The upcoming prep football season provides an opportunity for four local programs to make their mark and push themselves into contention for a state championship.

Last season, Marist brought home a region title, won its first 14 contests and reached the Class AAAA state title game. This year, the War Eagles return several top players including senior wide receiver/defensive back Kyle Hamilton, who had a team-high six interception and 55 tackles on defense last season. The Notre Dame verbal commit also had a team-high four touchdown receptions and averaged 17.3 yards a catch on offense in 2017. Junior wide receiver/defensive back Matthew Houghton will also contribute on both sides of the ball for Marist.

Senior linemen Ryan Mannelly, Adam Pozzobon and Dean Colton will also led the front lines on offense and defense for Marist. Mannelly had a team-high 12 sacks in addition to 56 tackles, while Pozzobon had 62 tackles. Colton posted 38 tackles last year. Senior kicker Brendan Farrell also returns to handle special teams’ responsibilities.

Wesleyan extended its postseason streak to six seasons after an eight-win campaign last season, reaching the second round of the Class A Private playoffs. Senior J.D. Kavel will be a main target at wide receiver, while also providing support on the defensive end after posting 47 tackles and grabbing three interceptions last season. Senior Donald Conley, who had 41 tackles in 2017, is also back for the Wolves.

St. Pius X won eight contests, a region title and reached the semifinals of the Class AAAA playoffs last season. The Golden Lions have reached the postseason each of the past 12 seasons and will be led offensively by senior lineman Connor Brown. The defensive unit will include linebacker DeMarcus Mitchell and defensive back Zach Ranson.

Woodward Academy won its fourth consecutive region title last season and reached the Class AAAA quarterfinals in an 11-win campaign. The War Eagles return senior running back Tahj Gary who had 2,333 all-purpose yards, including 1,305 yards rushing, and 31 total touchdowns last season. Kicker Marshall Golick will lead the special teams’ unit for Woodward.

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