Of the seven college high school football teams in Sun Gazette coverage areas of Fairfax County, only the Madison Warhawks and Potomac School Panthers had winning records last season.
Madison had its best season in program history, winning district and area championships and then finishing second in the Class 6 Public Schools State Tournament. The Potomac School compiled a 5-4 mark . The Marshall Statesmen finished 5-5 in the regular season, then lost their one-region playoff game to go 5-6.
As the 2022 season prepares to start this week for most teams, Madison and Potomac School are expected to have winning seasons again. But will any of the other teams follow suit, like Marshall, the Langley Saxons, McLean Highlanders, Oakton Cougars and Flint Hill Huskies?
Time will tell us.
* Madison fired a significant number of key starters on both sides of the ball from last season’s team that went 13-2 between end-of-book losses. The Warhawks are also returning key players and have strong replacements at quarterback and running back in Mac Lewis and Angelo Jreige, respectively.
Other key offensive returns are wide receivers Cord Yates, Sonny Endicott and Darren Knicely once he returns from injury. Lineman Eric Anderson, linebacker Kevin Chadwick and defensive back Michael Delgado are the best returners on defense.
“We had a lot of depth last season and now these players have their chances to start and play more,” Madison coach Justin Counts said. “Our district is strong and we believe we can be good again.”
Madison opens its season Friday, August 26 at 7 p.m. at home against the defending Class 5 champion Stone Bridge Bulldogs. Stone Bridge beat Madison in the season opener last year.
* The Potomac school had a good running game last season and expect the same under second-year head coach CJ Remmo, with a number of key offensive-end returns of the ball.
The Panthers finished second to St. James in the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference last fall, when the team won its last two games and three of its last four.
The team’s first game is Friday, September 2 at 6 p.m. at Norfolk Academy.
* The Langley Saxons had a tough break early last season when starting quarterback Brendan Mansinne was injured in the team’s second game and didn’t return until late in the season. Langley finished 2-8, losing its first eight games.
If Mansinne stays in the lineup this season and with other key returns, the team is optimistic that they can significantly improve on that 2-8 mark.
Langley opens his season on Friday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. against the defending Liberty District champion Yorktown Patriots.
* The Marshall Statesmen’s best returning players from last season are quarterback Jeff Ryder and running back Nakia Wilson, who combined to make up a big part of the team’s offense last season.
Marshall is expected to challenge defending champion Yorktown for the Liberty District title.
The team opens play Thursday, August 25 at 7 p.m. at Washington-Liberty.
* The McLean Highlanders finished 3-7 last season and return starting quarterback Manoli Karageorgos and running back Kaelan Ferris. Joe Cockerham becomes the team’s new head coach.
McLean opens play Friday, August 26 at 7 p.m. in West Potomac.
* The Oakton Cougars won their first four games last season, then lost their last six as the schedule got tougher. Oakton hopes to continue making gains under head coach Mel Morgan. Noah Toole, along with a host of linemen, should help this cause.
Oakton begins the season Friday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. at Lewis.
* The Flint Hill Huskies were winless last season at 0-9, but should make significant improvements. The Huskies will kick off the game Saturday, September 3 at 1 p.m. at home against Woodberry Forest.