Favorite: Quince Orchard (12-2)

Overflowing with talent at most positions, the Cougars are looking to break through after losing the last two Maryland 4A state title games in the final minutes.

Contenders: Gaithersburg (3-7), Northwest (8-4)

Around the league: Not only does Quince Orchard return senior quarterback Mike Murtaugh from an ACL injury and Elliott Davis, Malcolm Brown and Kyle Gregory at wide receiver, but the Cougars also add dynamic transfers in senior RB Kevin Joppy (Seneca Valley) and junior DT Adam McLean (Friendship Collegiate). . . . Gaithersburg will be led by Northwestern RB recruit Solomon Vault, who is looking to rush for over 1,000 yards for the third consecutive season. The Trojans also have a budding star in DE Kamonte Carter, who is becoming a national-level recruit. . . . Northwest was hit hard by graduation, but still has one of the best players in the league in Joshua Gills, who will line up at quarterback, wide receiver and cornerback this fall. . . . Clarksburg is hoping to surprise in 2013 and certainly has the experience to do it. The Coyotes have 16 starters back from last year’s 2-8 squad, and junior QB Joe Nacci (12 career starts) should be much improved.

Related: D.C. area rich with linemen prospects

Montgomery 4A East preview | Montgomery 4A South preview

Montgomery 3A/Independents preview

Games to Watch

Preseason All-Met Watch

Rankings: The Post Top 20 | Coaches’ poll

Gaithersburg RB Solomon Vault will once again be the focal point of the Trojans’ offense this fall. (Toni L. Sandys/Washington Post)