Favorite: Stone Bridge (15-1)
Despite the graduation of All-Mets Jonathan Allen and Ryan Burns, the Bulldogs still have the depth and talent to contend for another state title.
Around the league: Stone Bridge has reached the Virginia AAA Division 5 state title game five times in the last eight years but only won once. The Bulldogs hope to seal the deal this year with their wealth of experienced talent. After rushing for 1,535 yards and 21 touchdowns last season, RB Sterling Dailey should see his production rise behind a huge offensive line that averages about 290 pounds per lineman and returns Nate Davis and Connor Smith. Senior wideout D’Ante Yarborough gives QB Joe Thompson a reliable target to depend on for his first year starting under center. How the Bulldogs stack up defensively will be key in determining their playoff fate. . . . The Fairfax Rebels hope their depth will help them avoid the second-half collapses that often doomed them last year. RB/DB and Penn State recruit Nick Scott will line up all over the field due to his diverse skill-set. Meantime, FB Max Kavaljian gives the Rebels another powerful option on offense to help fill the void left by the graduation of QB Austin Black. . . . Madison enters the season with its work cut out for it, facing a tough schedule and several positions to fill. Senior QB Mitchell Goddard looks to build off last season’s strong finish and quickly build chemistry with new receivers after the graduation of Tommy House. With LB Dan Schwab and six other starters in college, the defense will need several underclassmen to step up and repeat the Warhawks’ strong showing in 2012. . . . Langley lost the major cogs in its offense with the graduation of explosive RB Philip Munn and OL/DL Jack Howerton. In turn, the onus will be on senior QB Nick Casso to anchor the Saxons’ run-oriented attack.