The game: Friendly at Surrattsville.
Kickoff: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Records: Patriots 0-4; Hornets 2-2.
Last season: Friendly 28, Surrattsville 6.
Key players: Friendly LB Brandon Crumpler, T Tiant Thomas, QB Moriah Anderson, WR Ed Anderson; Surrattsville TB-S Jerod Void, WR-S Richard Burns, NG Adrien Choice, QB Antwan Frazier.
Patriots' key to victory: Jump-start the offense. After graduating much of last season's Maryland 3A championship team, Friendly has scored just 12 points this season. Quarterback Moriah Anderson has struggled. He has improved his short passing game but still has problems throwing downfield. Coach George Earley has yet to find a replacement for standout running back Bobby Lane, who is attending prep school at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy.
The Patriots' offensive struggles have forced the coaching staff to simplify the offense, making it somewhat predictable. Ed Anderson, who has excellent speed, has yet to show his ability to make the big play. Wide receiver Julius Brown leads the team in receiving.
Also, Friendly must hold on to the ball--it lost six fumbles in a 42-0 loss to The Post's top-ranked team, Seneca Valley, on Friday--and capitalize on opportunities. Last week, the Patriots only recovered one of Seneca Valley's five fumbles.
Thomas and WR-RB-LB Rod Bryant did not practice last week because of ankle injuries. Still, this is a winnable game. After a difficult early-season schedule that included a 30-6 loss to No. 2 Hylton, Friendly can only aim for a Prince George's 3A title and a winning season.
Hornets' key to victory: Play with confidence and discipline. After taking a 6-0 lead after the first quarter against Glen Mills (Pa.) on Friday, the Hornets yielded 30 points in the second quarter en route to a 55-6 loss. Defensive end Avery Thompson's fumble return provided Surrattsville's only touchdown.
"Either they woke up or our guys just lost focus," Surrattsville first-year coach Byron Stewart said. "We couldn't stop the bleeding and never could recover from it."
Burns and Void provide the Hornets with speed and playmaking ability. Burns returned two fumbles for touchdowns for a stunning 24-20 victory at Fort Hill of Cumberland, Md., two weeks ago. Stewart said he will become more involved in his team's play-calling this week. That likely will include several carries for Void; Surrattsville is 2-0 when he rushes for at least 100 yards. Defensively, Choice has made 10 tackles in each of the Hornets' four games.
Stewart was an assistant coach at Friendly last season and said he is looking forward to facing some of his former players and fellow coaches. Surrattsville Principal Bill Barnes is a former assistant principal at Friendly.
"Playing the schedule they've got, I know they're looking for a victory," Stewart said. "This is going to be for a bragging things kind of thing. It is going to be very emotional. Those guys are figuring they've played Seneca Valley, Hylton and High Point, and now they're coming into their league, so to speak."
Directions: Take the Beltway to Branch Ave. (Route 5) south. Follow approximately three miles to Woodyard Road exit. At bottom of ramp, turn right. School is approximately 1.5 miles on the left, entrance is just past the post office.
-- Josh Barr
BY THE NUMBERS
Offensive touchdowns scored by Surrattsville in its two losses.
Points scored by Friendly last season, an average of 32.6 per game. Through four games this season, the Patriots have scored 12, or three points per game.
Surrattsville's record since the start of the 1997 season. The Hornets were 5-5 in 1997, 5-5 in 1998 and 2-2 this year.
Other Games of Note
McNamara at Paul VI, Friday, 7:30 p.m.: With victories in their opening three games, the Mustangs appeared poised to make this a memorable season. Then came a 27-0 loss to No. 11 Gonzaga last week, making this week's game at Paul VI pivotal. The Panthers, who played Gonzaga to a scoreless tie earlier in the season, have established themselves as one of the top teams in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. A McNamara victory would slow Paul VI's rise and help the Mustangs solidify their spot among the conference's top four teams--which is key, because the top four earn berths in the WCAC's postseason.
Parkdale at Oxon Hill, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: After struggling to open the season (edging DuVal, 26-25, then losing to Largo, 20-6), the Panthers appear to be hitting their stride. Led by tailback Jason Crawford, they have beaten fellow Prince George's 4A contenders High Point and Northwestern. A victory over Oxon Hill would establish Parkdale as one of the teams to beat in the league and possibly put them in position for a run at their first playoff berth since 1989.
Douglass at Potomac, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: A must-win game for two 3-1 teams, particularly Douglass, which missed the playoffs last season despite a 9-1 record. Potomac gave Coach Eric Knight his 100th career victory last week (he's 100-54 in 15 seasons), but Knight was able to avoid a celebratory dousing from his players.
"They tried to get me," he said. "But they didn't get a good shot because I heard the ice coming."
Bladensburg at Central, 1:30 p.m.: The Mustangs earned their first victory since 1997 last week, edging winless Laurel, 8-6, on Kevin Pharr's one-yard touchdown run with six seconds left. But making it two in a row will be difficult. Central (4-0) is off to what is believed to be its best start since the Capitol Heights school opened in 1959. Falcons running back Amir Davis did not play in last week's 24-22 victory at Lackey because of a sprained ankle, but he is expected to play against the Mustangs.
* THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Spingarn at Riverdale Bapt., 7
Bowie at High Point, 7:30
Fairfield (Pa.) at Pallotti, 7:30
Gwynn Pk. at Lnrdtown., 7:30
McNamara at Paul VI, 7:30
Bladensburg at Central, 1:30
Douglass at Potomac, 1:30
DuVal at Fairmont Hgts., 1:30
E. Roosevelt at Laurel, 1:30
Friendly at Surrattsville, 1:30
Largo at Suitland, 1:30
Northwstrn. at Crossland, 1:30
Parkdale at Oxon Hill, 1:30
V. Cullen at Forestville, 1:30
St. John's at DeMatha, 1:30
* LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
Bladensburg 8, Laurel 6
Central 24, Lackey 22
Coolidge 20, Riverdale Bapt. 7
DeMatha 40, Good Counsel 7
DuVal 13, Forestville 9
E. Roosevelt 45, High Point 9
Fairmont Hgts. 18, Douglass 8
Glen Mills (Pa.) 55, Surrattsville 6
Gonzaga 27, McNamara 0
Gwynn Park 26, Southern 0
Largo 14, Oxon Hill 3
Parkdale 9, Northwestern 0
Potomac 20, Crossland 0
Seneca Valley 42, Friendly 0
Suitland 14, Bowie 8
St. Mary's 34, Pallotti 15
CAPTION: Central's Daron Seigler (15 carries, 140 yards, one touchdown) turns the corner ahead of Lackey's Garrett Freeman during the Falcons' 24-22 victory on Friday. The Capitol Heights school, which improved to 4-0, hosts Bladensburg Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The Mustangs are 1-3.