Welcome to the 2016 Varsity Sports Network preseason Top 20 football poll. VSN ranks the top teams in the Baltimore region which covers public and private schools in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Harford County and Howard County.
As we progress towards the regular season, we will countdown our 2016 VSN Football Preseason Rankings from No. 20 all the way to No. 1.
15. Annapolis (2015 record: 8-3; Final 2015 VSN Top 20 ranking: No. 17)
Player to watch: Cameron Hough, running back/linebacker, senior
Outlook: The Panthers look to follow up last fall’s breakthrough season. Ten starters are back from a team that only lost to Class 4A state semifinalist Broadneck and Anne Arundel league champ Old Mill (twice).
Did you know: Annapolis last had consecutive playoff appearances in 2001 and 2002.
Aug. 27 vs. Bishop O’Connell (Va.), 12:30 p.m.
Sept. 2 at Edmondson, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 17 at Boys’ Latin School, 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 at Loyola Blakefield, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 30 at Tuscarora, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Severn School, 4 p.m.
Oct. 15 vs. St. Mary’s, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 21 at St. Paul’s School, 3:45 p.m.
Oct. 28 vs. St. Vincent Pallotti at Fairland Regional Park, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 vs. John Carroll School, 7 p.m.
14. John Carroll School (12-0; No. 3)
Player to watch: Niko Rice, wide receiver, senior
Outlook: The Patriots seek an encore to last fall’s undefeated run. The Harford County school’s bid for a second straight MIAA B Conference title will hinge at quarterback with last year’s VSN Offensive Player of the Year Kurt Rawlings (Yale) graduated.
Did you know: John Carroll was the highest-ranked MIAA B program (No. 9 in final poll) in the history of the state media poll last year.
Sept. 2 vs. Calvert Hall College, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Loyola Blakefield, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Episcopal Academy (Va.), 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 at St. Paul’s School, 4 p.m.
Sept. 30 vs. Haverford (Pa.) School
Oct. 7 vs. Boys’ Latin School, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 vs. St. Vincent Pallotti, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 at St. Mary’s, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 vs. Severn School, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 at Archbishop Curley, 7 p.m.
13. Dundalk (12-2; No. 9)
Player to watch: Darius Sample, quarterback, senior
Outlook: The Owls hope to prove last year’s run to the Class 3A title game wasn’t a fluke. The Baltimore County school return six starters, including one of the area’s most dynamic signal callers in Sample.
Did you know: Dundalk was just the second Baltimore County team outside of Eastern Tech, Franklin and Hereford to reach a state final since 1990.
Sept. 2 vs. Kenwood, 6 p.m.
Sept. 9 vs. Milford Mill Academy, 6 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Lansdowne, 7 p.m.
Sept. 24 at Patapsco, 1 p.m.
Sept. 30 vs. Towson, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Catonsville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 vs. Woodlawn, 6 p.m.
Oct. 21 vs. Parkville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 at Perry Hall, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 at Franklin, 7 p.m.
12. South Carroll (10-2; No. 14)
Player to watch: Henry Cook, senior, tight end/linebacker
Outlook: The Cavaliers will try to continue their reign in Carroll County. South Carroll will inexperience on both sides on line, but talented two-way performers Cook and Jamar Williams (running back/linebacker) should make up for it.
Did you know: The Cavaliers are 19-2 in Carroll play since 2013.
Sept. 2 vs. North Hagerstown, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 at North Harford, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 at South Hagerstown, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 at Liberty, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 vs. Manchester Valley, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Winters Mill, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 at Francis Scott Key, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 vs. Boonsboro, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 vs. Century, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 at Westminster, 7 p.m.
11. Dunbar (9-3; No. 13)
Player to watch: Avery Thurman, defensive back, senior
Outlook: With a veteran offensive and defensive front, the Poets are primed to return atop Baltimore City. St. Frances Academy quarterback transfer Jarrett Lewis may be the final piece as Dunbar seeks its first state title since 2012.
Did you know: The Poets have reached the state semifinals 12 of the last 13 seasons.
Sept. 2 vs. Gilman School, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 vs. Mervo, 6 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Patterson, 3:45 p.m.
Sept. 23 vs. Poly, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 at Boys’ Latin School, 4 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Edmondson, 6 p.m.
Oct. 14 at City College, 3:45 p.m.
Oct. 20 vs. Carver Vo-Tech, 7 p.m.
Oct. 29 vs. Digital Harbor at Banner Park, 3 p.m.
Nov. 5 at Douglass, 3 p.m.
Nov. 24 vs. Calvert Hall College, Turkey Bowl at M&T Bank Stadium, 10 a.m.