The Patriots return four starters on offense, meaning there were plenty of positions up for grabs during preseason drills. One that wasn't was tailback, where junior Deric Dudinski (5 feet 8, 170 pounds) is back after a smashing sophomore season.
Dudinski, the AA Dulles District's leading rusher last season, earned second-team Region II honors after totaling 1,627 yards and 17 touchdowns on 245 carries, an average of 6.6 yards per carry. He was not held under 115 yards in any single game, twice surpassed 200 yards and scored three or more touchdowns four times.
"He looks great," Coach Andy Hill said of Dudinski. "He's an amazing athlete. And the best thing is, even though he's only a junior he's showing great leadership skills, too. I expect him to have another great season."
Dudinski will have to maneuver in a multi-faceted offense behind a mostly new offensive line, where the only returning starter is junior James Nolen (6-6, 240).
"We won't have the bulk up front of last season," Hill said. "But we'll be quicker."
The starting quarterback position has not yet been settled, with sophomore C.J. Razier and seniors Kerry Dudley (5-11, 175) and Greg Stuart (6-4, 205) competing.
Whoever wins the position will have many options, including senior FB Curtis Coker (6-1, 215), senior WRs Andre Allen (5-5, 130) and Ramon Mends (6-0, 190) and senior TE Joey Stefanacci (6-4, 205).
Park View will run a 4-4 defense that will highlight the team's speed. It also means several players will be rotating in and out of the starting lineup.
"We definitely want to emphasize our speed on defense and play to the strengths of the kids," Hill said. "That will be our focus."
Included in the rotation will be returning players Nolen, David Abedrabo (6-3, 230) and Andrew Kinas (5-10, 195). Another up-and-coming figure at defensive end is sophomore Thomas Mulabah (6-2, 240), who is extremely quick and agile.
There will be a similar rotation at linebacker, where Coker, Dudley and Mends will lead the way. The secondary will include Allen, Dudinski and Stuart, who Hill describes as the hardest hitter on the team, at free safety.
"We're in a real good situation with our schedule because we don't play until September 9th, and with being in a new system, that additional practice time will be very valuable," Hill said.
There will be a lot of new faces in the Patriots' starting lineup, but the return of Dudinski has many in the district predicting that Park View will make a run at the title. The only two teams to defeat the Patriots a year ago were district champion Stone Bridge and runner-up Loudoun Valley, both of which have moved to Class AAA this season.
"The beauty of what Coach [Charlie] Pierce left here was that the kids expect to compete and to win every year whether Stone Bridge is in the league or not," Hill said.
"I'll be honest, some of our guys are disappointed they're not still in the league. They want to play the best, beat the best and be the best."