They are not exactly dynasties, but last year's football champions in the Southern Maryland, Howard and Anne Arundel leagues have a good chance of repeating as titlists this fall.
In Anne Arundel, Annapolis is unsettled at quarterback and has a young offensive line, but should again be among the county's top teams. Randy Elliott and Orlando Johnson lead an experienced, quick backfield, and senior linemen Marcus Hayes and Greg Ross provide the blocking. The Panthers have Kevin Bonder and Chuck Page back to anchor the defensive line.
Arundel has Troy Turner at halfback, but its only senior on defense is safety William Shorter.
For Glen Burnie, Mike Hranicka and Marty Lewis will strengthen the secondary while Morris Randall takes care of things up front. Senior Bo Starlings returns at quarterback.
Meade will have backs Jeff Allen and Brian Pratt returning, along with most of the offensive line.
Old Mill has an improving defense and good secondary, but how well it replaces Brady Jones, who has been moved from quarterback to running back, will be the key. Chris DeBleau returns at tight end.
What will help Severna Park is a big, young offensive line and the return of 13 starters. The running game will center on senior Tom Neel; the quarterback is Tim Hart.
First-year Coach John Appett has to rebuild Andover. The defense has linebacker Marty Labella. Fullback Curtis Jacob and running back Paul Matlock are the top offensive players.
The key question mark for Broadneck is how well most of the players promoted from last season's unbeaten junior varsity adjust. Most of the Bruins' experience is on offense, where halfback Jamie Ballard, quarterback Chris Green and split end James Stevens return.
Chesapeake may be strong this season because of a new weight program, but having just four seniors puts it at a disadvantage. Ricky Dunmyer and Troy Brodgen lead the offense.
Northeast has a good defense, where linemen Tony Phillips and Joe Seidler, both juniors, return.
Southern's defense may be hard to run on with Exys Jones, a linebacker who will also play tight end, and Donny Hedler, a two-way tackle.
South River has a solid offensive backfield with quarterback Ray Kingsfield and fullback Clay Hall.
In Howard County, a defensive line that averages nearly 225 pounds and yielded just nine points a game last season will lead Wilde Lake, which is favored to repeat as county champion.
The front four is led by 6-2 1/2, 245-pound co-captain Joe Ellison. He is joined by Keith Yates and Bill Douglas (both are 6-1, 215) and Darryl Tucker, the team's largest player at 268. Wilde Lake also has a strong two-way man in middle linebacker Jack Bradford, who also rushed for 800 yards last year as a fullback.
At Oakland Mills, Joe Lewis (6-2, 220) has switched to fullback from tight end. Linemen Walter Linkins (215 pounds) and Billy Bush (250) should provide the key blocking.
Mount Hebron will count on experienced linebacker Daren Altieri.
Howard will pass more this year with quarterback Rod Flynn, who led the team to victory in five of the seven games he played in last season. Three-year starting center Scott Lee returns.
Because quarterback Mark Carper has run the option well, Atholton should pass more, primarily to split end Paul Coleman.
Glenelg has three starters back on defense led by linebacker Robert McDonald, who weighs 215, and safety Alex Pagnotta.
With two huge tackles in Jeff Hunter (6-5, 278) and Tony Rubbo (6-2, 280), Hammond's offensive line should provide plenty of protection for 5-foot-4 quarterback Tim Moran as well as blocking for running back Brandon Patrick.
Centennial will be led by junior quarterback Reneno Brooks and sophomore tailback Earl Anderson.
In Southern Maryland, Lackey will count on quarterback Tracy Lee, who started the second half of last season, and a strong defense led by tri-captains Richard Jones (a linebacker) and defensive linemen Alex Wynnyk and Danny Butler.
Leonardtown had to rebuild virtually the entire backfield, but the defense is solid. Six-foot, 225-pound guard Barry Vukmer also will play linebacker.
Northern will be led by senior quarterback Jim Remington, in addition to fullback Carlos Smith and split end Brian Gray, both of whom sat out last year.
At Thomas Stone, halfbacks Rod Thomas, Donnell Newman and quarterback Greg Williams lead the offense. End Bob Williams (6-6, 240) will anchor the defense.
Great Mills returns an entire backfield that helped the Hornets win their final four games last season. Most of the yardage should come from tailback Bernard Landon, who scored seven touchdowns last year.
Chopticon does have a veteran quarterback in sophomore Joe Kidwell, who passed for 800 yards.
McDonough's backfield is strong with senior quarterback Curtis Williams and running backs Danny Steadman -- who also plays safety and linebacker -- and Tim Nicolau.
Much of LaPlata's strength lies in its lines, led by two-way juniors Brian Ferguson and Rich Flesher, and Woody Cox, a senior defensive tackle/offensive guard.