5. Hallandale: Coming off a 5-5 season, the Chargers are hoping an experienced defense will guide them back to the playoffs. The veteran linebacking corps of Jeremy Derrick, Robert Alexander and Aaron Plantt should keep them in the hunt with Gibbons and Heritage for one of the district’s playoff spots.
6. Dillard: The Panthers picked a familiar face to begin what they hope is an eventual return to powerhouse status in Broward. Lorenzo Davis spent the past nine years as athletic director of the middle school that feeds into Dillard before becoming the coach this offseason. The rebuilding process is going well so far, but in a tough district, it might still be a little time before Dillard is back among the elite.
7. North Broward Prep: With rival Pine Crest going independent, the Eagles shouldn’t have much trouble winning their fourth district title in the past five seasons. The offense should still be strong, led by running back Semar Smith, but the defense will need to replace a few key starters if it wants to have any big-picture success.
8. Pompano Beach: New coach Larry Cherry, a former assistant at Boyd Anderson and Plantation, has generated excitement on a team that went 2-8 in 2011. A more talented team should get a few more wins than last year, but contention in tough District 15-5A will take time.
9. Westminster Academy: The Lions will remain independent this season and joined the Southeastern Coaches Conference. Expect them to be one of the favorites to win the new league with 14 starters back. Star wide receiver Josh Orsino (FAU) is gone, but 6-5 quarterback Ray Sharp is one of the better signal-callers in the county and still has plenty of options.
10. Calvary Christian: After four years of dominant offense led by star Javan Shashaty, the Eagles will need to rely on defense this season to achieve another winning season. Isaac Hoza steps in at quarterback and will need to mature quickly if Calvary is to have any chance to contend in District 7-3A which includes American Heritage-Delray, Cardinal Newman and King’s Academy.
The rest: 11. Somerset; 12. Pine Crest; 13. Highlands Christian; 14. Coral Springs Christian; 15. South Florida HEAT; 16. Zion Lutheran; 17. Posnack.
• Catch Andre C. Fernandez’s weekly football predictions every Tuesday.