AAA Cardinal District.
Coach: Tony Labozzetta (6th season)
1998 record: 7-5 overall, 4-2 in district
Outlook: The Indians could boast the best lines in the district, with a trio of three-year starters -- senior OT-DE Ryan Tekampe (6 feet 5, 270 pounds), senior G-DT Corey Stephens (6-1, 300) and senior G/DT Dennis Reaves (6-3, 320). In addition, three starting linebackers return.
Basic strength: Offensive line. Senior C Robert Bruce (5-8, 195) was all-district last season.
Coach: Bill Brown (8th season)
1998 record: 14-0, 6-0
Outlook: The Bulldogs should challenge for another AAA Division 6 state title with the return of senior QB Kenny Irby (6-3, 210) and junior RB D.J. Walton (6-0, 190). But first, the team must solidify both lines.
Basic strength: Running back. Walton is one of several threats in a deep backfield.
Coach: Randy Bove (1st season)
1998 record: 3-7, 2-4
Outlook: The Eagles, who faded late in games last season, will try to stay fresh by using more one-way players. To keep players fresh on offense several running backs will platoon, including senior Jon Latimer (6-1, 175).
Basic strength: Field position. Senior P Sean McLaughlin (6-1, 170) is an all-district returnee.
Coach: Mike Feldman (5th season)
1998 record: 1-9, 1-5
Outlook: The Yellow Jackets won their 1998 finale, a positive reinforcement heading into the season. Senior QB Frankie Hogan (6-0, 185), an Osbourn transfer, should help. One concern: Three offensive linemen are recovering from offseason surgery.
Basic strength: Leadership. The 21-man senior class is keeping the team focused.
Coach: Keith King (1st season)
1998 record: 6-5, 5-1
Outlook: The Panthers hope their fleetness can compensate for their moderate size and inexperience. Two all-district linemen transferred, and only four starters return. Senior RB Rico Lloyd (6-1, 170), already offered scholarships by three ACC schools, could be the district's top breakaway threat.
Basic strength: Speed. Lloyd is one of several speedy players.
Coach: Jim Powell (23rd season)
1998 record: 3-7, 2-4
Outlook: The Manassas school has churned out a dozen or so 1,000-yard rushers the past two decades, and they are hoping junior FB Richard Bailey (6-2, 202) or junior RB Antwoin Saunders (6-1, 181) can continue that trend.
Basic strength: Coaching. Powell's program is generally regarded as one that gets the most out of its talent.
Coach: Ron Davis (12th season)
1998 record: 4-6, 1-5
Outlook: Though they return proven senior QB Abey Malave-Lopez (6-0, 193), the Vikings hope their attack is more balanced than the one that relied so heavily on the pass last season. Three returning starting offensive linemen should give Malave-Lopez time to find his favorite target, senior WR Lamar Lane (6-4, 182).
Basic strength: Experience. This Woodbridge team is more seasoned than the one that lost four games by a touchdown or less in 1998.
AAA Commonwealth District.
Coach: Tom Berry (2nd season)
1998 record: 7-3, 3-2
Outlook: The Blackhawks have a veteran offensive line led by senior OT Lane Zetty (6-5, 265), but they are inexperienced at key ballhandling positions.
Basic strength: Blocking. Five returning offensive linemen lettered in 1998.
Coach: Karl Buckwalter (1st season)
1998 record: None.
Outlook: As a new school with no senior class, the Eagles will play three varsity games and seven junior varsity games. One player of interest is freshman RB James Davis (5-9, 180), brother of 1998 All-Met Offensive Player of the Year Daniel Davis.
Basic strength: Numbers. Even with no seniors, there are about 100 players in the program.
Coach: Lou Sorrentino (8th season)
1998 record: 9-3, 4-1
Outlook: The Blue Devils have one of the most productive passing games in Northern Virginia, with senior QB Mike Jenkins (6-4, 230) and senior WR Terence Dinkins (5-10, 175). Jenkins threw for more than 1,700 yards. Dinkins had 49 catches.
