchor the line," he said. "We are going to have to be more consistent and grow from week to week."