Breakdown of Gaels’ 2017 schedule

sam james

Running back Sam James is a key component back for Mount St. Joseph football. The junior was an all-MIAA A Conference selection last season.

With practice for 2017 high school football season underway, Varsity Sports Network’s Derek Toney takes a look at the regular season itinerary for select area teams.

Mount St. Joseph Gaels

2016 record: 7-4

2016 review: The Gaels finished fourth in the MIAA A Conference, and ranked 10th in the final VSN Top 20. The Baltimore City school has nearly 40 letter-winners scheduled back, led by all-league running back Sam James.

2017 opponents’ win/loss record (from 2016): 49-48 (.505)

Toughest 2017 opponent: St. Frances Academy. The Panthers had an amazing turnaround last fall going from last place in 2015 to the MIAA A crown and area’s top-ranking. The east Baltimore school, led by four-star defensive end Eyabi Anoma, will be the team to beat in the MIAA A in 2017.

Most intriguing 2017 opponent: Good Counsel. The Montgomery County private school has been a perennial state Top 5 team the last decade under Bob Milloy, the state’s all-time inningest coach who retired in February. The Falcons will again challenge in the Washington Catholic Conference for new coach Andrew Stefanelli with University of Maryland commit Tyler Baylor and state’s top senior prospects Micah McNeil and Tremayn Scott.

By a number: 70. Point differential in final three games (all losses) for Mount St. Joseph after a 7-1 start.

2017 schedule

Aug. 26 at St. Mary’s Ryken (1-8 in 2016)

Sept. 2 at Cardinal O’Hara (1-8)

Sept. 8 at Good Counsel (6-5)

Sept. 16 vs. St. Joseph’s-Canada (0-0; first-year varsity program)

Sept. 23 at Gilman School (2-9)

Sept. 29 at Calvert Hall College (7-5)

Oct. 7 vs. Loyola Blakefield (5-6)

Oct. 21 vs. McDonogh School (8-3)

Oct. 27 vs. St. Frances Academy (10-2) at Patterson Park

Nov. 4 vs. Archbishop Spalding (9-2)