Sneak Peek

* Northern at La Plata

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last season's meeting: Northern, 24-14.

Records: Northern (1-7, 1-6); La Plata (5-3, 3-3).

Last game: Northern beat Leonardtown, 21-6; La Plata beat McDonough, 37-17.

Outlook: The Warriors struggled while playing league leaders Thomas Stone, Patuxent and Westlake in consecutive weeks in the middle of the season, but they have recovered nicely. La Plata has won two in a row, thanks in part to a season-high 238 yards rushing last week by junior RB-DB Titus Green. Northern's rushing attack also worked last week, as senior Donte Hurley piled up 201 yards in the Patriots' first win of the season.

* No. 14 Thomas Stone at Leonardtown

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last season's meeting: Thomas Stone, 43-6.

Records: Thomas Stone (8-0, 6-0); Leonardtown (0-8, 0-6).

Last game: Thomas Stone beat Lackey, 19-6; Leonardtown lost to Northern, 21-6.

Outlook: Thomas Stone remained undefeated with its win over Lackey on Monday--the game was suspended last Friday because of lightning. All-Met RB Marcus Whalen reinjured his sprained left ankle in the win, but he could play Friday. Even if he doesn't, the winless Raiders--led by QB Jason Schacter and WR Tommy Davis--will have their hands full with a Thomas Stone defense that has yielded 18 total points in the past six games.

* Lackey at Chopticon

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last season's meeting: Chopticon, 21-14.

Records: Lackey (2-6, 2-4); Chopticon (4-4, 3-3).

Last game: Lackey lost to Thomas Stone, 19-6; Chopticon beat Great Mills, 22-3.

Outlook: Chopticon is on a roll. The Braves upset Westlake two weeks ago and cruised past Great Mills in easy fashion last week to get to .500. For most of the season, Chopticon's passing game has hurt opponents, but with QB Jamar Mason and WR Jamie Byroads held in check last week, RB David Showalter exploded for a season-high 247 yards rushing on 28 carries. Lackey, which has been shut out three times this season, continues to be plagued by inconsistency on both sides of the ball.

* No. 13 Westlake at Patuxent

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last season's meeting: Did not play.

Records: Westlake (7-1, 5-1); Patuxent (6-2, 4-2).

Last game: Westlake beat Suitland, 12-6; Patuxent lost to Calvert, 21-3.

Outlook: Struggling early in its game with then-No. 9 Suitland, Westlake Coach Dominic Zaccarelli decided to pull starting QB Nick Rose in favor of junior Larry Johnson, who he thought would be better at running the option. It worked. Johnson scored on runs of one and 14 yards in the upset victory. Zaccarelli said he has not decided which quarterback will get the starting nod this week. Patuxent is coming off back-to-back losses to Thomas Stone and Calvert and needs a win to reestablish itself among the conference leaders.

* Great Mills at Walbrook

When: Friday, 2:30 p.m.

Last season's meeting: Did not play.

Records: Great Mills (3-5, 2-5); Walbrook (4-3).

Last game: Great Mills lost to Chopticon, 22-3; Walbrook beat Northwestern of Baltimore, 41-6.

Outlook: After winning three of their first four games, the Hornets have taken a slide. Great Mills has lost four in a row by the combined score of 132-9. To get back on track against Walbrook, the Hornets--led by FB-LB Clifford Dukes and OL-DL Roy Olson--will need to improve on both sides of the ball. Great Mills totaled 64 points in its first four games this season but has scored only nine over the last four.

Game of the Week

Calvert at McDonough

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Last season's meeting: McDonough, 25-6.

Records: Calvert (6-2, 4-2); McDonough (4-4, 4-3).

Last game: Calvert beat Patuxent, 21-3; McDonough lost to La Plata, 37-17.

Each week, Southern Maryland Extra asks key players to preview the key game of the week. This week, Calvert junior Orion Canine and McDonough junior Travis Peters--the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference's top two passers--size up their teams.

Canine on Calvert

* Why Calvert's passing game

succeeds

"Mainly because our offensive line--Justin Cunningham, Chris Waldron, Jimmy Kyer, Robbie Henning and Tony Roberts--gives me a lot of time. That, plus our receivers are a lot more experienced. We have a lot of depth at that position."

Key stat: Senior WRs Treaven Wills and Marshall Cooper have combined for 31 catches for 535 yards and eight touchdowns.

* How opponents stymie Calvert's passing game

"We didn't have a very good game against La Plata because they brought so much pressure. The offensive line has been doing a good job this year of keeping that away from me, but La Plata was blitzing with their outside linebackers, and they were hard to contain."

Key stat: Canine, the SMAC's leading passer, was held under 100 yards passing the first two games of the season but has thrown for more than 100 yards in six consecutive games since.

* Other key factors

"The defensive secondary this week has to perform because we are playing a team with a good quarterback who can throw the ball. And our defensive line needs to get a good pass rush."

Key fact: In the Cavaliers' 21-3 victory over Patuxent, Wills returned a fumble for a touchdown, had two interceptions, caught two touchdown passes and blocked a punt.

* Key to victory:

"Our defense has to play exactly like it did last week against Patuxent. That was the best I've ever seen them play--they were on the ball every play."

Peters on McDonough

* Why McDonough's passing game succeeds

"The offensive line, for the most part, has been giving me time. But our patterns aren't too deep. For us, it's about getting the ball to the receivers quickly and letting them get the yards after the catch."

Key stat: WR Travis Woodland is the area's leading receiver with 29 catches for 436 yards and one touchdown.

* How opponents stymie McDonough's passing game

"When they have brought a lot of pressure to try and disrupt me. La Plata did a good job of that last week. They were bringing extra guys. I didn't have enough time to let the receivers get open before they were getting to me and sacking me."

Key stat: Peters threw for a season-high 170 yards two weeks ago against Leonardtown but was held to a season-low 58 yards last week against La Plata.

* Other key factors

"We have a great field goal kicker. If we can just get down near the red zone, near the 20-yard line, then we're pretty much guaranteed at least three points."

Key stat: Place kicker Mike Davis has connected on a league-best seven field goals this season. His longest kick, a 43-yarder, came against Thomas Stone on Sept. 11.

* Key to victory:

"If they are bringing pressure, I can't be scared of that. I may have to take a hit, but I still have to be able to complete the pass before I go down."