Coach: Bryan Cole, fifth season
Returning offensive starters: 6; Returning defensive starters: 6.
Top players (offense): Seniors Avian White# (FB/DE), Max Schuster (QB), Jack Dudzinski (OT), Jordan Hawkins (OG), Rolando Bonilla (OT) and Mohamed El-Zein# (WR).
Top players (defense): Seniors Dominic Lopes (S), Max Hoffman (DT) and Austin Mitchell (DE); juniors Christian Lyles (S) and Jack Barry (LB).
Key losses: RB/DB Robert Armstrong, RB/DB Cameron Brooks, LB/RB Zack Hess, NG/OL Dario Burley and LB/WR James Simms.
Scouting report: Reservoir enjoyed its first playoff run in school history in 2012, but graduated a strong senior class, led by defensive Player of the Year Simms (98 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 INT, 524 receiving yards, 7 TDs). The Gators do return many top skill players, including Schuster (57 completions, 521 yards, 5 TDs) at quarterback, White (97 carries, 428 yards, 6 TDs) at running back, and El-Zein (487 return yards) at kick returner. El-Zein will miss the first few weeks of the season with a leg injury. Craig Jones, up from the JV, should give the running game a boost.
River Hill Hawks
2012 record: 10-0, 14-0 (Class 3A state champion)
Last playoff appearance: 2012 (3A state champion); Last state championship: 2012 (4th); Five-year record: 62-5 (.925).
Coach: Brian Van Deusen, 14th season
Returning offensive starters: 4; Returning defensive starters: 4.
Top players (offense): Seniors Drew Pritchard (QB), Cory Daniel* (TE/LB) and Tre Patterson (RB/CB); juniors Aiden Gelb (RB) and Robert Haid (OT).
Top players (defense): Seniors Logan Kirby* (NG/OG), Anthony Corrao# (DE/OG), Chris Galloway (CB/RB) and Cyrus Vaughn (LB/RB); junior Brian Kirby (LB/RB).
Key losses: RB/S Evan Griffin, QB Austin Altman, WR/DB Nick Ball, T/DE Justin Nestor, LB/RB Stephan Osong, LB/RB Justin Arn and CB/HB Noah Carter.
Scouting report: A 62-5 record over the past five seasons means that River Hill is the top dog in Howard County until further notice. Losing playmakers like Griffin, Altman, Arn, Osong and Ball will hurt, but the Hawks have been there before. The combination of Daniel, Corrao and the Kirby brothers on defense could be devestating, and Pritchard has proven more than capable of leading River Hill's prolific offense. Galloway, River Hill's fastest player, should have plenty of openings to move the ball down the field. Juniors Tyler Smith (T/DE) and Jon Kanda (SE) are the team's top JV call-ups.
Wilde Lake Wildecats
2012 record: 5-5, 5-5
Last playoff appearance: 2010 (3A state champion); Last state championship: 2010 (6th); Five-year record: 39-20 (.661).
Coach: Mike Harrison, fifth season
Returning offensive starters: 5; Returning defensive starters: 5.
Top players (offense): Seniors Spencer Ampofo (QB), Malik Jackson# (WR/LB), Danny Johnson (C), DeVon Groves (WR/DB) and John Radcliffe (RB/LB); junior Dana Dickerson (OT/DT).
Top players (defense): Seniors Kris Gough (DT/OG) and Kahlyl McClain (DT/OT); juniors Cuinn Mullins (LB/RB), Malik Holland (DB/WR) and Steven Jordan (LB/TE).
Key losses: OT/DE Moise Larose, TE/LB Nate Haase, RB/LB Wayne Long (RB/LB), LB/FB Eric Handy, LB/RB Shawn Winans, DE/TE Tola Morakinyo and CB/RB Trevon Jacks.
Scouting report: Wilde Lake has not had a winning season since it went all the way to a state championship in 2011. The Wildecats desperately want to reclaim their winning reputation in 2013, and a hungry crew of newcomers will be leading the charge. Sophomore Quez Bradley (RB/LB), junior DeAndre Henry (WR/RB/DB) and senior Khari Jackson (DB/WR) are the top call-ups to the varsity. Ampofo (296 passing yards, 3 TDs) is running the offense for the third straight season, and he has one of the league's best receivers in Jackson (256 yards, 2 TDs). Groves (38 tackles, 4 INTs) is the top returning playmaker on defense.