After 25 years of watching Maus Collins turn out one great football team after another at Carroll, people have learned not to believe everything the crafty head coach says.
At the beginning of this season, Collins was his usual pessimistic self, trying to invoke sympathy for his small, inexperienced team while pointing to the "big guys" DeMatha, McNamara and Gonzaga had.
Nine weeks later, Carroll is 9-1, ranked fourth in the area and one game away from winning the Metro Conference crown. Of course, that one game is against rival fifth-ranked DeMatha (8-0-1), which is also enjoying a fine year, to decide the league champion.
Carroll has always been tough defensively, this year being no exception. Even Collins said he was surprised that his team blanked McNamara, 34-0, Saturday. Led by linebacker Richard Johnson and Sean Hill, the Lions have allowed only 62 points and have four shutouts.
Richard Dickens has been the chief offensive threat, rushing for more than 1,300 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns. He gained 220 yards and scored on runs of 58, 73 and 30 yards against McNamara.
Marvin Graves stepped in at quarterback when returning all-league signal-caller Orin Solomon hurt his back. Graves has settled in very comfortable at the position. When Solomon came back, Collins decided to use the talented senior at split end, a move that has worked out very well.
"The kids have played very well," Collins said. "Johnson is our big-play man out there and Sean is always around the ball. That McNamara game was a good effort by them."
When Forestville football Coach Eric Knight recently left the field on the short end of a 14-6 score against Fairmont Heights, he told Hornets Coach Ralph Paden he hoped the teams would meet again in the Maryland Class B state playoffs. Knight got his wish.
Fairmont Heights, enjoying its finest season in years, defeated Douglass, 12-0, to finish the regular season 9-1 and earn the second seed in the Class B playoffs. Forestville held off Surrattsville, 14-9, to finish at 8-2 and earn the seventh seed.
Forestville, which was beaten badly last season by eventual state champion Lackey in the Class B state semifinals, will play at Fairmont Heights in a quarterfinal game Saturday at 1.
Other local teams in the playoffs include Damascus (7-3) hosting Walkersville (9-1) in a Class B quarterfinal Saturday at 1; Thomas Stone (9-1) visiting Laurel (9-1) and Fort Hill (9-1) playing Lackey (9-1) at White Plains in Class A quarterfinals Saturday at 1.
Dunbar's girls basketball team is seeking a Christmas tournament to enter. If interested, contact coach Joe Collins or athletic director Clarence Bell at the school . . . Lackey saw its three-year 23-game winning streak snapped by Southern Maryland Athletic Conference rival Thomas Stone, 17-0. Georgetown Prep defeated St. Stephen's, 24-6, to stretch its winning streak to 21 games. . . DeMatha is the highest-scoring team in the area, averaging 36.7 points. Courtland is next at 33.9; Pallotti finished at 30.1. Fairmont Heights has allowed the fewest points, 39 for a 3.9 average. Laurel is allowing 4.1 points, T.C. Williams 4.7, Meade 5.3 and Seneca Valley 5.6. . . .
Pallotti defeated Martin Spaulding, 27-14, to win the Tri-County league and finish with a 10-0 record. Quarterback Sean Rivers capped a marvelous season by throwing his 26th touchdown pass. Kevin Hammersmith, his chief receiver, caught 15 of the scoring tosses . . .
Another Prince George's County private school, Riverdale Baptist, which played an independent schedule, also had a fine season, finishing 9-1. Its lone loss came to Mount Hebron, 14-13. Craig Lewis scored 17 touchdowns for the Crusaders . . .
In Montgomery County, Blair had to be smiling after this football season. The Blazers finished at 4-6, the four victories equaling the school's total the last five seasons.