Coach: Wendell Thomas, 13th year
1990 record: 0-7 county, 1-13 overall
Returnees: Seniors: Kevin Huber (M), Marty Rodden (M), John Holmes (M), Andy Blanco (D), Sean Savoy (M), Matt Tyson (D), John Milstead(A); Juniors: Alex Flecker (A), Norman Flecker (M), Andy Schlossberg(G), Brad Tyler (M).
Newcomers to watch: Senior: Greg O'Shea (D);Juniors: Jimmy Smith (A), Brian Pertman (A); Sophomores: Dave Munday(M), Charles Fuller (M), Josh Harrold (D), David Koch (D).
Coach's outlook: "We're real young on defense, but we're stronger at midfield than we've been in a few years. We've got speed, good ball-handlers and some scorers. If we play with the intensity we showed against South Carroll (a 7-6 victory), we could go places. I'll be happy with a .500 season."
Howard County Sun outlook: The Raiders turned a few heads by upsetting highly-touted South Carroll, and by doing it without Milstead, last year's top scorer. With him back for the county season, Atholton might have the stuff to get back to middle of the pack and spoil the season for a contender.
Coach: Mike Siegert, 14th year
1990 record: 4-3 county, 7-5 overall
Returnees: Seniors: Jeff Freimanis (A), Ken Feher (D), Dave Wiebking (D), Ken Mandell (M), Marc Gordan (G); Junior: Cullen Meade (M); Sophomore: Werner Krueger (M).
Newcomers to watch: Juniors: Danny Ahn (M), H. J. Holt (A), Bill Alborn (A), Andy Armiger (D), Jason Luy (M), Mike Castellitto (M), Jordan Rechis (D), Brian Hahn (D).
Coach's outlook: "I'd like to think we can be competitive in the county, but we've got to work on everything. The problem spots are correctable. Whether we correct them is another story."
Howard County Sun outlook:The Eagles lost four key starters to graduation and will be hard-pressed to replace their production. Freimanis, Feher, Meade and Kruegerform a good nucleus, but inexperience on defense and a lack of midfield depth will probably add up to a tough spring.
Coach: Rick Kincaid, third year
1990 record: 1-6 county, 3-9 overall
Returnees: Seniors: Nevin Hilliard (A), Rich Weatherby (A), Jason Pett (M), Jamie Traxel (D), Tim Clark (D), Jackson Fisher (D); Juniors: Dusty Huesser (A), Kevin Lafferty (A), John Schulze (M), Andy Leedom (M).
Newcomers to watch: Juniors: Jim Bielski (D), Dave Harrison (M), Greg Flurry (G); Sophomores: Matt DeMontigne (M), Jason Coulder (M).
Coach's outlook: "Our strength is at attack. If they continue working well together, they can really put some numbers on the board. Our lack of depth at midfield might hurt us in the county. I have to be guarded at this point, but I'm optimistic. This is the best team I've had at Glenelg."
Howard County Sun outlook: The Gladiators return their trio of attackmen, which has led a 20-goal production in the Glads' 2-0 start, their best under Kincaid. DeMontigne and Coulder are first-year varsity players who will start at midfield, while Flurry makes the jump from the junior varsity to start in goal.Lack of experience will make it difficult on Glenelg in a tough county.
HAMMOND GOLDEN BEARS
Coach: Bill Smith, seventh year
1990 record: 2-5 county, 5-7 overall
Returnees: Seniors: Jason Orr (A), Darrin Smith (A), Ricky Matthews (M), Chris Mack (M), Joe Delph (D), Drew Farver (M), Alex Kovalski (D), Toby Babst (D), Matt Garner (G); Juniors: Keith Chance (A), Steve Marucci (M), Jesse Adami (M), Brian Leyda (D); Sophomore: Tommy Lea (A).
Newcomers to watch: Senior: Damien Greene (M); Juniors: Eric Brown (M), Shane Cunningham (D), Samier Kshirschear (D).
Coach's outlook: "Everybody thinks we have a one-man show with Ricky (Matthews), but we're pretty balanced. We're playing really well as a team. I'll put our offense up against anybody's. Our defense has to play better for us to contend. If we get soundgoal-tending, we'll be tough."
Howard County Sun outlook: The Bears appear on the verge of their best season in years, and look like adecent bet to make the playoffs for the first time. Matthews is one of the county's best, while nine other starters return to give Hammond its most talented team in years. Early tests against Hebron and Howard will tell the Bears how good they are.
