The Patriots won the Group AAA Liberty District title, advanced to the Northern Region Division 5 final and outscored their opponents by a combined 417-182 last season.

Yet this year's team--which features 14 returning starters--could be just as explosive offensively, and even better defensively. This year's squad has more team speed; Coach Mickey Thompson said it is the fastest team he has had. Ten of the 11 offensive starters run the 40 in 5.0 seconds or faster, and the four starters in the backfield run the 40 in under 4.65 seconds.

Park View will continue to run the single wing, with a few wrinkles thrown in, but the biggest change comes on defense. "The new defense is like a throwback defense from the '40s," senior Joe Larson said. "It's similar to the single wing in that it utilizes athletes up front, more than bigness."

Virginia-bound senior Andrew Hoffman (6-5, 227) and senior Chris Lewis (5-9, 232) anchor the defensive line. Two transfers from Potomac Falls, junior linebacker Joey Weisen and junior safety Tim Murphy, give the Patriots two more athletes on defense.

Offense

QB Nick Smith (6-0, 170, Jr.)--Thompson says Smith, a third-year starter, is "the best quarterback I've seen in high school football, period." Smith is a dangerous runner (1,041 rushing yards in 1998), but Thompson is hoping to showcase Smith's strong arm this year.

Other offensive players to watch: RB Nelson Stickley, Sr.; TE Joe Larson, Sr.; RB Dustin Dudinski, Jr.; OL Andy Skinner, Sr.; OL Brad Sisson, Jr.; TE Charles Ramey, Jr.; OL Donnie Kressley, Jr.; TE Larry Eppard, Sr.

Defense

DB Mike McDermott (5-10, 165, Sr.)--The Patriots will dare teams to throw the ball against their athletic secondary, which is led by McDermott. He intercepted three passes, knocked down seven in 1998 and shut down Mount Vernon's Brian Carter, a wide receiver who had seven inches on him, in the playoffs.

Other defensive players to watch: DT Andrew Hoffman, Sr.; LB Kyle Mazaris, Jr.; DL Chris Lewis, Sr.; LB Joey Weisen, Jr.; S Tim Murphy, Jr.

* District/Division: Group AA Northwestern/Division 4.

* Coach: Mickey Thompson, 10th season.

* Last year's record: 10-2 overall, 6-1 AAA Liberty District.

* Most recent playoff appearance: 1998. Lost to West Potomac, 42-8, in Group AAA Northern Region Division 5 final.

* Starters returning (offense/defense): 9/5.

1999 Schedule

48 Sherando 0

Sept. 10

at Courtland, 7:30

Sept. 17

at Osbourn, 7:30

Sept. 24

Liberty, 7:30

Oct. 2

at Handley, 1:30

Oct. 8

Warren County, 7:30

Oct. 15

at Potomac Falls, 7:30

Oct. 22

Loudoun Valley, 7:30

Oct. 29

at Loudoun County, 7:30

Nov. 5

Broad Run, 7:30

1998 Results

44 Stuart 0

48 at Herndon 14

41 Potomac Falls 14

14 Langley 10

19 at Lee 12

47 at Marshall 6

30 Madison 12

28 at Fairfax 29

38 McLean 16

53 at Broad Run 6

47 at Mount Vernon * 21

8 West Potomac * 42

* playoffs

CAPTION: In running its uncommon single wing attack, Park View has an array of offensive weapons this season, including junior quarterback Nick Smith (9) and senior tight end Joe Larson. Smith threw for a school-record 13 touchdowns last season, and the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Larson was named first team all-state and is considered among the state's most prized college recruits. Smith and Larson also were first team all-Liberty District.

CAPTION: Andrew Hoffman will anchor the defensive line.