Towson Football Preview 2011

While area prep squads prepare for new season, coaches are feverishly attempting to figure out the best way to put more oomph into offenses and determination into defenses.

Look for your favorite team's most uplifting prospects below:

Boys' Latin

2010 record: 7-3

Returning starters (offense): 4

Returning starters (defense): 4

First game: Sept. 2, 7 p.m., at Catonsville

Fast facts: Dominating two-way senior lineman Greg Pike (6 feet, 5 inches, 305 pounds) has verbally committed to the University of Georgia. "He had 15 offers," said Boys' Latin coach Ritchie Schell, adding that West Virginia, Penn State, Michigan, Connecticut and Maryland were among them.

Key to success: Senior Brett Radcliffe (6-1, 180) and sophomore Frederick Bopst (6-2, 170) are engaged in a heated battle to run the multiple-I offense.

Breakdown: Schell hopes there won't be any slippage from the defense.

The Lakers gave up an average of only 11 points per game last year, but defensive end Marco Jones (University of Virginia) and cornerback Michael Turner (Cornell University) are gone.

So are five other starters.

"We had some really good players that graduated," Schell says. "We had eight all-conference players on defense. We could have had 10 if I had been greedy. We are smaller, but we are athletic and fast."

It's going to be difficult for opponents to neutralize Pike, who can get to the quarterback and stop the run in the Lakers' 4-4 defense.

"He has NFL potential," Schell said. "That's what everybody is saying. He is an unbelievable athlete."

Matt Rees (6-3, 210) joins Pike (50 tackles, 5 sacks) upfront.

Two outstanding veterans — seniors Shawn Mulroy (5-10, 190) and Geron Brooks (5-10, 190) — return to start at linebacker.

The secondary doesn't have a big-play star, but does have several solid players. Junior Chris Rubino (5-9, 165), a three-year starter, is the leader of the unit that also includes Radcliffe at safety.

On offense, the coaching staff will spend extra time working with Radcliffe and Bopst, a junior varsity call-up with great promise.

"They are both athletic and have strong arms," Schelle said. "But they have to improve on their accuracy and pocket awareness."