Wise RB Uriah Bethea is the area’s leading returning rusher. (James A. Parcell/FOR WASHINGTON POST)
Favorite: Wise (12-2)

The Pumas have won three straight Maryland 4A South titles, advancing to the state final the past two years.

Contenders: Eleanor Roosevelt (9-3), Suitland (9-2)

The Raiders and Rams both return key starters from teams that reached the playoffs.

Dark horse: C.H. Flowers (8-3)

The Jaguars have compiled a 28-7 record over the past three seasons.

Around the league

Expect the same smash-mouth style of play from Wise with heavy doses of senior RB Uriah Bethea (1,655 yards, 24 touchdowns), a James Madison recruit. Senior DE Tre Smith spearheads the defense. . . . Eleanor Roosevelt, which returns six starters on each side of the ball, will be dangerous with returning QB-LB Shawn Petty (Maryland) and senior WR Tyrone Temoney. . . . Suitland will rely on its two-year starter at quarterback, senior Nyema Washington (1,354 yards, 14 touchdowns in 2010), and small but speedy junior WR-DB Taivon Jacobs . . . . Senior TE-DE Monte Taylor (6-foot-4, 245 pounds) will lead C.H. Flowers. . . . Bladensburg (3-7) could make waves this season with key returners such as senior WR-DB Davon McGill. . . . Junior RB Darius Victor will headline the offense for Northwestern (4-6). . . . Bowie (4-6) returns senior TE-LB Alex Robinson and gains a St. John’s transfer in senior WR Jaylen Johnson. . . . Oxon Hill (4-6) is seeking its first winning season since 2008. . . . After consecutive 6-4 seasons, DuVal finished 5-5 last fall and is hoping to improve. . . . Todd Sommerville takes over as coach at Laurel (1-9) and Lorenzo Fludd does so at Parkdale (5-5). . . . High Point (0-10) is seeking its first win since 2007.

— James Wagner