Plenty of buzz already surrounds the looming football season, as preseason practices and scrimmages are underway. But before the first games are played this weekend, there’s one order of business to take care of: preseason rankings.

Sure, we could make you wait until our football preview lands on your doorstep in the Aug. 28 newspaper, but since we’re good people over here at AllMetSports, we’ve elected to whet your appetite while keeping the suspense by rolling out The Post Top 20 over the next week. This morning, we begin with teams No. 20-18:

Known for its prolific offense, Atholton’s defense will be key this fall as the Raiders try to make another deep playoff run. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

2012 record: (12-2; Lost 18-14 River Hill in Maryland 3A final, to)
Notable returners: LB Austin Kline; DB C.J. Jones; DL Dalonte Holland; DL Malcolm Jordan
Notable losses: QB Zach Piazza; WR/DB Brian Kelly
Games to Watch: at Patuxent (Oct. 11), at North Point (Oct. 25), at Westlake (Nov. 1)
Overview: Although the Hurricanes must replace the production of graduated senior quarterback Zach Piazza (1,423 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2012), they still have an experienced defense and special teams unit, especially with defensive lineman Damonte Holloway and Malcolm Jordan returning.  Hutingtown will have a challenging four-week stretch at the end of the season, with road games at Patuxent, North Point and Westlake in three of those weeks, which could make or break a run back to the 3A title game.

2012 record:
9-2 (lost 31-30 to Colonial Forge in Northwest Region Division 6 semifinals)
Notable returners: QB Greg Stroman, RB Javon Purvis, OL/DL Diandre Stubbs
Notable losses: LB Markell Bates, DB Dezmon Hopkins, WR J.R. Washington
Games to watch: at Hylton (Sept. 6), at Battlefield (Oct. 11)
Outlook: Speed is the name of the game for Stonewall Jackson, which prides itself on running a hurry-up offense that averaged nearly 35 points per contest last season. Senior quarterback and Virginia Tech commit Greg Stroman has big-play ability with his dual-threat skills (3,051 total yards 35 total touchdowns), while two-way lineman Diandre Stubbs anchors a defense that also features immense experience in its secondary. The Raiders will depend on this talent to improve upon last year, when a 9-0 start gave way to losses in their final two games.

2012 record: 10-2; (lost 35-27 to River Hill in the Maryland 3A East Region final.)
Notable returners: RB Isaac Murray; WR Bryan Barney; WR C.J. Williams; DB Jordan Mason
Notable losses: QB Luke Casey, WR Keyon Pinnock
Games to Watch: vs. River Hill (Sept. 20), at Reservoir (Nov.1), Glenelg (Nov. 8)
Overview: Atholton had a unique run in 2012, winning four games by three points or less and taking eventual 3A state champion River Hill down to the wire in the 3A East region final. The Raiders will have to replace versatile quarterback Luke Casey, who threw for over 1,000 yards and rushed for over 800) but has its most productive running back returning in Isaac Murray (861 yards rushing in 2012). The Raiders also have talented transfers in WR Bryan Barney (Marriotts Ridge) and WR Lamarre Whitlock (Reservoir) to aid the passing game under first year head coach John Swigart.

Top Games to Watch: Maryland | Virginia | D.C. | Private Schools