Favorite: River Hill (10-3)
The Clarksville school has won four state championships (2007, 2008, 2011, 2012) in the past seven years. Coach Brian Van Deusen said the Maryland 3A state semifinalists will establish a brand of power football behind a front line featuring 6-foot-3 bookends Tyler Smith and Robert Haid. Part-time wide receiver Jonathan Konda (6-4, 205) is now the featured back driving the Hawks’ ground game. Van Deusen said linebacker Brian Kirby, a three-year starter at middle linebacker, is like his coach on the field.
Dark Horse: Oakland Mills (4-6)
Around the league: Expect another season rife with parity in Howard County. After upsetting Glenelg in the region semifinals last year, Reservoir returns 11 starters. All-county defensive back Craig Jones will pitch in at running back. Athlete Matt Marsh could line up at tight end, fullback, defensive back, linebacker or anywhere else Coach Bryan Cole needs him. Two juniors are competing for the starting quarterback position. Former backup quarterback/defensive end Jack Barry, a pitcher and third baseman on the Gators’ state championship baseball team, is neck and neck with Jaris Foreman, who led the junior varsity squad last season. . . . Howard senior quarterback Kevin Sheahin is a returning starter who has to establish a rapport with a new set of weapons. Najee Savage replaces 1,700-yard rusher Terrell Charles at tailback. Lions Coach Bruce Strunk said three of his top four wide receivers are new, but he thinks this season’s corps could be an upgrade. Pass rusher Winston DeLattiboudere III is player to watch on defense. . . .
All-state Glenelg guard David Robbins is the league’s premier offensive lineman. Before matriculating at Florida State, the senior will open holes for returning rusher Matt Baxter. Coach Butch Schaffer said Baxter and wide receiver/defensive back Brent Richardson are players to keep an eye on. . . . Oakland Mills has not had a winning season in 11 years, but senior quarterback David Pindell gives the Scorpions hope. Last season Pindell threw for 1,660 yards and 13 touchdowns while rushing for 750 yards and eight touchdowns. Returning wide receiver Rashawn Curbeam caught 33 passes for 409 yards and five scores. Leading tackler DeAndre Coles is back at linebacker and junior safety Trevon Hopkins bolsters the secondary. . . . Hammond (6-5) hopes to ride the momentum that led to the Golden Bears’ third postseason appearance in school history. Stalwart free safety Andrew Comeau (42 tackles, two interceptions) will try his hand at quarterback. Linebacker Pierre Sylvert racked up 77 tackles, five sacks and an interception last season. . . .
Atholton (1-9) looks to rebound under new coach Damion Cook, who expects even-keeled quarterback Cole Mason to lead the charge back to relevance. . . . Rutgers-bound tight end/defensive end Ron’Dell Carter (two touchdowns, seven sacks) will try to lead a turnaround at Long Reach (1-9).
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