Middletown plays at Smyrna tonight in a rematch of the past two state title games. Tonight Appo hosts Caesar Rodney, a playoff team from last year. St. Georges Tech opens the season Saturday, hosting Howard at high noon.

MIDDLETOWN CAVALIERS

2017 record: 10-0 regular season (reached Division I state championship game)

2018 Cavaliers schedule:

Sept. 7 at Smyrna 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 home vs. Williams Penn 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 22 at Delcastle 11 a.m.

Sept. 28 home vs. St. Georges Tech 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 5 at Appoquinimink 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 12 home vs. Salesianum 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 20 at IMG Academy (Fla.) 7 p.m.

Oct. 26 at Newark 7 p.m.

Nov. 2 home vs. Concord 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 10 at Hodgson 10:30 a.m.

Returners:

QB Drew Fry, SR.

WR Nicholas Johnston, SR.

OL Cade Krueger, SR

RB/LB Najair Smith, JR.

LB CJ Lockett, SR.

TE/DL Ryan Fields, SR.

LB Ralph Alesi, SR.

LB Joshua Atkinson, SR.

LB Tyler Averette, SR.

K Kayla Bierlein, SR.

WR Larry Griffin, SR.

WR/DB Esaias Guthrie, SR.

DE Mac Sterling, SR.

WR/DB Tamar Teagle, SR.

G Thomas Clarkin, JR.

WR/DB Isaiah Griffin, JR.

OL Jonathan Hackett, JR.

OL Blake Harbert, JR.

DB Terran Jones, JR.

LB Anthony Pepper, JR.

OL LaTerrian Sprull, JR.

Newcomers:

Noah Box, SR.

Mason Blythe, JR.

Trent Dashiell, JR.

Demetric Denson, JR.

Marquee Lewis, JR.

Kamerin Saunders, JR.

De’Quez Walker, JR.

Ahmir Westbrook, JR.

Jaheim Wing, JR.

Brandon Anderson, JR.

Rodney Bond, SO.

Lynell Christy, SO.

Javier Collazo-Rodriguez, SO.

Sean Freeburg, SO.

Ryan George, SO.

William George, SO.

Zachary Lararczyk, SO.

Ben Martin, SO.

Noah McDonald, SO.

Jed Obinwankwo, SO.

Jaco Smith, SO.

Ryan Cheaton, FR.

Braden Davis, FR.

Kody Harris-Miller, FR.

Strengths: “One of our biggest strengths is to be able to play together as a team and that’s always tested, but when Friday night comes, they’ll be ready to answer the bell,” said Head Coach Zach Blum. “Offensively, we can throw the ball and do a lot of things in the running game and we have a lot of the offensively line back as well. Defensively, the backend is doing a nice job and they’re ready to do some good things.”

Areas of improvement: “We have to finish in all phases,” said Blum. “We have to ‘finish the finish,’ that’s where we need to improve. We haven’t been able to finish, so that’s our goal. You want to win your last football game – that’s everyone’s motivation. You want to get it right this time.

Goals: “Our day one starts in January, so our goals are a little different from everyone else,” said Blum. “We want to turn out quality young people. We want to put guys in good positions for college opportunities. We teach you have to handle your business in your life. If we can help our guys do that, the football part will take care of itself.

APPOQUINIMINK JAGUARS

2017 record: 3-7

2018 Jaguars schedule:

Sept. 7 home vs. Caesar Rodney 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 home vs. Delcastle 7 p.m.

Sept. 22 at St. Georges 12 p.m.

Sept. 28 at Sussex Tech 7 p.m.

Oct. 5 home vs. Middletown 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 12 home vs. Brandywine 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 home vs. Newark 7 p.m.

Oct. 27 at Concord 10:30 a.m.

Nov. 2 home vs. Hodgson 7 p.m.

Nov. 10 at William Penn 1 p.m.

Returners:

OL RJ Dugue, JR.

OL Matt Hetrick, JR.

OL Hunter Carr, SR.

DT Ahmir Gibson, SR.

CB Jeff Broughton, JR.

S Jaden Estes, JR.

LB Josh Parson, JR.

Newcomers:

Antonio Alvarez, JR.

Savion Field, SR.

Jordan Henry, JR.

John Ngato, SR.

Justin Henry, JR.

EJ Brister, JR.

Strengths: “Strengths of the team include the secondary with Jeff Broughton, Jordan and Justin Henry, John Ngatia, and Jaden Estes who will provide speed, tackling and skill in the back half of our defense,” said Head Coach Brian Timpson. “Another strength is the toughness of the team. They have bought in and been working towards a common goal this offseason and it is starting to come together.”

Areas of improvement: “The area of improvement is the offensive line. If they play to their ability this year’s team could be very good,” said Timpson.

Goals: “As for the 2018 Appoquinimink football team, we are very positive on this year,” said Timpson. “The boys seem committed to turn the program around. We have tons of athleticism and skill on the outside and look to use our speed as a positive. If we can block and tackle we will be competitive in all of our games. And who knows maybe just sneak up and surprise some teams.”

ST. GEORGES TECH HAWKS

2017 record: 4-6

2018 Hawks schedule:

Sept. 8 home vs. Howard 12 p.m.

Sept. 15 home vs. Caesar Rodney 12 p.m.

Sept. 22 home vs. Appo 12 p.m.

Sept. 28 at Middletown 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 5 at Dover 7 p.m.

Oct. 12 at Newark 7 p.m.

Oct. 20 home vs. Concord 12 p.m.

Oct. 27 at Hodgson 10:30 a.m.

Nov. 3 home vs. William Penn 12 p.m.

Nov. 10 at Delcastle 11 a.m.

Returners:

RB/DB Brian Benson, RB/DB, SR.

C Andre Boone, SR.

TE/OLB Demetrius Bryson, SR.

TE/OLB Jordan Cheaton, SR.

OL/DL Greg Glessner, SR.

FB/LB Tyrese Owens, SR.

WR/DB Rashaan Young, SR.

OL/DL Anthony Mason, JR.

Newcomers:

Brian Fields, SR.

Ka’Shi Giles-Boyd, SR.

George Goldsborough, SR.

Mike McCants, SR.

Cole Sisofo, SR.

Tyson Blakeney, JR.

Riley Dean, JR.

Sean Lewis, JR.

Terrence Trapp, JR.

Donovan Delaney, SO.

Tyrell Martin, SO.

Beau Rideout, SO.

Nyaire Wilson, SO.

Elijah Alexander, FR.

Giovani Sanchez, FR.

Michael Santos, FR.

Strengths: “The team wants to be good. Players compete. They show up on time, pay attention, and work hard,” said Head Coach John Wilson. “As coaches, we have seen daily improvement, and it will be exciting to see us get better each week. How much better will depend on how fast the players can learn and adjust to adversity.”

Areas of improvement: “Consistency. [We have a] mixture of returning players and new players learning a new system with a new coaching staff. Team speed is average, and there is a lack depth at the defensive back position,” said Wilson.

Goals: “The goal from day one has been to get better every day,” said Wilson. “Expectations are high, but the players have done well adjusting to the standards and learning the habits that will help them be successful week in and week out.”