The Place to Be: Suitland
The game: Bowie at No. 12 Suitland.
Kickoff: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Records: Bulldogs 3-0, 1-0 Prince George's 4A; Rams 2-1, 2-0.
Last season: Suitland, 21-12.
Key Players: Bowie RB Jarrett Randall, PK Greg Colton, SE Warren Winston; Suitland QB Ronitto Rogers, RB Herschel Walker.
Bulldogs' keys to victory: Continue to gain yards on the ground. Bowie's strong running game faces a Suitland defense built around speed, Bulldogs Coach Scott Chadwick said. Bowie's top threat has been Randall, who has rushed for 507 yards in three games, including 110 on 28 carries in the Bulldogs' 21-6 victory over North Carroll on Friday.
Chadwick also said he plans to have Rogers throw more in hopes of getting 6-foot-2 split end Warren Winston involved in the offense. Winston has three catches this season. Randall may also be a pass-catching target out of the backfield.
Bowie's defense has held its opponents to 12 points this season and its special teams have been led by Colton. Colton has displayed a strong leg on kickoffs, routinely pinning opponents inside their 10-yard line, and he's averaging 41 yards per punt.
Bowie went 1-9 last season and is off to its best start since 1992. But Suitland will be the Bulldogs' biggest challenge to date.
Suitland's "program is where we would like ours to be in two years," Chadwick said.
Rams' keys to victory: Control the pace of the game with defense. The Rams' quick defense will have to shut down Randall and the Bulldogs.
"I'm impressed with the speed of their running back," Suitland Coach Nick Lynch said. "We definitely need to control up front, so they don't get the big plays I've seen them get against [other] teams. We don't want them to eat up the clock and control the game."
Suitland has had success with its rushing offense--Walker had 157 yards on 19 carries in the Rams' 40-0 victory over Laurel on Saturday.
"You're going to see both teams getting around the ball with speed. It's going to be very aggressive play," Lynch said.
Suitland is the co-defending champion in Prince George's 4A league. But before Lynch started in 1996, Suitland had one winning season in 18 years. Five years ago, a "big game" between Suitland and Bowie was unthinkable.
"Who would have thought this game would be the game of the week?" Lynch said. "It just shows how far we have come."
Directions: Take the Capital Beltway to Pennsylvania Avenue exit. Take Pennsylvania Avenue toward the District. Continue to Silver Hill Road and turn left. The school is a half-mile on the right.
* THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Central at Lackey, 7
Oxon Hill at Largo, 7:30
Seneca Valley at Friendly, 7:30
Surrattsville at Glen Mills (Pa.), 7:30
St. Mary's-Annapolis at Pallotti, 7:30
McNamara at Gonzaga, 1
Bowie at Suitland, 1:30
Crossland at Potomac, 1:30
Douglass at Fairmont Heights, 1:30
Forestville at DuVal, 1:30
Good Counsel at DeMatha, 1:30
High Point at E. Roosevelt, 1:30
Laurel at Bladensburg, 1:30
Parkdale at Northwestern, 1:30
Southern at Gwynn Park, 1:30
* LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
Beall 40, Pallotti 8
Bowie 21, North Carroll 6
Central 52, Crossland 0
DeMatha 34, Eastern 12
Douglass 42, Linganore 0
DuVal 14, Gwynn Park 6
E. Roosevelt 46, Oxon Hill 12
Fairmont Heights 23, Bladensburg 12
Forestville 47, Phelps 12
McNamara 54, Anacostia 2
Northwestern 18, Largo 15
Parkdale 28, High Point 27
Paul VI 30, Potomac 22
Riverdale Baptist 20,
Victor Cullen 0
Suitland 40, Laurel 0
Fort Hill 20
Thomas Johnson 14, Friendly 6
BY THE NUMBERS
24: Average distance, in yards, of Bowie's three touchdown drives in Friday's 21-6 victory over North Carroll. The Bulldogs' scoring marches started on the North Carroll 20-, 25- and 27-yard lines.
7-86: Points scored and points yielded by Bowie after three weeks last season. The Bulldogs finished 0-10.
78-12: Points scored and points yielded by Bowie through three weeks this season. The Bulldogs are 3-0 entering Saturday's game at No. 12 Suitland.
Other Games of Note
Friendly vs. Seneca Valley, Friday, 7:30 p.m.: Friendly, the defending Maryland 3A champion, has gone winless thanks to a tough early schedule. After losses to High Point (35-0) and defending Virginia AAA Division 6 champion Hylton (30-6), the Patriots lost to Thomas Johnson, 14-6, Saturday. Things don't get easier this week. Seneca Valley is 3-0, beating Einstein, 43-8, on Friday. The Screaming Eagles bring an area-best 29-game winning streak into the matchup.
Bladensburg vs. Laurel, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: For the first time in nearly two years, one of these teams will celebrate a win.
The teams went 0-10 last season and are 0-3 this season, and they struggled against top opponents last week. Bladensburg lost to Fairmont Heights, 23-12; Laurel was blanked by No. 12 Suitland, 40-0.
McNamara at Gonzaga, Saturday, 1 p.m.: The No. 20 Mustangs (3-0) started well, but a game at No. 11 Gonzaga (3-0-1) is sure to provide a test. Last season, McNamara lost by a combined 90-14 to the three best teams on its schedule--Gonzaga, Suitland and DeMatha. The Mustangs already have defeated Suitland (14-6 on Tuesday, completing the suspended season opener) this season, so they could go a long way toward reversing that trend Saturday.
Douglass at Fairmont Heights, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: The fourth of five straight road games for Douglass, but the site of the game hasn't seemed to matter much so far for the Eagles. They're 3-0, outscoring opponents by 101-0. Fairmont Heights (2-1) is the favorite in the county's 2A/1A league and got 128 rushing yards from freshman Nathaniel Queen against Bladensburg Saturday.