2014 record: 10-0, 12-1, 4A North region champions
First game: vs Reservoir, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.
Coach: Bruce Strunk, eighth year
Returning offensive starters: 4; Returning defensive starters: 3
Offense: Spread; Defense: 4-2-5
Top players (offense): Seniors Malik Anderson* (RB/WR), Casey Crawford (QB) and Steve McNair* (OL).
Top players (defense): Seniors Vanden Vale# (LB), Zac Robinson (LB) and Felix Fonmedig (DT).
Scouting report: Howard finally had its big breakthrough season in 2014, but don’t expect the Lions to fall far, if all, from the county standings this year. They return perhaps the top playmaker in the county in Anderson, who finished with six rushing touchdowns in addition to seven receiving touchdowns, one of the top lineman in McNair and Crawford is expected to pick up the offense and not miss a beat from last fall.
Defensively, Vale is one of the best returning defenders in the county and finished fourth in tackles with 107 a year ago.
“We have a young team that will need to grow up fast,” coach Bruce Strunk said. “We have a few returning players who will be a big impact for us. Our biggest concern is getting our young players to mature fast and play at varsity speed.”