The DeMatha Stags enter the season as the favorites to defend their WCAC championship trophy. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

High school football has returned to the D.C. area, with the first games for many Virginia, D.C. and private school teams kicking off this weekend. Here is The Washington Post’s first ranking of the season, which will be updated again following Labor Day weekend.

1. DeMatha (12-0) Last ranked: 1

In pursuit of a fifth straight WCAC title, the Stags will follow a pair of Maryland commits in two-way senior linemen Austin Fontaine and Evan Gregory.

2. Wise (14-0) LR: 2

The two-time defending Maryland 4A state champions have not lost since the 2015 playoffs but must adjust to life without 2016 offensive All-Met Player of the Year Jabari Laws (Army).

3. St. John’s (8-5) LR: 5

The Cadets will spend the first five weeks of the season playing competition from California, Florida and New Jersey before turning their attention to dethroning DeMatha in the WCAC.

4. Damascus (14-0) LR: 3

With the entire offensive line returning, the Swarmin’ Hornets are poised for another run through Montgomery County and the Maryland state playoffs.

5. Gonzaga (8-3) LR: 6

The Eagles are after their first WCAC title since 1997 and must replace the production of running back Tyree Randolph, who rewrote the program’s offensive record book.

6. Friendship Collegiate (10-2) LR: 8

The defending DCSAA champions sent 18 players from the class of 2017 to Division I programs.

7. Stone Bridge (12-3) LR: 10

The Bulldogs bring back nine starters to a defense that surrendered the game-winning touchdown in the final minute of last year’s Virginia 5A state final.

8. South Lakes (12-2) LR: 11

Senior running backs Spencer Alston and Albert Mensah will carry the load as the Seahawks look to return to the Virginia 6A North region final.

9. Quince Orchard (12-2) LR: 9

Senior quarterback Doc Bonner returns for the Maryland 4A runner-up, whose otherwise dominant season ended with a 42-7 loss to Wise in last year’s state final.

10. H.D. Woodson (11-2) LR: 15

Two-way playmakers and Division I recruits Noah Boykin and Edward Hendrix return for the Warriors, who are after their fifth straight DCIAA title.

11. Centreville (9-3) LR: NR

Junior defensive end and tight end Tre Maxwell and the Wildcats are looking to stop two-time state champion Westfield’s reign in the Virginia 6A North region.

12. Episcopal (8-1) LR: 7

Senior running back Perris Jones and quarterback Seth Agwunobi return to the Maroon’s backfield after last November’s come-from-behind win over Georgetown Prep in the IAC title game.

13. Spalding (9-2) LR: 13

Senior running back Julius Chestnut scored 21 touchdowns last season. The Cavaliers’ tough schedule features top teams from the D.C. and Baltimore areas.

14. Old Mill (10-1) LR: 19

There’s a bitter taste lingering in the mouths of the Patriots after last year’s undefeated regular season was spoiled by a loss to rival Broadneck in the first round of the playoffs.

15. West Potomac (9-3) LR: NR

Senior Daiimon Cleveland returns to the Wolverines’ backfield after scoring 10 touchdowns last fall.

16. Eleanor Roosevelt (8-4) LR: NR

Senior quarterback Jaden Faulkner and the Raiders lead a pack of contenders hoping to end Wise’s dominance in P.G. County.

17. Oxon Hill (11-1) LR: 17

Penn State commit Daniel George caught 15 touchdown passes last season for the Clippers before their undefeated season came to an end in a triple-overtime loss to rival Potomac.

18. Maret (12-0) LR: 16

The Frogs will follow the lead of 6-foot-5, 280-pound offensive tackle Devonte Gordon, a Wake Forest commit, as they look to defend their DCSAA Class A title.

19. Madison (11-2) LR: 14

Led by senior linebacker Nate Leas, the Warhawks will play in honor of Coach Lenny Schultz, who was killed in a traffic accident in June.

20. Sherwood (10-1) LR: NR

Senior dual-threat quarterback Michael Mbony returns to lead the Warriors offense after racking up 27 touchdowns through the air and on the ground last fall.

