It has been a rough decade for Archbishop Carroll (D.C.). The Lions have won five games over the past four years, but do not expect such futility to last much longer.
Head coach Rick Houchens said he had more than 60 kids apply to the school and the football team this year and he has already turned several current athletes into national recruits. Defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu and defensive tackle Nate Clark will anchor the line.
Bishop McNamara finished 5-6 last season and returns 15 starters, but head coach Bryce Bevill is a little concerned. The Mustangs return seven players to an offense that scored 218 points last season, but they need to replace their starting quarterback and wide receiver. The offensive line will have its anchor in 6-foot-3, 270 pound tackle Chrishon Rose, who holds offers from New Mexico and East Carolina. Eight starters return to the defense, including MDVarsity.com Dream Team candidate Brandon Coleman, who holds 13 offers and is also a basketball prospect. Bevill's top two cornerbacks graduated, so the team will be looking for some young players to mature quickly.
Bill McGregor has led DeMatha to six straight Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) championships, but none this decade may have been more impressive than last year's title. A year after losing All-WCAC players Kenny Tate and Rodney McLeod, some thought it was Good Counsel's year to finally defeat the Stags. But a 34-7 victory put an exclamation point on DeMatha's season and held true to McGregor's yearly statement, "At DeMatha we don't rebuild, we reload."
This year the Stags are loaded. McGregor said this is the first time in his 28-year head-coaching career that 10 of his players hold Division I offers before the season starts. The list of DeMatha's top recruits includes running back Marcus Coker and defensive back/special teamer Kyrrel Latimer, who were both second-team All-WCAC selections last year. Latimer is committed to Virginia.
If there is a weakness on this year's DeMatha squad it could be at quarterback. All-WCAC first team selection Tom Chroniger graduated and is playing in college at Towson. Chroniger amassed 1,000 yards passing and rushing last season. Daniel Tapscott looks to be one of the players vying to fill the spot. Coker and Austin Bailey figure to be the running backs and will have offensive linemen and brothers Cyrus and Arie-Manuel Kouandjio to block for them.
DeMatha begins the season ranked in the Top 25 of the ESPN RISE FAB 50 and are a lock as a top-five team in the Maryland High School Football State Poll.
Gonzaga (D.C.) finished 2-8 last year but returns a top prospect in quarterback Kevin Hogan. The 6-4, 195-pound junior threw for more than 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in six games. Tight end Jake Ruffing is also considered a top prospect and should be a target for Hogan.
It was quite a season for Good Counsel in 2008. From the national attention Jelani Jenkins received, to the Falcon's 42-21 defeat of DeMatha on ESPN2, Good Counsel was thrust into the limelight and proved it was well deserved. Even with Jenkins' graduating along with seven other Division I signees, the Falcons appear poised for another shot at DeMatha in the WCAC championship game.
All-WCAC quarterback Tyler Campbell graduated. The quarterback role is expected to go to junior Zach Dancel, who is already receiving college interest.
Another large hole to fill will be at running back with the graduation of Caleb Porzel. Sophomore Wesley Brown is expected to be called up from the freshman team where he rushed for 2,800 yards and 23 touchdowns. Not to be outdone by DeMatha in regard to top prospects, Good Counsel has its share of national recruits, including Louis Young (committed to Stanford), E.J. Scott (Virginia) and Frank Tamakloe (Wisconsin).
Good Counsel returns three All-WCAC first-team selections and seven selections overall, including Young and linebacker Troy Gloster. This team's strength should be the defensive secondary with Young, Tamakloe and All-WCAC selection Garrett Schmidt.
Good Counsel is expected to start the year in the ESPN RISE FAB 50 East Region rankings and with a schedule that starts with games against Valhalla (San Diego, Calif.), Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) and Gilman (Baltimore, Md.), a quick start could move them into the top 50 in the nation.
University of Maryland commit Andre Monroe will return and anchor the defensive line for a St. John's (D.C.) team that finished 7-4 and made the WCAC playoffs last season. Defensive back Charles Brown holds offers from Kansas State and New Mexico.
Bishop O'Connell (Va.) has won more games in each of the past three seasons (2, 3 and 6) and made the playoffs last season while Paul VI (Va.) improved from 1-9 in 2007 to 4-6 last season.
St. Mary's Ryken had its first varsity football program last year and will begin play in the WCAC this season. The Knights scored 19 points last season and were shut out in their final four games.
ESPNRise encourages comments from its users. Leave a comment below. Mike Loveday covers high school sports for ESPNRISE.com. Mike can be reached at Michael.Loveday@espn.com