Maryland and D.C.-Area's best high school football teams, preseason players of the year and games to watch.
Maryland/D.C. Preseason Top 10
1. Our Lady of Good Counsel Falcons (Olney)
Coming off a fourth straight Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship, the Falcons will look to replace two-way standout Kendall Fuller. Good Counsel averaged 33.2 points in its six regular-season WCAC contests in 2012.
2. DeMatha Stags (Hyattsville)
The Stags went 9-3 and are set to return a host of talented seniors, led by quarterback John Lovett and his band of receivers. Getting past rival Good Counsel is the annual challenge.
3. Gilman Greyhounds (Baltimore)
The Greyhounds lost to Good Counsel 20-19 in overtime last season, then won nine in a row and the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association “A” Conference crown.
4. Henry A. Wise Pumas (Upper Marlboro)
The reigning Class 4A state champs played a thriller in the title game, and will have quarterback Isaiah Black returning.
5. River Hill Hawks (Clarksville)
The Hawks overcame a 14-6 halftime deficit in the 3A state title game to beat Huntingtown 18-14 and win their 24th game in a row.
6. Dunbar Poets (Baltimore)
The Poets are state championship veterans, with three straight 1A crowns. But they’re moving up a classification to 2A this fall.
7. Middletown Knights
The 2A state champion Knights boast an all-state offensive lineman in senior Justin Falcinelli (6-4, 300).
8. St. Paul’s Crusaders (Brooklandville)
The Crusaders capped a perfect 11-0 season by beating John Carroll in the MIAA “B” Conference title game.
9. Calvert Hall Cardinals (Towson)
The Cardinals’ season ended with a 35-7 loss to rival Gilman in the MIAA “A” Conference title game.
10. Friendship Collegiate Academy Knights (Wash., D.C.)
The Knights are loaded with college recruits, and topping the list are sought-after cornerbacks D’Andre Payne and Jalen Tabor.
Five Can't Miss Matchups
8.23 – Good Counsel vs. Gilman
Private powers collide before most teams get started this year at Towson University.
9.1 – Manatee (Fla.) vs. Gilman
A tasty interstate matchup in Baltimore featuring Florida’s Class 7A power against the Greyhounds on ESPN.
9.6 – Middletown at Westminster
Last year’s 2A state champs come to Ruby Field to face the 4A state semifinalist for the first time.
10.11 – Don Bosco (N.J.) Prep at Friendship Collegiate Academy
One of New Jersey’s (and the nation’s) premier teams takes on the Knights in the nation’s capital.
11.28 – Calvert Hall vs. Loyola
The Turkey Bowl is in its 94th year and likely will be played this year on the campus of Towson University.
2013 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Demetrius Johnson, ATH, Annapolis Area Christian
Senior, 6-2, 205
The Annapolis Area Christian program is relatively new and didn’t win a game last season, but Johnson is set to emerge as one of the state’s premier prep stars. He played wide receiver and defensive back last fall and has earned a roster spot in the 2014 US Army All-American Bowl in Texas.
2013 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Melvin Keihn, LB, Gilman (Baltimore)
Senior, 6-3, 225
The speedy Keihn racked up 13 sacks to lead a stingy Greyhounds defense, and he reportedly has offers from close to 20 FBS schools. Keihn helped Gilman to a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association “A” Conference title and a 9-2 record.
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