High school football has returned to the D.C. area, with the first games for many Virginia, D.C. and private school teams kicking off this weekend. Here is the Post’s first ranking of the season, which will be updated again following Labor Day weekend.

1. DeMatha (12-0) Last ranked: 1

In pursuit of a fifth straight WCAC title, the Stags will follow a pair of Maryland commits in two-way senior linemen Austin Fontaine and Evan Gregory.

2. Wise (14-0) LR: 2

The two-time defending Maryland 4A state champions have not lost since the 2015 playoffs but must adjust to life without 2016 offensive All-Met Player of the Year Jabari Laws (Army).

3. St. John’s (8-5) LR: 5

The Cadets will spend the first five weeks of the season playing competition from California, Florida and New Jersey before turning their attention to dethroning DeMatha in the WCAC.

4. Damascus (14-0) LR: 3

With the entire offensive line returning, the Swarmin’ Hornets are poised for another run through Montgomery County and the Maryland state playoffs.

5. Gonzaga (8-3) LR: 6

The Eagles are after their first WCAC title since 2002 and must replace the production of running back Tyree Randolph, who rewrote the program’s offensive record book.

6. Friendship Collegiate (10-2) LR: 8

The defending DCSAA champions sent 18 players from the class of 2017 to Division I programs.

7. Stone Bridge (12-3) LR: 10

The Bulldogs bring back nine starters to a defense that surrendered the game-winning touchdown in the final minute of last year’s Virginia 5A state final.

8. South Lakes (12-2) LR: 11

Senior running backs Spencer Alston and Albert Mensah will carry the load as the Seahawks look to return to the Virginia 6A North region final.

9. Quince Orchard (12-2) LR: 9

Senior quarterback Doc Bonner returns for the Maryland 4A runner-up, whose otherwise dominant season ended with a 42-7 loss to Wise in last year’s state final.

10. H.D. Woodson (11-2) LR: 15

Two-way playmakers and Division I recruits Noah Boykin and Edward Hendrix return for the Warriors, who are after their fifth straight DCIAA title.

11. Centreville (9-3) LR: NR

Junior defensive end and tight end Tre Maxwell and the Wildcats are looking to stop two-time state champion Westfield’s reign in the Virginia 6A North region.

12. Episcopal (8-1) LR: 7

Senior running back Perris Jones and quarterback Seth Agwunobi return to the Maroon’s backfield after last November’s come-from-behind win over Georgetown Prep in the IAC title game.

13. Spalding (9-2) LR: 13

Senior running back Julius Chestnut scored 21 touchdowns last season. The Cavaliers’ tough schedule features top teams from the D.C. and Baltimore areas.

14. Old Mill (10-1) LR: 19

The Patriots might be seeking some revenge after last year’s undefeated regular season was spoiled by a loss to rival Broadneck in the first-round of the playoffs.

15. West Potomac (9-3) LR: NR

Senior Daiimon Cleveland returns to the Wolverines’ backfield after scoring 10 touchdowns last fall.

16. Eleanor Roosevelt (8-4) LR: NR

Senior quarterback Jaden Faulkner and the Raiders lead a pack of contenders hoping to end Wise’s dominance in Prince George’s County.

17. Oxon Hill (11-1) LR: 17

Penn State commit Daniel George caught 15 touchdown passes last season for the Clippers before their undefeated season came to an end in a triple-overtime loss to rival Potomac.

18. Maret (12-0) LR: 16

The Frogs will follow the lead of 6-foot-5, 280-pound offensive tackle Devonte Gordon, a Wake Forest commit, as they look to defend their DCSAA Class A title.

19. Madison (11-2) LR: 14

Led by senior linebacker Nate Leas, the Warhawks will play in honor of Coach Lenny Schultz, who was killed in a traffic accident in June.

20. Sherwood (10-1) LR: NR

Senior dual-threat quarterback Michael Mbony returns to lead the Warriors’ offense after racking up 27 touchdowns through the air and on the ground last fall.