Breakdown of Lightning 2017 schedule

long reach

Coming off its first postseason appearance in more than a decade, Long Reach won its bracket at the Ravens 7-on-7 Passing Jamboree earlier in the summer. The Lightning tied for second-place in Howard County last fall.

With practice for the 2017 high school football season underway, Varsity Sports Network’s Derek Toney takes a look at the regular season itinerary for select area teams.

Long Reach Lightning

 2016 record: 8-3 (Class 3A East Region semifinalist)

2016 review: The Lightning had a breakout campaign, reaching the state playoffs for the first time since 2004. The Columbia school has all-league first-teamers Chad Brown (defensive back) and Spencer Willis (offensive line) and second-teamers KaDarrian Booker (running back), Michael Zeleznik (defensive line), Reggie Dillion (offensive line) and Derrick Noble (wide receiver) back.

2017 opponents’ win/loss record (from 2016): 45-51 (.469)

Toughest 2017 opponent: Howard. The Lions have won the last two Howard County crowns and reached the 4A state semifinals last season (lost in 2015 state final). Ross Hannon takes over for Bruce Strunk (stepped down in January) and has 20 letterwinners back, including all-league running back Devin Dawkins and linebacker Ryan Kearney.

Most intriguing 2017 opponent: River Hill. The Hawks ended Long Reach’s season in the 3A East playoffs last season and set to return 23 letterwinners. The Clarksville school have back two of the league’s most versatile performers in Cooper McGeehan and Brendan McKenna.

By a number: 20. Point differential in Long Reach’s three losses last season.

2017 schedule

Sept. 2 vs. Oakland Mills (4-6 in 2016)

Sept. 8 at Hammond (0-10)

Sept. 15 vs. Wilde Lake (6-5)

Sept. 28 at River Hill (7-5)

Oct. 7 vs. Howard (11-2)

Oct. 13 at Marriotts Ridge (5-5)

Oct. 20 vs. Mount Hebron (2-8)

Oct. 27 vs. Reservoir (4-6)

Nov. 3 at Atholton (6-4)