Loch Raven football coach Ryan Heaney thinks his Raiders might have hit rock bottom — or as close to it as he would like to get — and that the only direction is up. That's after a 2-9 record last season.

“There is just a different feel than last year,” Heaney said. “Our guys are very motivated to become relevant. They have taken a back seat because the program hasn’t experienced success. Our guys are hungry to have a winning season. They have worked very hard to get to this point.”

One of the Raiders’ hardest workers has been junior all-Baltimore County safety Dawuan Jones, 5 feet 7, 160 pounds. Jones, senior cornerback Keon Carter (5-11, 165), junior cornerback Trevont Henderson (6-0, 175) man the secondary in a 3-3-5 defensive alignment.

“For a guy who may not have all the physical features, he plays the game with a tremendous amount of energy,” Heaney said of Jones. “He has turned into our defensive leader and one of our biggest team leaders.”

Seniors Derek Halford (5-9, 180), Donyell Lipscomb (5-10, 215) and Marquis Murphy (5-9, 195) and juniors Gabriel Onyijen (6-0, 180) and Dan Williams (5-9, 205) are the top linebackers.

Tackles Dominic Tew (6-3, 290) and D.J. Woah-Tee (5-11, 245) are leaders on the defensive line.

“Our defense was young last year,” Heaney said. “Our defense will be more experienced and prepared this year.”

Junior Thorton Ferreira (5-10, 200) could emerge as a strong running back. A transfer from Broadneck,  Ferreira might be counted on to carry the ball 20 times a game.

“He brings a lot of size and speed to our backfield,” Heaney said. “A lot of other guys have speed or power.”

Halford will also see time at running back.

Junior Montrae Martin (6-0, 170) takes over as the starting quarterback. He played half of last year on the junior varsity before being promoted to fill in at wide receiver and cornerback because of injuries.

“In the offseason, he was able to concentrate on quarterback and he established himself as our No. 1 guy,” Heaney said. “He has a lot of speed and is a dynamic runner.”

Senior wide receiver Noah Johnston (5-11, 180) and senior tight end Brody Probst (5-9, 185) should contribute to the passing game.

The offensive line includes senior center Mark Dragon (6-0, 260), a three-year starterer, junior guard Taj Whitley (5-1, 200), senior tackle Chris Adams (6-3, 240), Tew, a tackle, and Woah-Tee, a guard.

“It’s definitely the biggest offensive line that we have had since I took over as head coach,” Heaney said. “We have more athletic guys and quality depth.”