Basic strength: Receiving. In addition to Dinkins, senior WR John Cagle (6-0, 180) had 33 receptions.
Coach: Tom Ferrell (6th season)
1998 record: 3-7, 2-5 in AA Northwestern District
Outlook: Several young players were pushed into prominent roles last season, but senior FB/LB Eric Bailey (5-11, 218), a four-year starter, has been a mainstay. The Falcons must make do with an offensive line that averages about 205 pounds.
Basic strength: Aggressiveness. Ferrell likes his team's defensive zeal.
Coach: Chris Beatty (2nd season)
1998 record: 7-4, 4-1
Outlook: Beatty directed the Wolverines to their first playoff appearance in six years last season. Senior QB Chris Ashinhurst (5-11, 186) returns along with two all-district defensive players -- senior CB Allen Woodbridge (6-0, 191) and senior DT Lawrence Frierson (6-1, 262).
Basic strength: Experience. Six starters on offense return; three are linemen.
Coach: Jason Barbe (2nd season)
1998 record: 9-3, 5-2 in AA Northwestern District
Outlook: The Warriors have been hit with a double whammy: They return just one starter, senior TE Chris Helmick (6-2, 200), and have been bumped to AAA. Senior RB Bill Demus (5-7, 150) was an all-district kick returner last season.
Basic strength: Offensive line. Most of these players are well established in the program.
Coach: Roger Pierce (2nd season)
1998 record: 2-8, 0-5
Outlook: Seniors HB Chris Hilleary (5-8, 160) and FB Jamil Ramsuer (5-10, 215) return, but will run behind an inexperienced offensive line stabilized by senior G/DT Matt Monterio (5-9, 201).
Basic strength: Skill positions. Most of those are well-versed in Pierce's system.
Coach: Ed Scott (3rd season)
1998 record: 3-7, 1-6 in AA Northwestern District
Outlook: A 39-player varsity turnout might catch up to the Colonels, though the offense returns largely intact. Two quarterbacks with starting experience -- juniors Dale Omps (6-3, 180) and Logan Sheppard (5-10, 150), return.
Basic strength: Defensive line. The three returning defensive starters all play up front.
AAA Concorde District.
Coach: Mike Skinner (1st season)
1998 record: 11-2, 7-0
Outlook: Seven offensive starters return, including senior QB Sam McElroy (5-11, 160), senior TB Mike Williams (6-1, 190) and senior FB Shaun Diggs (5-1, 180). Another 10-victory season should be within reach.
Basic strength: The running game. Although McElroy will pass more than he did last season, Centreville is mostly an option team.
Coach: Bob Herb (3rd season)
1998 record: 6-4, 4-3
Outlook: Five starters return on defense for the Chargers and two return on offense. Junior RB Marchello Squirewell (5-11, 185) ran for 1,326 yards last season. Senior QB Jim Devine (6-2, 290) will be expected to take the pressure off Squirewell.
Basic strength: Running back. Squirewell may be the best in the district.
Coach: Tom Meier (10th season)
1998 record: 2-8, 2-5
Outlook: This is a young team, but there are a few potential standouts. Twin seniors Thomas (6-2, 230) and Danny Coghlan (6-0, 205) return on defense and senior FB Mike Dail (6-0, 180) leads a deep backfield.
Basic strength: Running back. Meier said he has six solid backs.
Coach: Ken Kincaid (3rd season)
1998 record: 7-3, 4-3
Outlook: This is Kincaid's youngest team. Only two starters return, and both are switching positions. Senior Mike Marzban (6-0, 195) moves from center to linebacker, and Nate Lee (6-3, 215) goes from DE to QB. Lee will alternate possessions with sophomore Matt Kynes (6-2, 185).
Basic strength: Quarterback. Lee and Kynes could pass more than Jefferson runs.
