McDonough is the defending Maryland 2A champion. (Doug Kapustin/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
Favorite: McDonough (13-1)

The Rams are the defending Maryland 2A champions.

Contenders: North Point (9-2), Westlake (9-2)

The Eagles lost All-Met LB Conner Crowell, but they have an experienced quarterback. The Wolverines have tremendous speed.

Dark horse: Chopticon (7-4)

The Braves’ three regular season losses last year were all by one score against the league’s tri-champions.

Around the league

McDonough returns only six starters, but it remains the team to beat behind dynamic junior QB Devone Boone. . . . North Point senior QB Connor Young threw 16 touchdown passes against only three interceptions last season. . . . Westlake has several speedsters, including senior DBs Michael Westray — a Duke commit — and Ayo Ogunniyi. . . . Chopticon LBs Bam Wroble, Michael Messick and Nick Landavazo are all three-year starters in the middle of a game-tested defense. . . . Huntingtown (9-4) graduated 21 seniors from a team that advanced to two consecutive state tournaments, but expect the Hurricanes to remain in the playoff hunt behind senior RB Davonte Fletcher and senior DB Gabe Stewart. . . . Seniors Amadou M’Bodj and Zac Brown anchor an offensive line that will be Northern’s biggest strength this season. The Patriots (6-4) won five of their last six games last year and return eight starters on defense. . . . Run-first junior QB Travez Lee will run the single-wing offense for Patuxent (4-6), which returns 17 starters. . . . Senior RBs Aaron Wilkerson and Kenny Daniels lead Great Mills (5-5), which will rely on speed at its skill positions to try to reach its first postseason since 1989. . . . La Plata junior TE-LB Nick Spensieri is a player to watch on both sides of the ball for the Warriors (3-7). . . . First-year Coach John Lush takes over a 3-7 Lackey program that has 28 seniors but returns only seven starters. LB Marquis Smith should be a force in the middle of the Chargers’ defense. . . . Former Huntingtown assistant Rick Sneade takes over at Calvert (2-8), where the Cavaliers are optimistic about the future. Senior RB Ray Hayes should be a workhorse this year. . . . Junior RB Stephen Stewart headlines a deep backfield for Leonardtown (2-8), which hasn’t won more than three games in any of the past 10 seasons. . . . Seniors Sean Short and Rakeem Jones are the top playmakers for Thomas Stone (0-10), which is looking for its first win since 2008.

— Greg Schimmel