Starring: QB Philip Budenbender, RB-CB Mike Finamore, RB-LB Marcus Whalen

Directed By: Richard Callahan (fourth season)

WHAT'S THE PLOT? Whalen, a returning All-Met, combines with Finamore and Marcus Warr to form a dangerous -- and game-altering -- backfield.

Whalen was named the SMAC's most outstanding player last season for his dominant running style. He led the league with 1,934 yards rushing on 170 carries (11.4 yards per carry, 193.4 yards per game) and 22 touchdowns -- 19 rushing, two recovering blocked punts and one on a kickoff return against Northern. This season, though every team will be gunning for the highly recruited back, Whalen has set even higher goals for himself. The senior stands just over 6 feet tall and weighs 208 pounds, about 10 pounds heavier than he was last year. The Cougars did lose all-SMAC lineman Matt Smith, but think they still have the tools up front to open holes for Whalen and the team's other running backs: Finamore and Warr. The team's top returning linemen are seniors Robert Pepper (6-1, 195) and Mike Farland (5-10, 200). Expected to start at quarterback is junior Budenbender (5-11, 160), who played last year when starter Nick Finn was injured. But Callahan also has had Finamore take snaps this preseason, and said he will go with whichever player is going to be the most productive at the quarterback spot -- which, in Thomas Stone's offense, serves almost as a third running back. The defense will field many of the same players as the starting offense, including Whalen at linebacker and Finamore at cornerback. Farland will line up opposite Whalen at linebacker in the spot vacated by former all-SMAC selection Ron Luczak.

1999 Show Times

Sept. 3 at Chopticon 7:30

Sept. 11 McDONOUGH 7:30

Sept. 17 at Northern 7:30

Sept. 24 at La Plata 7:30

Oct. 1 GREAT MILLS 7:30

Oct. 15 PATUXENT 7:3:30

Oct. 22 LACKEY 7:30

Oct. 29 at Leonardtown 7:30

Nov. 5 at Westlake 7:30

1998 in Review

Last Year's Record: 7-3 (7-2, second in SMAC)

Game-by-Game Results

32 Potomac 34

33 Lackey 30

20 Chopticon 21

41 Great Mills 6

20 Northern 13

6 La Plata 0

29 Calvert 7

21 McDonough 0

43 Leonardtown 6

18 Westlake 21