Coach: Pete Bendorf (8th season)
1998 record: 10-2, 6-1
Outlook: The Cougars return six starters on defense, but must rebuild their offense. Senior Tom Ridley (6-3, 205) moves from linebacker to quarterback, bringing athleticism to the option attack. Junior WR Scott Turner (6-1, 185) will be Ridley's favorite target.
Basic strength: Defense. The Vienna school yielded only nine points per game last season.
Coach: Dennis Randolph (1st season)
1998 record: 0-10, 0-7
Outlook: Seniors DE/OL Richard McKnight (6-1, 212) and OL Adam Temple (6-1, 247) are the keys to establishing a presence on the line of scrimmage. Junior Chris Royal (5-9, 154) and senior Dustin Hellenga (6-3 190) could split time at quarterback.
Basic strength: Offensive line. McKnight and Temple should make the offense more formidable.
AAA Liberty District.
Coach: Tom Verbanic (11th season)
1998 record: 7-3, 5-2
Outlook: Senior RB Brandon Royster (6-0, 190) has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons. Royster again will run behind seniors OT/DE Gustavo Vega (6-6, 250) and C Mike Cullen (5-10, 240).
Basic strength: Experience. With 10 returning starters, including senior WR/DB Mike Daniels (6-1, 175), the Eagles could win the district.
Coach: John Iannucci (1st season)
1998 record: 8-2, 6-1
Outlook: Veteran high school and college coach Iannucci (17 years of coaching in New York and New Jersey) brings a new offensive system (Wing-T and triple option) to the only returning playoff team in the district (Broad Run and 1998 champion Park View moved to the AA Northwestern). However, only two starters return -- seniors OL Dan Rogers (6-2, 235) and S Tom Bradley (6-2, 180).
Basic strength: Cohesiveness. "Usually there are a couple who pull the team backwards," Iannucci said. "Not in this group. They all seem to be making an effort and pulling together."
Coach: Gerry Pannoni (1st season)
1998 record: 6-4, 4-3
Outlook: Pannoni, a former West Springfield assistant, inherits a team that returns only three starters, including senior DT Najib Gerdak (6-2, 275). But the Lancers' young backfield, led by junior RB Brandon Robinson (5-11, 190) and freshman P.J. Cameron (5-11, 185), could surprise a few opponents.
Basic strength: Size and speed. Lee has 10 linemen who weigh over 240 pounds and 17 players who run the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds or faster.
Coach: Gordon Leib (2nd season)
1998 record: 2-8, 2-5
Outlook: After a 1998 season in which the Warhawks had five losses by a touchdown or less, Leib will look to five returning starters for the edge in close games: seniors DE/G Conner Ginley (6-2, 240), LB/G Jason Jennings (6-2, 205), FB/DT Ryan Ruffin (6-0, 250) and juniors RB/FS Josh White (6-1, 160) and RB/CB Darrell Walker (5-8, 140).
Basic strength: Youth. Madison could start as many as six sophomores from a freshman team that went 7-1 last season.
Coach: Pete Salvano (5th season)
1998 record: 4-6, 2-5
Outlook: The Statesmen will try to make the playoffs for the first time since 1994. Senior NG Eric Portillo (6-1, 260) leads the defense and senior C Jason Sullivan (6-0, 210) anchors the offense. Senior Jonathan Klingler (5-11, 185) moves to quarterback after playing linebacker in 1998.
Basic strength: Skill players. Senior WR Chucky Boyd (5-7, 145) led the district with 445 receiving yards last season. FB Frank Brown (5-11, 195), who rushed for more than 500 yards in 1998, will attempt to become a more active receiver out of the backfield.
Coach: Joe Muskett (1st season)
1998 record: 5-5, 3-4
Outlook: It will be a rebuilding season for the Highlanders and Muskett, who replaced Karl Buckwalter after spending five seasons as an assistant coach at Lee. The team's only returning starters are senior DB Matt Jones (5-7, 175) and junior LB V.J. Malik (6-0, 224).
