1...Queen Anne’s-The Lions return a young yet very experienced team. The Lions are one of the few teams who return their Quarterback from last year. The biggest loss, Defensive Coordinator Al Waters along with two other coaches which will have a big effect, how much we shall see.
2...North Caroline-The Bulldogs lost two of the best players in their program’s history in David Jackson and Jaimon Franklin. They are not the only ones lost to graduation as North Caroline will be one of the many teams breaking in a new QB. The team lost a devastating playoff game to Kent Island last year. This program has gotten to the point where they are able to be closer to reloading than rebuilding but to think there won’t be a drop off from last three years is unrealistic.
3...Kent Island-The Bucs lost a lot of talent last year including QB Trent Jackson. The Bucs usually reload but are low on numbers this year which means minimal depth. Kent Island is strong once again on the lines which will be a big help as the Bucs start a Freshman QB and two new starters in the backfield. They do have some experienced skill positions but running the ball and defense will be especially crucial this year.
4...Easton-The Warriors return a lot of players who gained experience last year on a team that was young and endured injuries. They have a new Head Coach in Pat McGlinchey who had a three-year stint at Wicomico previously and most recently has been the O-Line Coach the last few seasons. Matt Griffith goes from HC to Offensive Coordinator and will be in the booth on game day. Expect a step up from the Warriors but they will have to do with a new QB as Mason Ledford has moved on.
5…JM Bennett-The Clippers return a bulk of their offensive line and skill players despite losing some key ones from last year’s squad including K Stephen Oscar who will be a big loss for them. The Clippers have started to build a nice foundation and consistency. Their goal though is to stay steady and not take too much of a step back like they did in 2016 after a great 2015. It seems there is enough here that they have good shot to be very competitive.
6...Wicomico-Expectations are high for the Indians this year, maybe not as high as Parkside’s last year but there seems to be a buzz that this is the team that will take the next step. The Indians return several 1st and 2nd Team All Bayside talent. This would seem to be the year that the Indians flourish with this being Brian Hanson’s 3rd year at the helm.
7...Parkside-The Rams still have a few solid players left over from last year’s squad but will be breaking in a fair amount of new faces as well. Parkside has been a model of consistency but last year’s high expectations were not met in an extremely competitive 2A Region. Bennett is starting to catch up on a consistency basis and Wicomico is ready to take the next step, so it will be highly competitive for the Salisbury Championship alone this year. They will be pressed hard for a winning record this year.
8...Cambridge-A new Head Coach takes over for Jake Coleman on a team that lost a lot of talent to graduation. It’s a very young team with athletic ability. Former Queen Anne’s Defensive Coordinator Al Waters is now in the same position with the Vikings, a big addition but its looks like a rebuilding year, something they have not done in a long time.
9...Stephen Decatur-The Seahawks are still trying to get back on a level of consistent success that they have enjoyed over most of the time Bob Knox has been Head Coach. One of the issues recently has been finding a talented QB that can give them multiple years of service and or one that has any experience as was the case last year. Injuries and a few transfers have also played a part. Decatur will be tough and play hard but can ill afford injury or lack of production as depth lacks.
10...Colonel Richardson-The Colonels saw massive improvement the last three years but lost some key players at the skill positions which may be too much to overcome to make the playoffs as they did last year. A foundation has been laid however and there are still some experienced players who have tasted enough success that the Colonels should not drop off into oblivion. It helps playing some of the Eastern Shore of VA teams once again this year that are more comparable to their situation.
11...Kent County-The Trojans have a new Head Coach and are looking to rebuild after a successful run with former HC Brendon Ireton. Last year, a lot of young players got experience including at the skill positions which should help. However, it looks like its 2013 again and the program must reestablish itself.
12...Washington-The Jaguars lost a fair number of three-year starters and struggle with numbers. They have continuity in their head coach, but it looks like another rebuild.
13...Snow Hill-The Eagles won their first game in three years last year however the team has lost some key guys and has a new head coach. Numbers are still a big issue for the team and they will have a big uphill battle. We will quickly find out where they stand Week 1 as Kent Island comes to town.