Led by dual-threat quarterback Travon McMillian, Hylton is looking to gain some separation from the pack in the new-look Cardinal District. (Richard A. Lipski/For the Washington Post)

Favorite: Hylton (10-3)

The Bulldogs return seven starters on defense — including their complete secondary and defensive line units.

Contenders: Battlefield (8-4); Potomac (7-4); Stonewall Jackson (9-2)

Around the league: Battlefield — one of four teams to move from the now-defunct Cedar Run District to the Cardinal this year — boasts a potent tight end/H-back combo in seniors Brandon Whaley and Cameron Skaff, who will soften the blow of graduating starters at quarterback and wide receiver. Junior QB Matt Gallagher (6-0, 180) attempted just four passes last season as a backup but enters 2013 as the Bobcats’ starter. Only six players on Battlefield’s roster have playoff experience. . . . Potomac went undefeated in district play last season, and is moving to a spread attack under first-year Coach Keith King. RB Torrey Dixon is the focus of an offense that returns six starters from a season ago. Fletcher Washington, a junior transfer from Hawaii is pushing incumbent passer Terry Sewell for snaps at quarterback. . . . Stonewall Jackson’s unique triple option gives Va. Tech-bound QB Greg Stroman a read for quick throws towards the sidelines on every snap. Raiders’ Coach Mike Dougherty believes his offense boasts “three or four guys” who could haul in 30 balls this season. . . . Patriot (3-7) is playing in its second season at the varsity level. The Pioneers will count on Osbourn Park transfer Quintin Reynolds as the main option for junior signal caller Cody Agnew. . . . At Forest Park (4-6), junior Nathan Perrin steps in at quarterback, after helming the Bruins’ freshman and junior varsity teams to winning campaigns over the last two years. The Bruins return seven starters on both sides of the ball. . . . Osbourn Park (5-5) returns only four starters on offense, but versatile senior offensive linemen Neal Davidson and Sean Marley should give the Yellow Jackets traction in the ground game. . . . Woodbridge senior DL Da’Shawn Hand is the nation’s top recruit according to Rivals.com and is set to announce his college plans on Nov. 14. The Vikings (6-5) are led by first-year coach and former All-Met Karibi Dede. . . . At Hylton, RBs Sam Thomas and Renardo Willis are competing for carries in a backfield dominated by senior QB Travon McMillian (28 total touchdowns). Coach Tony Lilly said junior WR Yanis N’Guetta “is having a big camp,” and could star in a receiving corps that also includes senior Terrin Allen-Neal (eight touchdowns) and sophomore Eric Kumah (18 catches).