Basic strength: Youth. "A lot of times it's easier to break in the horse that's never been rode and not have to worry about breaking bad habits," Muskett said.
Coach: Mark Cox (2nd season)
1998 record: 1-9, 1-6 in AAA Concorde
Outlook: The Cavaliers have 15 linebackers of equal size -- about 6-0, 180 -- and will play two down linemen and three defensive backs. Top returning seniors are QB Doug Flood (5-10, 160), TB/FS Tory White (5-9, 180) and LB Derek Weaver (5-10, 190).
Basic strength: A senior-laden team and a change of scenery. Woodson returns 20 players and joins a district made up of schools close to its size.
AAA National District.
Coach: Vaughn Lewis (3rd season)
1998 record: 3-7, 2-4
Outlook: Edison lacks depth, but an experienced backfield should keep it competitive. Senior QB Andre Haywood (6-1, 165) lines up in front of seniors FB Shaun Herring (5-10, 230) and TB Justin Webb (5-10, 175). Four starting offensive linemen also return.
Basic strength: Quarterback. Haywood can run the option or pass, and Lewis will try to keep a balance between the two.
Coach: Russ Collett (2nd season)
1998 record: 2-8, 2-4
Outlook: After opening practice last fall with 11 players, Falls Church has increased its turnout to almost 70. Collett's weight program has paid dividends. The offensive line, which averages close to 280 pounds, is led by senior RT Albert Carrasquillo (6-2, 285) and junior RG Adam Fickling (6-3, 315).
Basic strength: Size. Few teams will be bigger.
Coach: Marty Riddle (6th season)
1998 record: 8-3, 6-0
Outlook: Riddle says he has the strongest class of his tenure; unfortunately, it is the sophomore class. In the meantime, Riddle has to replace 22 seniors, most of whom started. All-District senior QB Kelvin Coggins (6-3, 205) returns and "can run and wing it downfield big-time," Riddle said.
Basic strength: Ground control. Coggins and junior FB Mike Honesty (5-10, 215) are the keys to a possible fourth straight district title.
Coach: Roy Ferri (3rd season)
1998 record: 4-6, 3-3
Outlook: Center William Menjivar (5-9, 220) looks small next to his four fellow senior linemen. Guards Tony McPhail (6-2, 270) and Kevin Wiafe (5-9, 270) join Menjivar and tackles Peter Mensah (6-2, 275) and David Quevedo (6-3, 265) in opening holes for senior RBs Linzy Lipscomb (5-9, 165) and Fokphear Van (5-7, 155).
Basic strength: Size. The offensive line averages 260 pounds.
Coach: Ron Files (3rd season)
1998 record: 4-6, 3-3
Outlook: Senior QB Wayne Hogwood (5-10, 150) will be one of the busiest players in the area; Wakefield plans to throw as much as 75 percent of the time. Senior Mike Makris (6-1, 180) is the main target. Files said the team's attitude is the best of his tenure.
Basic strength: Unpredictability. Almost nobody plays this "Fun-and-Gun" style, so preparing for Wakefield will be difficult.
Coach: Rick Cauthen (4th season)
1998 record: 1-9, 0-6
Outlook: This team is young, but it is a bit deeper than last season's squad and, Cauthen believes, more talented. "We had a lot of sophomores last year," Cauthen said. "It was almost like a JV team." Junior RBs Tony Carcamo (5-7, 165) and Lavundra Copeland (5-7, 150) return. Because of a renovation project, Washington-Lee will play its home games at Wakefield High.
Basic strength: Running game. But Carcamo and Copeland run behind a line that may not start a single senior.
Coach: Bruce Hanson (15th season)
1998 record: 6-4, 5-1
Outlook: Seven starters return on offense, including four linemen. The best is senior Sean Gooden (6-0, 280), an all-District guard who leads the blocking for senior TB Anthony Tigney (5-11, 160), one of the district's quicker backs.
Basic strength: Running game. Tigney and the line should be improved from last season.
