McDonogh School Eagles

2011 record: 6-5

Returning starters: 6

Top returning players: Justin Hawkins, So., defensive end/running back; Wyatt Cook, So., linebacker/running back; Syl Brown, Jr., strong safety/running back; Duke Etchison, Jr., quarterback; Michael Cornwell, So., wide receiver/defensive back; Taysean Scott, Sr., wide receiver/defensive back; Jabari Weems, Sr., wide receiver/defensive back; Jared Cohen, Jr., offensive/defensive line; Ryan Ford, Jr., offensive/defensive line; Akeem Myers, So., linebacker

Top newcomers: Kareem Montgomery, So., strong safety; Eric Burrell, Fr., safety; Miles Martin, So., defensive back; Alex Hurdle, So., linebacker

Outlook: Despite graduating a solid senior class, McDonogh will again be in the hunt for a MIAA A Conference playoff berth. Longtime coach Dom Damico has a mix of veteran and newcomers.

“We feel we could be better,” said Damico, whose team lost to Calvert Hall in the semifinals of the league tournament. “We have a little more depth and can go one-way with several players which means maintaining leads in the fourth.”

Duke Etchison will head up the offense replacing two-year starter Joel Jorgensen. The backfield is set with Hawkins and Myers returning as a part of solid skill nucleus.

Scott (5-foot-11) and Weems (5-10), both all-MIAA A picks last fall, are elusive targets while Cornwell (6-5, 180 pounds) gives the Eagles a huge mismatch against opposing defensive backs. Ford and Cohen move into starting roles after being reserves on a senior-dominated front.

Hawkins, Ford and Cohen will look to replace the production of veterans like Roman Braglio, Allan Jackson and Charles McDonald. Hurdles, Myers and Cook highlight the linebacking troops.

The defensive back may be the Eagles’ strongest overall unit with Scott, Cornwell, Weems, Brown with newcomers Martin, Burrell and Montgomery. McDonogh will get an immediate test Aug. 30 against last season’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference finalist Gonzaga College (D.C.) at the I-95 Kickoff at the University of Maryland.