Coach: DanRoss, 17th year
1990 record: 6-1 county, 13-3 overall
Returnees: Seniors: Scott Frye (A), Mike McCarthy (A), Lamont Anderson (M), Neal Jacobs (M), Rick Platter (M), Joe Wilson (D), Brian Booker (M), Reggie Gaither (D), David Haskell (D), Milton Lee (G).
Newcomers towatch: Juniors: Steve Harris (D), Adam Kellner (D), Mark Osterman (A), Sean Chaney (A), Wei Chen (A); Freshman: Eddie O (M).
Coach's outlook: "I usually don't like to be confident this early, because it ends up coming back to haunt you, but I've got a nice group this year. We've got enough talent for us to do very well. If we don't, it's probably my fault for not getting through to them."
Howard County Sun outlook: The Lions are a solid, senior-laden team featuring seven returning starters. Wilson, Player of the Year last season, might be the best defender in the metro area. Frye is going after the career scoring record. They should keep the Lions steady at each end of the field. The key to success is midfielder Anderson. The Lions need him to play well consistently and lead a unit that looms as the team's bigquestion mark.
MOUNT HEBRON VIKINGS
Coach: Warren Michael, fourthyear
1990 record: 7-0 county, 13-2 overall
Returnees: Seniors:Chris Vissers (A), Jess Grim (A), Bob Sites (M), Mike McQuaid (M), Shane Igoe (M), Dan Hagan (M), Henry Long (D), Nathan Kealey (D), Frank Rubena (D), Rob Doeller (D), Tommy Dotsikas (G); Juniors: Tom Huppman (A), Jason Vettori (M), Carl Bochau (M), Blair Hill (M).
Newcomers to watch: Juniors: Andrew Pillinger (D), Chris Parandian (G); Sophomores: Clay Shifflett (M), Justin Gimmell (A), Andrew Ballinger (A).
Coach's outlook: "Our first 13 guys stack up with anybody. Our first midfield is as good a unit as I've ever had. Our close defense and our goalie are starting to come through again. I was concerned with our attack, but even they're rising to the occasion. We don't have a lot of wheels (speed), but we've got them in the right places."
Howard County Sun outlook: Hebron is the only program in the county that could absorb the loss of eight All-County players to graduation. The Vikings aren't as big or aggressive as they usually are, but they'll compensate with a slower-paced, finesse game. As always, the skills are there. As always, Hebron is still the team to beat.
OAKLAND MILLS SCORPIONS
Coach: Gary Ahrens, ninth year
1990 record: 5-2 county, 7-5 overall
Returnees: Seniors: Grant Bleiler (A), Chris Brosnan (A), Steve Phipps (M), Scott Nelson (M), James Stephenson (G); Junior: Matt Hanagan (D).
Newcomers to watch: Seniors: Paul Tribles (D), Garrett Jones (D), Calvin Claggs (D), Garrett McGlouthlin (M);Junior: Marcus Myles (A); Sophomore: Shannon Hiteshew.
Coach's outlook: "We're starting from scratch. I'm teaching fundamentals. We'renot executing the way we should be. We'll either end up where we usually are, or at the bottom of the pack."
Howard County Sun outlook: The Scorpions have more question marks than most of Ahrens' previous eight teams, but they do have a likely Player of the Year candidatein Phipps. But even a monster season from Phipps might not pull the inexperienced Scorpions out of mediocrity.
WILDE LAKE WILDECATS
Coach: Mike Harrison, third year
1990 record: 3-4 county, 4-8 overall.
Returnees: Seniors: Keith Gonsouland (M), Andrew Commins (D), George Thompson (D), Teague Buchanan (M); Sophomores: Jon Taylor (M), Mike Klingler (M/D).
Newcomers to watch: Juniors: Zak Young (D), G. J. Wood (M), Jordan Klevanow (M), Mike Curtis (A), Jake Laaveg (A),David Etue (A), Jared Taylor (G); Sophomore: Tony Crawford (D/M); Freshmen: John Scherr (A).
Coach's outlook: "We're almost identical in team makeup as last year. I'd like to think we can win three against the county. That's realistic. We're going to give people a run forthe middle money, but we're not going to get close to the top."
Howard County Sun outlook: The Wildecats are off to a discouraging 0-4start, and need to jell quickly as the county schedule approaches. Gonsouland is potentially one of the league's finer players, but the roster is filled with question marks after that.
NOTE: SEE ALSO MAIN STORY (HEBRON'S THE TEAM TO BEAT, WITH HOWARD ON ITS HEELS)