* Catonsville (2-8) -- The Comets, playing in the less physically demanding 1A/2A this year, have 8 players back from last year's team. Coach Art Reeves will dress 22 players. There are 7 players who never have played organized football.
* Dulaney (3-7) -- Some of the early optimism was dampened when the Lions learned that premier RB Albert Smith was ineligible and would not be playing for the second straight season (he missed last season for medical reasons). Coach Chuck Klimek is excited about his line, which averages 218 pounds and is his biggest in 8 years at Dulaney.
* Dundalk (8-3) -- Coach Rick Zentz says this year's team is bigger and faster than last year's state quarterfinalist. The Owls will benefit from a first-day turnout of 78 players, including several key returnees. Zentz says RB/LB John Johnson has the ability to fill the void left by the graduation of Joe Speed, one of the county's best. Junior C Raymond Brown (6-3, 250) will anchor a big line. The Owls will face defending state Class 2A champion Wilde Lake (now in Class 1A) in the second week.
* Eastern Vo-Tech (4-6) -- Led by a good group of seniors, 81 players showed up on the first day of practice, the most in school history. The key returnee is RB Daryl Ray, who rushed for 871 yards last year. There are 8 starters back on offense and 6 on defense.
* Franklin (4-6) -- The Indians had their first losing season since 1976, and coach Claude Darr has only 22 players. Darr says this is the fastest team he's had, with seniors Jason Kenlaw and Kyle Sanders providing speed out of the backfield. Also back is Kevin Anderson, the leading rusher last year.
* Kenwood (0-10) -- The Bluebirds will drop to 1A/2A this season in an attempt to rebuild, but there are only 18 players on the varsity, including 5 starters from last year. Coach Fred Myers says he has talent, with QB Jesse DeBord, SE Steve Hewitt, SE Joe Gray and RB Damont McKenzie.
* Lansdowne (2-8) -- Third-year coach Gary Hesselbein has 6 starters back on offense and defense, including senior Jamie Haberkorn, who rushed for 1,049 yards last season. The Vikings will dress just 21 to 25 players.
* Parkville (6-4) -- An experienced group is back this season for coach Phil Donlin, led by 5 returning starters. Donlin says he has a group of fast backs, led by last year's leading rusher, Eric Johnson. QB Gary McGraw returns for his third season and will operate behind a large line (only 1 player under 200 pounds). The Knights will dress only 22 players. There are talented players moving up from a 7-0 junior varsity.
* Perry Hall (7-3) -- The Gators are the consensus pick as the county's best 3A/4A team. Coach Joe Stoy has his offensive and defensive lines back and 7 starters back on defense. Gilman transfer Danny Brown will be the QB in an all-new backfield, with Mike Stefanoni the chief ball carrier. There are several talented players from a 7-0 junior varsity.
* Randallstown (13-0) -- The problem for the Rams, who will drop to the 3A level, is how to top last year's undefeated state-championship season. Coach John Buchheister has an inexperienced squad. The Rams appear strong on the lines, but replacing Larry Washington, The Sun's 1990 Player of the Year, will not be easy. Buchheister says he will rely on RB Haryn Singleton and RB Donte Boyd to carry the load. The Rams lost 13 starters, but they are still projected as a playoff contender.
* Woodlawn (3-7) -- Coach George Goudy will have some experienced players after starting 9 sophomores last season. Omar Johnson and Marcus Jones return to the backfield and will be joined by Bruce Brown, who moves over from QB. Junior Rodney Pettit, who shared time with Brown at QB last year, will take over full time, and sure-handed receiver Adam Bennett also returns. The Warriors return most of their linemen on offense and defense.
* Chesapeake (9-2) -- Coach Ken Johnson's team, which made the playoffs last year, looks strong again. Johnson said the first team is solid, with 4 starters returning on the line and a big backfield led by RB Keith Brown and RB Lamar King. Also, 7 starters return on defense. The Bayhawks lack depth with just 25 players.
* Hereford (3-7) -- The team does not have a large number of players, and it lost several key players from last year's team. The running game shows some promise, led by FB Danny Bendebba.
* Loch Raven (3-7) -- The Raiders could be a sleeper. The team is loaded with experience, with at least 8 3-year players returning. First-year coach Robert Helms is optimistic about how tough the defense should be but worried about the offense. QB Michael Heck is the big gun on offense, and seniors OL Jeremy Lake and OL J.T. Moss should contribute.
* Milford Mill (4-6) -- New coach Bob Greene is brimming with confidence. Greene said that as long as the Millers don't beat themselves, they will be successful. The offense, a combination power-I and run-and-shoot, should score. Senior QB Jerome Dennis shows promise, as do SE Dave Bryan and SE Dennis Badham. The defense is also strong and allowed 1 touchdown in 2 scrimmages.
* Overlea (9-2) -- The Falcons have a lot of talent and the best turnout in coach Terry Ward's 4 years. Senior TE Bernard Hopkins (6-6, 220) has colleges drooling and opposing coaches worrying. He has great hands and is a strong blocker. Sophomore QB Bernard Fitchette has been impressive and will start. Ward said inexperience and a tough early schedule are his team's biggest roadblocks.
* Owings Mills (8-3) -- The Eagles made the state Class 1A semifinals last year and have some talented returnees but will be hurt by inexperience. RB Marlin Matthews, who ran for 1,238 yards and 17 TDs during the 1990 regular season, will help carry the offense.
* Patapsco (4-6) -- Defense will be the Patriots' strong point this year. Coach Richard Marion has a strong corps of linebackers. Three seniors, LB/K John Snook, S Tom Wallace and DT Mike Coleman, should anchor the defense. The offense lacks experience.
* Pikesville (5-5) -- QB Jay Glickson returns for his third year. Glickson has thrown for more than 3,000 yards in 2 years, but Pikesville lost its top 3 receivers from last season. Defense could be a weakness. Coach Curt Boushell said he has a solid nucleus of 15.
* Sparrows Point (0-10) -- A good summer camp and big turnout has lifted coach Russ Lingner's spirits. The Pointers will be short on depth and experience, as no more than 6 seniors will play. The backfield, led by FB Bobby Levine, shows promise.
* Towson (8-2) -- The Generals won 8 in a row and barely missed the state playoffs last year. There is plenty of talent returning. RB Gabriel DeLeon rushed for nearly 800 yards, and junior QB Tim Burke threw for more than 1,000 yards last season. The line is strong.