Favorite: Meade (10-3)
The Mustangs return 15 starters, including dual-threat quarterback Marcus Smith, from a team that last season reached the school’s first state semifinal since 2001.
Around the league: Arundel is confident that junior Anthony Messenger can take over at quarterback, but the new-look receiving corps will need to show improvement. The Wildcats’ defense, led by linebackers Diondre Wallace and Kwame Kumah, remains mostly intact. . . . Broadneck will rely on junior Bill Watts and sophomore Thor Ferreira to fuel its triple-option offense. Keep an eye on linebacker Michael Hildebrand and strong safety Keonte Henson. . . . Meade third-year coach Rich Holzer has an experienced defense led by three returning starters at linebacker and DE Niquekko Cook. Tyree Turner, who played quarterback last year, has switched to wide receiver. Navy recruit Jacob Hawk will anchor the offensive line. . . . At Old Mill, DB Marcus Hicks has emerged as one of the most dynamic defensive players in the county. The Patriots will face a tough test right off the bat with games against Broadneck, Arundel and Meade in the first three weeks of the season. . . . South River ’s 8-3 record last season was its best in 30 years, but Coach Lance Clelland lost two key playmakers in quarterback Connor Cox and running back Lavon Chaney. The Seahawks will lean on their offensive line and look for wide receiver James Smith to have a big year.