AAA Patriot District.
Coach: Dick Adams (10th season)
1998 record: 7-3, 3-3
Outlook: With senior FB Sam Korpoi (5-10, 195) running behind Penn State recruit OT Jeremiah Davis (6-4, 242), Annandale will be a handful. Starters return at 14 positions.
Basic strength: Backfield experience. Everybody returns, including senior QB Abdulhai Konteh (5-11, 165).
Coach: Billy Pugh (1st season)
1998 record: 3-3, 4-6
Outlook: Pugh returns most of the key players from the offense he ran as an assistant for the past five seasons. Junior FB Mike Walker (6-0, 195) and senior TB Armond Saunders (6-2, 185) run behind the same offensive line as last season. The defense, however, is inexperienced.
Basic strength: Muscle. Pugh said this is the strongest team in his tenure at the school.
Coach: Francis Dall (11th season)
1998 record: 9-2, 5-1
Outlook: Lake Braddock is talented but thin. Juniors dominate the roster, led by Peter Ouk (5-8, 183), who has started at running back since he was a freshman. Senior RB Rob Neff (6-0, 206) joins Ouk in the backfield. Three starters return on the line, but finding others to fill the trenches may be tough.
Basic strength: Running game. Ouk and Neff are not easy to take down.
Coach: Mark Bendorf (8th season)
1998 record: 5-5, 2-4
Outlook: The schedule is perilous with non-district games against Centreville, Oakton, Chantilly and Woodbridge, but Robinson is talented. Senior HB/DB Scott Sanden (5-10, 190) and senior DT/OL Robert "Bugs" Bennett (6-4, 295) are two of the best players in the area.
Basic strength: Running back. Sanden and sophomore Mike Ihmo (5-6, 160) form a nice combination.
Coach: Eric Henderson (1st season)
1998 record: 2-8, 0-6
Outlook: The offense will be unlike almost any in the area, with lefty senior QB Efi Eyo (6-1, 180) choosing from as many as four wideouts in a controlled passing offense. Seniors Ashley Chandler (6-0, 185) and Maurice Fitch (6-1, 190) will be the primary targets. Senior LBs Joe Porter (6-2, 240), a four-year starter, and James Kanu (6-1, 205) are top-notch linebackers.
Basic strength: Receivers. A rotation of six should keep everybody fresh.
Coach: Dale Eaton (7th season)
1998 record: 12-1, 6-0
Outlook: Senior QBs Tony Hooks (5-10, 174) and Will Drew (5-11, 184) are battling for the chance to lead a team that never has had a losing season. Senior LT David Hawkins (6-2, 246) and senior RT Brian Courtien (6-1, 287) are solid bookends on the line.
Basic strength: Power. FB Geoffrey Todd (5-6, 210) rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season.
Coach: Bill Renner (1st season)
1998 record: 4-6, 2-4
Outlook: Renner plans to rely heavily on returning starters WR/CB Nate Longworth (6-0, 180) and WR/CB Mike Keller (5-11, 180). Thirteen seniors should provide the nucleus for Renner, who coached at Langley last season.
Basic strength: Versatility. The Spartans will count on several players to contribute at multiple positions.
AA Northwestern District.
Coach: Ken Belchik (2nd season)
1998 record: 0-10, 0-7 in AAA Liberty
Outlook: The Spartans, who had no returning starters and 24 sophomores last season, will be helped by junior QB/S Matt Gordy (5-10, 150), one of the team's best athletes.
Basic strength: Perseverence.
Coach: Todd Hill (5th season)
1998 record: 10-3, 6-1
Outlook: Twelve starters, including senior QB Lang Campbell (6-3, 190), return from last season's AA Division 3 semifinalist. Campbell has a strong arm and experienced receivers, led by all-District junior Adam Dutton (5-11, 160).
Basic strength: Leadership. The Judges return more than 15 seniors.
