DUNDALK — As the school year begins, high school football is also making its return with, barring the return of COVID-19 restrictions, the first full season of football since the season before the pandemic.
Tryouts began earlier this month for high school sports, with a full fall season currently slated, and practices and scrimmages are ongoing until opening weekend the first week of September.
This year, the Dundalk High Owls will open against the Century High Knights in Sykesville on Sept. 3, and the Sparrows Point Pointers will play the Harford Tech Cobras in Harford the same night.
The Patapsco High Patriots will start off with a scrimmage this Friday, and an opening game on Saturday, Sept. 4 against Towson.
“We have a lot of guys returning, especially from the spring season,” Owls head coach Matt Banta said this week. This year’s team is very junior-heavy, with dedicated players who are “very vocal” returning among the about 75 players who showed up for tryouts, that will fill the school’s varsity and junior varsity teams.
Owls senior quarterback Calvin Stokes will return to the varsity team this year after two years on the team, as well Jordan Fiorenza, who is on his third year on the team, and three-year star Dalan Johnson.
“The numbers are looking really good,” Banta said.
The Patriots will see the return of linemen JaQuay Willis and Willie Beard, who are starting on the offensive and defensive line, Patriots head coach Tyler Clough said.
Starting cornerback and slot wide receiver Jahir Carter, who is a “huge playmaker” for the Patriots will also return. Gavin Tezzano, a star defensive end and tight end, is set to return and have a “huge year,” Clough said.
The Pointers have a “good senior class” coming in this year, head coach Lamar King said.
“The ultimate goal is being successful on Friday nights,” King said.
The Pointers coach said seniors Matt Merbach and Nic Robicheaux, as well as junior DeAndre Duvall are “having a good camp,” adding to the team’s strong plethora of experienced players.
“It’s exciting, because the guys are working their tail off, they’re competing every day, challenging each other, encouraging each other, and that’s something that’s gonna encourage us to where we want to be,” King said.