Breakdown of Raiders’ schedule

Melvin Brown (34) is hoping to power Atholton football back to postseason play in 2018. The senior rushed for more than 900 yards last season.

With practice for the 2018 high school football season a few weeks away, Varsity Sports Network’s Derek Toney takes a look at the regular season itinerary for select area teams.

Atholton Raiders

2017 record: 7-4 (Class 3A East Region finalist)

2017 review: The Raiders reached their first state postseason since 2012. The Columbia school have 24 letter winners returning including senior running back Melvin Brown, who was an all-Howard County first-team selection last fall.

2018 opponents’ win/loss record (from 2017): 51-52 (.495)

Toughest 2018 opponent: Howard. The Lions won their fourth straight HoCo crown and reached the 4A state semifinals last season. The Ellicott City school will be formidable again with senior running back Devin Dawkins, arguably the league’s best offensive player, back.

Most intriguing 2018 opponent: Long Reach. The Lightning ended Atholton’s season in the 3A East semifinals en route to its first state semifinal. Long Reach graduated most of its nucleus, but offensive linemen Mayowa Ajimatanrareje, a second-team all-league pick, returns.

By a number: 36. Points allowed by Atholton in its seven victories in 2017.

2018 schedule

Aug. 31 at Long Reach (8-4)

Sept. 7 vs. Wilde Lake (1-8)

Sept. 14 vs. Reservoir (4-5)

Sept. 21 at Mount Hebron (1-9)

Sept. 28 vs. Glenelg (8-4)

Oct. 5 at Hammond (1-8)

Oct. 13 vs. Marriotts Ridge (4-5)

Oct. 19 at Oakland Mills (3-7)

Oct. 26 at River Hill (9-1)

Nov. 2 vs. Howard (12-1)