2A South Region

Coach: Dick Hendershott (second season, 3-7).

Last Year: 3-7 overall, 3-6 league.

Last postseason appearance/state title: 2003/1998.

Returning starters on offense/defense: 3/3.

Players to watch: QB Nick Finney, Sr.; OT/DT Aaron Hazel, Sr.; FB/DE Stacey Jones, Sr.; OG/LB John Lloyd, Sr.; RB/SS Preston Paul, Sr.; FB/LB Steve Riggin, Sr.

Run with it: The team will use multiple formations, but expect Jones (511 yards, three touchdowns) to be the primary ballcarrier. Finney is one of the county's better quarterbacks, but an inexperienced offensive line must mature quickly if the Scorpions are to contend.

Ballcarriers beware: The 4-4 scheme revolves around linebackers Riggin and Lloyd, who were the most productive players last year. Hendershott expects Hazel to anchor the line on a squad that is rebuilding after losing 19 seniors from a team that posted its worst record since 1992.

What Hendershott first looks for in a player: "Mental toughness. If they can't figure out the game mentally, then they are not going to be successful. One of the biggest cliches is the big, dumb offensive lineman, but in reality they are some of the smartest players on the field. You have to be intelligent to play this game because I think 75 percent of it is mental, and 25 percent is physical."

At far right, Oakland Mills' Nick Finney, one of the county's better quarterbacks, rolls away from an Atholton defender during a scrimmage. At right are Oakland Mills Coach Dick Hendershott, left, and Atholton Coach Chuck Fales.