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Broadneck wide receiver Ethon Williams, right, catches a touchdown pass against North Point defensive back Chelen Garnes in the first half of the Class 4A East Region final in 2017.
Broadneck wide receiver Ethon Williams, right, catches a touchdown pass against North Point defensive back Chelen Garnes in the first half of the Class 4A East Region final in 2017. (Steve Ruark / Capital Gazette)

The No. 4 team in The Baltimore Sun’s countdown of our preseason top five high school football teams has been one of the top public school programs in the area for most of the past 20 years. With five state semifinal appearances since 2000, however, they’re still aiming for that first state title.

All week, The Baltimore Sun is rolling out its top-five high school football teams as the first play date for public schools arrives Friday. Yesterday, we revealed No. 5 Dunbar. The entire Top 15 poll along with players to watch will be published in The Sun and online at baltimoresun.com Friday.

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Here’s a look at ...

4. Broadneck

Coach: Rob Harris

Last season: 11-1, Class 4A East region finalist

First game: At Bowie, Friday, 7 p.m.

Players to watch: WR Ethon Williams, Sr.; OL Caelan Shepard, Sr.; OL Peyton Stickle, Sr.; RB Jason Carcamo, Sr.; LB Matt McAllister, Sr.; LB Carlos Coates, Sr.; WR Tnaejah Watts, Sr.; WR Andre Woods Jr., Jr.; QB Joshua Ehrlich, Fresh.; DE Luke DelRosario, Sr.

Dunbar, the defending Class 1A state champion, is The Baltimore Sun's preseason No. 5 team for the 2018 season.

Outlook:

The Bruins have been to the Class 4A East regional final the past three years and reached the state semifinals two yeas ago.

Last fall, they were one of the Baltmiore area’s most dominant teams, beating their regular-season opponents 472-150. Only one team came closer than within three touchdowns. They beat Meade, 28-21, during the regular season, but the Bruins blew out the Mustangs in the first round of the East regional playoffs, 35-6.

They were rolling until the ran into North Point. Coach Rob Harris said they played their worst game of the season and North Point won the regional championship and moved on to the state semifinals, 38-22.

The Bruins will try again for their first state championship with a combination of veteran talent and promising newcomers.

They graduated 28 players, including starting quarterback Shane Davis, now playing at Lafayette.

Under center, the Bruins will start Joshua Ehrlich, a multipurpose quarterback whom Harris calls “super smart.”

It helps the youngster to be surrounded by veterans, including an offensive line that returns four starters along with a handful of runners and receivers.

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Ethon Williams, a two-time All-Metro first-team receiver, has a chance to break a few state career receiving records. Last fall, he caught 66 passes for 1,223 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Jason Carcamo has run for more than 1,200 yards the past two seasons. All-Metro tackle Caelan Shepard, 6-feet-6, 305 pounds, leads a line that averages 263 pounds. Center Peyton Stickle, tackle Andrew Weissinger and guard Justin Fogt are all seniors. Guard Ethan Forman is a junior.

“We’re really excited about Josh,” said Harris after Ehrlich completed 16 of 21 passes in the first scrimmage two weeks ago. “Of course, he’s going to have some growing pains, but he’s behind a seasoned offensive line and there’s a lot of good things going on, so we’re pretty pumped.”

One the defensive side, only three starters return — linebackers Matt McAllister and Carlos Coates, as well as senior nose tackle Matt LiCausi — while Luke DelRosario moves from offensive guard to the defensive line.

Harris is pleased with the line filled out with senior Jack Bragaw and sophomore Viliami Po’uha, son of Navy assistant coach Sione Po’uha, who played in Utah last year.

One of the key rebuilding areas is the defensive secondary, but Harris is confident in senior cornerback Romeo Simonds and junior free safety Brendan Kennedy. Other players are coming along, Harris said, and he can use Williams and Carcamo to fill in if necessary. He just doesn’t want to overwork them.

With a lot of young talent to fill in the holes, the Bruins will make a strong run at remaining among the state’s top public school programs.

“We feel good about what we’re going to do,” Harris said. “We have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of new faces. Obviously, breaking in a new quarterback is going to be a great challenge, but I think if we can take care of the football and some of those defensive kids acclimate themselves quickly, we’re going to be okay, we’re going to be able to compete in Anne Arundel County and hopefully compete at the state level.”

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