RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - This year, our radio partners at WHAN Radio are teaming up with us to bring you a weekly high school football top 10 poll. Here is the preseason top 10 heading into our first week of action.
1) LC Bird- The Skyhawks enter on a 29 game winning streak and return a good chunk of last year's state championship team. They'll have some new faces at key skill positions, but Bird is still in a spot to post another exceptional year.
2) Atlee- Atlee is coming off a season in which it reached the 5A South final. The Raiders will be strong at running back and on the line, despite losing two of the areas top lineman in Alec Eberle and Nick Clarke.
3) Hermitage- Patrick Kane and the Panthers have several starters back from a team that posted a playoff win a year ago. Rashad Robinson is back at quarterback and leading the offense. Size and speed once again highlight Hermitage in 2014.
4) Highland Springs- The Springers replace D.J. Johnson at quarterback, but have one of the areas best receivers in Michigan State commit Felton Davis. Loren Johnson once again has his team ready to perform at a high level this year.
5) Varina- Defense is the name of the game for the Blue Devils. Three senior linebackers lead Varina into the season, and quarterback Tim Minor returns to pace an offense that is trying to fill the shoes of Donovan Dowling and Herb Anderson.
6) Dinwiddie- There are some unanswered questions for the defending 4A state champions. A solid group of players graduated that played key roles in the title, both on and off the field. Only two starters return on the offensive side of the ball. Denzel Williams and Dakarai Wilson will shoulder a good deal of the leadership role for a team looking to fill some holes.
7) Manchester- The Lancers start at number seven with a chance to move up fast. Manchester fell in triple overtime to Douglas Freeman last year in the first round of the playoffs and has had nine months to chew on that heartbreak. 42 players who experienced that loss are back, including 18 starters, making Manchester one of the deeper teams in the area.
8) Douglas Freeman- The Rebels are replacing Kyle Farkas and Sinclair Farinholt, but come into 2014 feeling pretty good. 12 starters are back from last year's team that won a playoff game for the first time in 33 years and posted a 9-1 regular season.
9) Goochland- Winning a lot has become an expectation at Goochland. Joe Fowler and company are two years removed from their most-recent state title, and won ten games a season ago. The Bulldogs are making replacements on defense, but Fowler feels good about the young guys coming in.
10) Thomas Dale- The past couple years have seen the Knights get bitten by the injury bug on several occasions. This year, their first goal is to stay healthy, and if they do that, they have the chance to make some noise. Dale finished 6-4 last year and has its eyes on improvement in 2014.