Woodbridge knocked off Hylton two years ago and toppled Osbourn Park last season. Are the upset specialist Vikings, 20-40 the past six years, ready to make a more sustained move?

It won't be easy, at least not in the Cardinal District. Not only do they have to tangle with Hylton twice, they also have lost 12 straight to Gar-Field and are 2-4 against Forest Park. So if Woodbridge is to challenge for a playoff spot, there is much ground to be made up.

Enter senior running back Andre Bratton, who might be just the guy to chew up that ground. Injured for much of his high school career, Bratton, playing at about 15 pounds heavier, could be primed for a big-time season if he stays healthy and if a young offensive line matures as hoped.

Bratton accounts for 13 of the 17 touchdowns scored by returning Vikings -- nine rushing, two receiving, two on kick returns. Senior Derrick Holt (five rushing TDs each of the past two seasons) is back at Woodbridge after spending a year at Gar-Field.

Fourth-year coach Keith King is now fully entrenched. The players in the program have known no other Woodbridge head coach, and he is banking on that cohesion assisting the turnaround efforts.

"The kids are just more into it and more into being a team and talking and pushing one another," said King, who welcomes back a veteran defense. "This is the first group that came in when we came in. Now they understand that we're all together and it's about us and not one individual."