Coach: Bryan Cole, fourth season
Returning offensive starters: 4; Returning defensive starters: 6.
Top players (offense): Seniors Robert Armstrong (RB/DB), Cameron Brooks (RB/DB); juniors Avian White (FB/DE) and Matt Schuster (QB).
Top players (defense): Seniors Zack Hess (LB/RB), Dario Burley (NG/OL) and James Simms (LB/TE).
Scouting report: It would be a tall order for the Gators to put on an aerial display like they did over the last two seasons, a span in which E.J. Montgomery completed 180 passes for 3,000 yards and 33 touchdowns. But since opening in 2002, Reservoir has shown steady improvement each season, and has never had a shortage of talented players, so the Gators can be expected to contend again this year behind top playmaker Armstrong, who rushed for 215 yards and caught 22 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns. Brooks was also a contributor to the running game last season. Hess returns as one of the team's defensive leaders, having made 77 tackles last season when Reservoir held opponents to an impressive 12.4 points per game.
2011 record: 8-2 county, 12-2 overall, Class 3A state champion
Coach: Brian Van Deusen, 13th season
Returning offensive starters: 5; Returning defensive starters: 5.
Top players (offense): Seniors Evan Griffin (RB/S), Austin Altman (QB), Nick Ball (WR/DB) and Justin Nestor (T/DE).
Top players (defense): Seniors Stephan Osong (LB/RB), Justin Arn (LB/RB) and Noah Carter (CB/HB); junior Logan Kirby (NG).
Scouting report: While the defending state champion Hawks again find themselves having to replace a sizable and talented senior class, their plight is no different from any other season. And as the numbers show, River Hill is as good as any team in the state at reloading. The Hawks have won three state titles in the last five years, and over the past decade boast a record of 112-13, best in the state. This year, River Hill will attempt to make its tenth consecutive playoff appearance. While the Hawks graduated their starting quarterback (Raamah Vaughn), a first team all-county running back — Aaron Wells (1,366 yards, 20 TD) — their top five tacklers and the league's interception leader — Randall Lawson (9) — they are far from empty-handed. Griffin rushed for 650 yards and nine touchdowns last year and is the team's punter and kick returner. Alongside Osong, with 430 yards of offense and 85 tackles last year, the Hawks shouldn't see much of a drop-off from last season, when they rushed for 3,600 yards as a team. Altman did get some experience under center last year, passing for 300 yards in four games. Kirby (four sacks) and fellow junior Cory Daniel (TE), Cyrus Vaughn (RB/LB) and Kalonji Moore (RB/LB) represent the best of the class of 2014.
2011 record: 4-6 county, 4-6 overall
Coach: Mike Harrison, fourth season
Returning offensive starters: 4; Returning defensive starters: 4.
Top players (offense): Seniors Moise Larose (OT/DE), Nate Haase (TE/LB) and Wayne Long (RB/LB); juniors Spencer Ampofo (QB) and Tyrone Hayward (RB/CB).
Top players (defense): Seniors Eric Handy (LB/FB), Shawn Winans (LB/RB), Tola Morakinyo (DE/TE) and Trevon Jacks (CB/RB); junior Malik Jackson (FS/WR).
Scouting report: Last year's four-win season was uncharacteristic for Wilde Lake, which won a state title in 2010, and the Wildecats want nothing better then to reclaim their winning reputation. Larose, a 6-3, 285-pound two-way lineman who has committed to play for Rutgers next year and transferred in from Meade last winter, looks to add a great push at the point of attack. The team again graduated most of its returning rushers, but Long (119 yards, 3 TD) showed some pop last year, gaining seven yards per carry. As a sophomore, Ampofo took every snap at quarterback with mixed results last year, but with a year of growth (6-1, 170) and experience under his belt, and the protection of Larose, Harrison expects good things out of his signal caller. Handy (87 tackles, 12 for loss, 5 fumble recoveries) returns to lead a defense that allowed less than 18 points per game last season, but graduated four all-county starters.