In a virtual instant replay of a year ago, Stuart has defeated its first four foes this season by nearly the same scores. The Raiders, who have rebuilt their program under Todd Chappell, finished 8-2 last season, losing only to Potomac District winner and runner-up Chantilly and Annandale.
"We hopes it ends a little better this time," said Chappell, in his third year as coach. "But we can't look down the road. I think the kids thought that may have hurt them last year. We started looking ahead to playing Chantilly and Annandale, that won't happen to us this year."
Chappell says the team is playing very well because many of that same cast of stars, including quarterback John Brosnahan, ends Mike Smith and Eric Colavita, tackle Dean Kontzias and kicker Brian Mowry, are still around.
"The one good thing about having people back is that you basically can review," Chappell said. "We feel we're ahead of last year's team at this point."
In the points scored and allowed departments, Stuart's wide-open offense has produced 112 points compared to 111 at this point last year while the defense has given up only 48, 11 more than they surrendered in '82.
The Raiders still have much-improved Jefferson (3-1) and Marshall (2-2) to reckon with before playing Chantilly (1-3) and Annandale (4-0) but the one-time Northern Virginia power may have enough weapons to avenge last year's losses.
"I feel a lot more confident because we've been together three years now," Chappell said. "As sophomores, the kids were losers. As juniors, we were winners.
This year, they're seniors and they're hungry."
Chappell is particularly pleased with his team's performance because the school doesn't have the male population of many of their neighboring schools.
"Maybe 40 per cent of our student body is foreign born, leaving 60 per cent with 30 per cent of them being female," he said. "We only dress about 46 but our staff has done a very good job. Tom Arehart handles the defense, Stu Singer is the offensive coordinator and Ed Lewis and Roger Herbert are the other assistants. We've all more comfortable than we were a year ago."
Top Individual Performances: Groveton's Eric Henson with 16 of 22 completed passes for 280 yards and four touchdown passes, all to Pete Johnson, in a 27-20 victory over Falls Church; Herndon's Anthony Person with 224 yards on 33 carries and three touchdowns in a 33-21 win at Madison; W.T. Woodson's Jim McLaughlin, who had two interceptions and a key lateral, in a 20-0 shutout at Mount Vernon; Fort Hunt's Willie McCallum with 116 yards rushing and a touchdown in a 21-0 victory over Edison; Lake Braddock's Bill Link with 126 total yards and three touchdowns in a 28-3 triumph over Langley; James Wood's Curt Minnifield with 151 yards and a tochdown in a 14-6 win over Handley; St. Stephen's Dan Tate with 179 yards rushing and fourth touchdowns in a 39-10 win over George Mason.
Early season disappointments have to include West Springfield. A preseason top 10 choice, the Spartans have shown very litte offense and is only 0-3-1. Before scoring against Annandale last week, the Spartans had been shut out two consecutive games.
Another team expected to do well but has had a rough start is Edison (1-3), Since beating winless Washington-Lee (34-0), Edison has lost badly to T.C. Williams, Oakton and Fort Hunt.