Coach: Joe Trabucco (6th season)
1998 record: 11-2, 6-1
Outlook: The Eagles are bigger and faster -- but less experienced -- than last season's team that advanced to the AA Division 4 semifinals. Liberty must replace nine defensive starters, its quarterback and top receiver.
Basic strength: Size. The Eagles' offensive line averages 280 pounds.
Coach: Pat McManus (9th season)
1998 record: 6-4, 4-3
Outlook: A strong defense should give the inexperienced offense a chance to mature. Seniors DE Eric Gaskins (6-2, 240), DT Taylor Ashby (5-9, 290), DT Jason Spring (6-4, 250) and DE Michael Stocks (6-3, 260) -- are three-year starters.
Basic strength: Physical strength. Gaskins, Ashby, Spring and Stocks each bench press more than 300 pounds.
Coach: Mike Barton (23rd season)
1998 record: 5-5, 4-3
Outlook: Senior QB Anthony Long (6-2, 160), a three-year starter, will try to take some pressure off senior RB Ben Cross (5-10, 200), who has averaged 8.3 yards per carry since his sophomore year.
Basic strength: Quickness. Cross has the speed (4.5 in the 40) to outrun defenders, but his quickness sets him apart.
Coach: Mickey Thompson (10th season)
1998 record: 10-2, 6-1 in AAA Liberty
Outlook: Nine offensive starters return from last season's Liberty District championship team. Junior QB Nick Smith (6-0, 170), senior RB Nelson Stickley (5-11, 196) and senior TE Joe Larson (6-3, 215) lead the Patriots, who averaged 377 yards and 35 points per game in '98.
Basic strength: Speed. Ten offensive starters run the 40 in 5.0 seconds or faster.
Coach: Wes Driskill (3rd season)
1998 record: 6-4, 4-3 in AAA Concorde
Outlook: Third-year program made huge strides last season after winning only one game -- by forfeit -- in 1997. Driskill said his defense, led by senior DT Mark Panchura (6-0, 270), could be the best he has had.
Basic strength: Kicking. Junior PK Greg Kuehn (6-0, 175) was 4 for 4 in field goal attempts last season, including a 49-yarder.
Coach: Mark McHale (2nd season)
1998 record: 0-10, 0-7
Outlook: The Wildcats, who have won only seven district games in the 1990s, are in the second year of what McHale calls a three-year rebuilding process. Nine starters return, including senior RB/DB Travis Diamond (5-11, 190) and senior RB/LB Brad Keller (5-11, 200).
Basic strength: Diamond. Game-breaking running back is bigger, stronger and faster.
A Bull Run District.
Teams (record last season)
Clarke County (5-5)
George Mason (9-2)
Madison County (12-2)
Manassas Park (3-7)
Strasburg and Clarke County return to the district after a four-year absence.
Madison County, a newcomer to the league, advanced to the Group A state title game last season. Madison County FB Raymond Kirkley is one of the most highly recruited players in the district.
George Mason and Strasburg are coming off good seasons but both lost several players.
Manassas Park, which returns most of its starters, could have an impact.
AA Battlefield District.
Teams (and '98 records)
Caroline (4-6, 3-3)
Chancellor (7-3, 3-2 Commonwealth)
Courtland (1-9, 1-4)
King George (1-9, 1-5)
Massaponax (4-6, 2-4)
James Monroe (6-4, 4-2)
Spotsylvania (7-3, 5-1)
Two AAA Commonwealth transplants (Chancellor and Courtland) will challenge for the title. Chancellor returns to the Battlefield District, where it won two district and two regional titles in the early 1990s. Chancellor is led by senior RB Sherard Lewis (5-9, 170), who rushed for 1,800 yards and 26 touchdowns last season.
Spotsylvania, which finished second to Orange County in the district last season, has the strongest returning lineup. Spotsylvania returns 1,800-yard RB Dennis Thornton (6-0, 200) and QB Korey Johnson (5-9, 160), who passed for over 1,000 yards last season. Orange County moved to the AA Jefferson District.