Broad Run's Chris Moore, left, gets called for face-masking Briar Woods' Brandon Polk last November. Both return to a competitive Conference 14. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Favorite: Briar Woods (13-2)

The Falcons are without four-year starter Trace McSorley, but they bring back a talented receiving corps and several starters on a stout defense that allowed 12.7 points per game a year ago. Briar Woods senior quarterback Jake Maffe will have talented options in wide receiver Brandon Polk (Penn State recruit) and tight end Mark Birmingham (Florida State, Florida and Miami offers). The Falcons’ defense will be tough to score on once again with defensive tackle/offensive lineman Bryan Capozzoli and outside linebacker Dominic Moore in the 3-4 front.

Contenders: Broad Run (9-4); Stone Bridge (9-3); Tuscarora (9-3)

Around the league: Coming off its best finish on the 5A level, Broad Run returns seven starters on each side of the ball. Two-way starter Chuck Davis will be asked to make highlight plays at safety and wide receiver, and he will combine with cornerback Chris Moore in a lethal secondary. Senior quarterback Brady Reitzel is likely to throw the ball more this season with new vertical options. . . .

Stone Bridge lost two major offensive weapons to graduation, but junior quarterback Joe Thompson returns more confident and tasked with running the Bulldogs’ newly implemented spread offense. On defense, linebacker Tanner Karafa (Boston College) and defensive tackle Aaron Crawford (North Carolina) are very good at stuffing the run and getting pressure on the quarterback. . . Tuscarora standout running back Noah Reimers looks to improve on the 1,790 yards and 13 touchdowns he totaled last season. Quarterback Daniel Smith is just a junior, but he has made strides as a passer this summer. The Huskies have a ton of experience with 18 returning starters. . . Potomac Falls quarterback Brady Williams will lead the Panthers’ offense after a solid sophomore campaign.

Host Jessica Honesty and Tariq Lee preview high school football for the 2014 season in the Loudoun County area. (Nick Plum for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)

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