Story by Malcolm Johnson
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Ask anybody around: The Hylton Bulldogs are becoming one of the best teams in the entire state of Virginia.
Following two consecutive 11-1 seasons and deep runs into the playoffs, head coach Tony Lilly is leading a team that is primed to make a championship run. One obstacle has remained in their way, though.
In each of the past two seasons, Hylton has won their regular season games against Battlefield -- ranked number 24 in our preseason poll.
However, it's been Battlefield that was able to shake off those regular season losses and defeat Hylton in the playoffs, in both 2010 and 2011. With a team full of veteran leadership, expect the Bulldogs to respond well to the adversity they have faced in their recent past.
Record Last Season:11-1
Big Question: With an emphasis on the wide receivers in Hylton's offense, how will the youth at the position impact the team's scoring ability?
Strengths: Coach Lilly: "We are a veteran team this year. We have a strong group of seniors as well as juniors that have earned a lot of playing time over the years. Also having a dual-threat quarterback (Travon McMillian) who is going into his second season as a starter, he'll be able to bring a lot more in his leadership role to the offense."
Best Player: Prized linebacker, and four-star recruit E.J. Levenberry held Division I offers from some of the nation's top football programs but eventually elected to head to Tallahassee, where he'll be a Florida State Seminole. When you conjure up thoughts on FSU football, you think Bobby Bowden, you think fast, strong and swagger. Levenberry has all of that, especially the strength and speed part. At 6-foot-2, 227 pounds, the inside linebacker is considered amongst the tops at his position in the nation.
Breakthrough Player: Rising junior Brian Roberts will be gaining attention from colleges this season because of his high intensity and a non-stop motor on the line. He was a one-way player in 2011 on the offensive line, but coach Lilly feels it will be on defense where Roberts will reach his full potential.
"I project him to be a Division I defensive end by the time he's done here. He's strong, got long arms and got a motor that just doesn't stop."
Why fans should be excited:Tony Lilly on his squad in general:
"We're a pretty big team up front. We have what we think is one of the most explosive quarterbacks in the state (Travon McMillian), and with that we can be a pretty exciting offense. From a defensive standpoint we're a very veteran group with a lot of size and returning starters. We're looking to be as dominant and competitive on that side of the ball as we can be."