OFFENSE

As senior QB Pat McDonough get more accustomed to the Raiders' offensive scheme, look for Coach Pat McManus to turn to his stable of running backs to help carry the offensive load. Senior RB Danny Slack (6 feet, 205) and senior FB Billy Sweeney (5-10, 200) are returning starters. They expect to get considerable help in the backfield from senior FB Mark Breeden (5-10, 180) and senior RBs Austin Pomerene (6-0, 190) and Anthony Stewart (5-9, 175). Junior RB Morgan Hunt (5-9, 165), a transfer from Heritage, also figures to be in the mix. The struggle for Loudoun County will be with the line, where the Raiders return one starter -- senior C Robbie Greer (6-0, 210). The rest of the line will be juniors and averages 215 pounds, which is slightly undersized compared to the rest of the district. "We just have so many question marks because of our youth," McManus said. "As a result, our offense won't be completely ready that first game. It just won't. But we're going to live with what we have until it starts to come around, and hopefully that progress will come quickly." Senior Aaron Akers (6-0, 185) and junior Jay Brown (5-9, 170) will handle the wide receiver duties with help from TEs Kevin Goolsby (6-3, 190) and Tanner Tagg (6-4, 220).

DEFENSE

The Raiders are significantly more experienced on defense, and they are bigger there, too. Leading the charge up front will be junior DT Nick Fedor (6-0, 280) and senior DT Jamar Taylor (5-10, 310), with senior DEs Kevin Gray (6-1, 210) and Trey Wilhoite (6-1, 200) on the outside. Slack and Sweeney both return at linebacker, where they will be joined by Breeden, junior John Jameson (5-10, 180) and senior Ben Suslowicz (5-10, 190). Anchoring the Raiders' secondary will be Akers, McDonough, senior Marcus Newberry (5-8, 160) and senior FS Brian Thompson (5-10, 185).

OUTLOOK

Loudoun County remains one of the smallest teams in the AA Dulles District. But McManus is hoping that with Pomerene, who punts the ball 40 yards consistently, and the addition of senior PK Kevin Hart, a converted soccer player who is comfortable kicking field goals from about 30 yards, they'll be able to win the field-position battle. "I've been trying to explain to these guys that you don't have to score every time you touch the ball to win the game. . . . We're going to try and control the clock and focus on our field position. And if we can score 14 to 17 points per game, then we're hoping our defense can make that be enough to win," McManus said.