From 1977-80, Carroll compiled an impressive 38-2 won-lost mark, won four Metro Conference titles and twice was the No. 1-ranked football team in the metropolitan area. In that period, the Lions fashioned together 19- and 15-game winning streaks.

Long-time Coach Maus Collins, a perfectionist on the football field, can virtually describe each play in the two losses--a 3-0 decision in the rain at Gar-Field and a 7-6 loss at Phoenixville, Pa.

"I never win in Virginia anyway," Collins said.

Collins and Carroll won a big one across the bridge last week, shutting out a good O'Connell team, 18-0, in the conference opener for both. The aggressive Lions, who were 7-3 and 8-3, respectively, the last two years (considered sub-par for Collins) are showing all the familiar signs of another great team.

"We're not big at all but we're quick. Our defense has been good and we played some tough teams early to prepare for the league," Collins said.

Carroll (4-0) has outscored its opponenents, 91-7, and held them to less than 100 yards total offense per game. The Lions' defense has forced almost 20 turnovers, including five interceptions in the O'Connell game. Carroll defensive players have returned either fumbles or interceptions for scores three times this year.

"They're an opportunistic team," O'Connell Coach Fred Benevento said. "You can't make mistakes against them and expect to win."

O'Connell made mistakes and didn't win.

Carroll's offense has been consistent if not spectacular. Quarterback Kenny Lucas is a good runner and passer, Brian Murphy (three touchdowns) is the top running back and Benjamin Moffitt (two field goals) is a good medium-range kicker.

Collins isn't proclaiming this the best team in his 20-plus years at the Northwest D.C. Catholic school, but can't help but praise their early-season play. The Lions will get every opportunity to move into the "great" category in the next four weeks when they play McNamara, St. John's, Father Judge of Philadelphia and Gonzaga (a combined 13-0).

Top individual performances: Wilson's Mark Martin, who had two interceptions and a fumble recovery, in a 19-0 victory over Spingarn; St. John's Nelson Gonzales, with two touchdown catches in a 23-0 victory at Howard; H.D. Woodson's Otis Pollard, with four tackles and a sack, in a 16-0 triumph at Coolidge; Carroll's Tracey Wilkes, with two interceptions (one for a touchdown) in an 18-0 victory over O'Connell; Gonzaga's Gary McIntosh with two touchdown runs in a 21-7 victory at Thomas Johnson.

Ollie Thompson, former athlete at Dunbar and Delaware State and presently the assistant director of personnel at UDC, says he doesn't talk to his son on the day before or on the day of a game. Gary Thompson, a senior linebacker at No. 1-ranked Carroll, works himself into a state of total concentration and doesn't wind down until the game is over.

"There's something wrong with him," said a laughing Thompson, standing along the sideline of the Carroll-O'Connell game last week. "When it's time for the weekend game, I stay away from him."

Thompson blitzed O'Connell quarterback Andy Camacho on one play and sacked him with a hard tackle.

"He waits for plays like that," Thompson said. "he loves it."

The elder Thompson, considered a fine athlete in his time, loved it.

On Oct. 7, Gonzaga will travel to Ohio to take on Massillon Washington High, a perennial national power . . . For the first time since 1945, Gonzaga and Georgetown Prep won't play because of schedule conflicts . . . Gonzaga and St. John's will meet Nov. 12 at Byrd Stadium. The game has been played at several sites but this could be their new home.

St. John's and De Matha will again host the Pro-Keds D.C. Basketball Clinic at the Sheraton Lanham Oct. 7-8. College coaches scheduled to speak include N.C. State's Jim Valvano, Louisville's Denny Crum, and W. Virginia's Gale Catlett