When the Cardinals Have the Ball

Expect the Cardinals to attempt around 40 passes a game in a West Coast offense that will feature a two-quarterback system. Sophomore Mike Geraghty received playing time last year, but Keith Ricca, who threw for an area-high 3,593 yards and 45 touchdowns at St. John's/Prospect Hall last fall, will also play.

They will be throwing to an array of unproven receivers: Ryan Bowman (20 catches, 217 yards, 2 touchdowns), freshman Brian Berry and freshman Max Morris, who was Ricca's favorite target in high school.

Sophomore running back Jeff Sheehan (48 carries, 113 yards) replaces Ed Smith, who accounted for 82 percent of the team's rushing yards, but Clark also has high expectations for freshman Jorge Rios to help improve a running game that averaged a conference-low 51.9 yards per game last year.

Catholic averaged an Old Dominion Athletic Conference-low 11.8 points per game last year, but Clark hopes a line that features just two returning starters -- senior right tackle Sean Howe and sophomore left guard Jon Cartagena -- can provide leadership for a team picked to finish last by the league's coaches.

When Opponents Have the Ball

Catholic's 3-4 scheme revolves around the linebackers: sophomore Anthony DelBorrell (61 tackles, 3 sacks) and senior Bobby Stutz on the inside and sophomore Mike Goodman (29 tackles, two interceptions) and freshman Avatus Stone, who played at Oakton last year, on the outside.

The Cardinals' line -- led by returning senior defensive end Ed Dahl (39 tackles) and sophomore nose guard Chris Zito -- should apply more pressure than it did last year, when opponents averaged 209 rushing yards.

Meantime, cornerbacks Dweh Sicklo (36 tackles, two interceptions) and John Bowes (51 tackles) return, but freshman strong safety Nick Olivero, a standout at W.T. Woodson last year, and senior Bill Cooper should strengthen a unit that allowed 217 passing yards a game.

-- Jon Gallo