Old Mill’s Rob Chesson (Jonathan Newton/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Favorite: Arundel (10-2)

The Wildcats bring back their entire defensive line and a host of offensive playmakers from a team that won its first nine games.

Contenders: Old Mill (9-2), Broadneck (10-3)

The Patriots will be one of the league’s most experienced squads; the Bruins have a new head coach in former assistant Rob Harris and just four starters are back.

Dark horse: South River (7-3)

First-year Seahawks Coach Lance Clelland has an experienced defense.

Around the league

Arundel junior QB Jack Gordon, who threw 12 touchdown passes as a backup last season, will lead Coach Chuck Markiewicz’s spread attack. . . . Old Mill returns nine players who made at least one start on defense last season. RB Rob Chesson, who scored six special teams touchdowns, takes on an expanded offensive role. . . . Broadneck senior Darnell Solomon, a 6-foot-4 wide receiver, averaged more than 30 yards per catch in 2010. . . . South River is led by seniors Mike Strange and Matt Leach in the secondary. . . . Seeking its third straight winning season, Southern (8-3) will depend on 6-foot, 215-pound senior Rehvon Bryan to open holes as a blocking back in its run-heavy offense and anchor its defensive line. . . . Severna Park (5-5) has dropped its triple-option offense and plans to pass more this season with junior QB Austin Stein having options in several tall, athletic receivers. . . . North County (5-5) brings back eight starters on defense, including senior LBs Omar Adams, Brandon Ballard and Eathan Shipley. . . . New Meade Coach Rich Holzer, formerly at Parkdale, likes to air it out on offense, but senior RB Calvinaugh Jones will still be asked to handle a heavy workload for the Mustangs (4-6). . . . Annapolis (2-8) has six returning starters on offense with senior RB Keith Collins leading its wing-T attack. . . . Northeast senior WR Nick Marshall poses a threat on offense (32 catches, 605 yards, four touchdowns) and in the return game. . . . First-year Chesapeake Coach Rob Elliott was a part of the 1985 team that produced the school’s first winning season, and it has had just one since. The Cougars (1-9) hope more blitzing this season will improve a young defense anchored by senior DEs Mike Ford and Zach Seifert. . . . Speedy senior RB Brandon Walker returns for Glen Burnie (0-10) after finishing last season with more than 1,200 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on a team that scored 88 points.

— Eric Detweiler