Quince Orchard's Mark Green (Preston Keres/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
Favorite: Quince Orchard (9-3)

Cougars move back up to Maryland 4A after two seasons in 3A.

Contenders: Gaithersburg (11-2), Clarksburg (5-5)

Trojans advanced to Maryland 4A semifinals last season; Coyotes could make playoff push this fall.

Dark horse: Magruder (3-7)

Colonels are seeking second playoff berth since 1989.

Around the league

Quince Orchard is looking to extend its run of seven consecutive playoff appearances during Coach Dave Mencarini’s tenure (72-13 in seven seasons). The Cougars are led by RB Mark Green (1,309 yards rushing, 14 touchdowns last season), while LB Marcus Newby, a highly regarded junior, heads the defense. . . . Gaithersburg has talented skill players in WRs Billy Brown and Simba Gwashavanhu (combined 17 touchdown catches last season) and RB Solomon Vault, but it must replace All-Met QB Zack Fetters. . . . Clarksburg is the other team in the league that could make a playoff push. WR-LB Stefan Houston (6-2, 200) is the Coyotes’ leader, while C-MLB Vicente Kinney is one of three returning starters on the offensive line. . . . Look for Magruder to move QB-WR-DB Garland Owens (6-5, 205) around the field to utilize his play-making ability. . . . Northwest first-year Coach Mike Neubeiser has seven returning starters on offense, including QB Matt Callahan and WR-DBs Tyler Ambush and Josh McDonald. The Jaguars were 1-9 last season. . . . Richard Montgomery (0-10) enters the season on a 24-game losing streak but hopes an imposing and experienced offensive line will lead the way for QB Steven Burchett.

— Josh Barr