The Numbers

Coach: Tony Lisanti, first season

Region: 3A South

Past five seasons: 26-24, one playoff appearance

Starters back: Six on offense, five on defense

The Breakdown

Lisanti takes over for Andy Palko, the coach with the most tenure -- 21 years -- in the SMAC. But Lisanti is no rookie, having spent 17 years as a Braves assistant.

Lisanti inherits a solid core of junior skill-position players who were thrust into action, perhaps a year too early, last season. Now comes the benefit of those hard knocks. "It's nice to know our skill-position players will be set for the next two years," Lisanti said.

Junior quarterback Justin McVerry threw for 823 yards but needs to work on his patience. His 16 interceptions were the result of forcing throws. Junior running backs Anthony Fenwick and Darren Showalter are in the mold of past Chopticon skill-position players -- quick and multitalented with game-breaking potential. Showalter, however, suffered a dislocated shoulder in the Braves' first scrimmage and will miss at least a month. Look for junior fullback Dwight Savoy to help pick up the slack. They'll have more room to run, thanks to senior center Corey Middleton, who broke his foot in the first scrimmage last season and did not return until week seven.

"We could still stretch the field," Lisanti said, "but we're hoping to be a little more consistent throwing the ball."

Chopticon knows it cannot match some of the Charles County teams physically, so expect the Braves to look for the big play.

"We don't want to get into a wrestling match with some of these teams who have been in the weight room longer than us," Lisanti said. "We want to make big plays. We're going to give up a couple of big plays, but that's because we're going to be aggressive."

The Countdown

Sept. 9

McDonough, 7

Sept. 16

Huntingtown, 7

Sept. 23

at Patuxent, 7

Sept. 30

at Lackey, 7

Oct. 7

Thomas Stone, 7

Oct. 14

at Northern, 7

Oct. 21

at Leonardtown, 7

Oct. 28

Calvert, 7

Nov. 4

La Plata, 7

Nov. 10

at Great Mills, 7

The Rewind

2004 Results

Sept. 3

lost at La Plata, 19-18

Sept. 10

lost to Lackey, 45-6

Sept. 23

lost to Westlake, 48-14

Oct. 1

lost at Thomas Stone, 33-6

Oct. 8

defeated Calvert, 22-0

Oct. 14

lost at Northern, 27-16

Oct. 18

lost to Huntingtown, 36-22

Oct. 22

lost to Patuxent, 44-22

Oct. 29

won at Leonardtown, 18-10

Nov. 5

defeated Great Mills, 42-19