Wilde Lake Coach Mike Harrison gets nailed with an ice bath after the Wildecats won the Maryland 3A title in 2010. (Jonathan Newton/THE WASHINGTON POST)
Favorite: River Hill (10-2)

The Hawks have owned at least a share of the past eight county titles.

Contenders: Wilde Lake (11-3), Hammond (10-2)

The Wildecats return 10 starters from last year’s Maryland 3A title team; Hammond went from 0-10 in 2008 to county co-champions in ’10.

Dark horse: Howard (5-5)

The Lions return plenty of firepower and look poised to move out of the county’s middle tier.

Around the league

River Hill will feature big-threat senior RB Aaron Wells (1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns). Senior LB Riley Davis was the team’s leading tackler last season and will once again anchor the Hawks’ stingy 3-5 defense. . . . Wilde Lake has plenty left over from its championship run, including senior CB Jordan Mynatt, who led the team in interceptions last season. Senior LBs Antoine Barnes and Anthony Miller also return. . . . Hammond Coach Dan Makosy has complete trust in senior RB Devon Paye (1,029 yards, 14 touchdowns) and junior RB Dionte Jones (1,029 yards, 14 touchdowns). Seniors Rasheed Lashley and Gavin Hendrick lead a defense that returns eight starters. . . . Atholton (8-3) held an illegal out-of-season practice in May and, as a result, will forfeit its first game of the season. The Raiders will be led by QB Brian McMahon and WR Dequan Ellison, who had seven touchdown catches last year. DE Steve Whiting and CB Austin Tennessee will be big-play defenders. . . . Glenelg (5-5) graduated its top scorer (Colin Osborne, county-leading 1,885 rushing yards). The Gladiators will try to fill a gaping hole by committee, starting with Nick Crabill, who only appeared in two games last season because of injury. . . . Centennial (2-8) is unsure at quarterback, but whoever first-year Coach Todd Kriner selects will be throwing to 6-5, 185-pound senior WR Chris Peterson. Pat Zarek and Kevin Hulvey will lead the defense. . . . By the midpoint of last season, Long Reach (5-5) had lost seven starters to season-ending injuries. The Lightning is healthy now, with 6-4, 280-pound Dominic Williams anchoring an enormous offensive line that will open holes for RBs Eugene Swen and Allen Cross. . . . Senior RB Alex Costley and senior WR B.J. Durham are the main offensive weapons for Marriotts Ridge (0-10), while junior LB Lyle Fugate is a keystone on defense. . . . Senior QB Kurtis Coleman will power the offense for Oakland Mills (4-6). . . . Reservoir (5-5) and Mount Hebron (1-9) are hoping to build on last season.

— Carl Little