Chopticon at La Plata

When: 7 p.m. tomorrow

Last year's records: Chopticon, 4-5 overall, 4-5 SMAC. La Plata, 1-9, 1-8.

Last meeting: Chopticon won, 28-0, on Sept. 5.

Outlook: La Plata has had three strong weeks of practice, but it won't get to put its best foot forward right away. Senior quarterback B.J. Conley will miss the game because of lingering pain from dental work this week, which means both teams will be working with new quarterbacks.

But Chopticon sophomore Justin McVerry will also have fellow varsity rookies, sophomore running backs Anthony Fenwick and Darren Showalter, with him in the backfield.

No. 9 Lackey at Calvert

When: 7 p.m. tomorrow

Last year's records: Lackey, 12-2, 8-1, lost to Linganore in Maryland 3A championship game. Calvert, 4-6, 4-6.

Last meeting: Lackey won, 28-6, on Sept. 5.

Outlook: Poor Calvert. The Cavaliers have had a tough offseason -- losing a large chunk of its program to Huntingtown, struggling to replace that depth and welcoming a mostly new coaching staff. Now, they open against the defending SMAC champions, who might be stronger this season. That, however, is the best tactic for challenging Lackey this season -- exploit any potential overconfidence in the Chargers.


At Thomas Stone

When: 7 p.m. tomorrow

Last year's records: Leonardtown, 2-8, 2-7; Thomas Stone, 9-3, 7-2, lost to Broadneck in Maryland 4A East final.

Last meeting: Thomas Stone won, 35-0, on Sept. 6.

Outlook: Nearly an entirely new Thomas Stone lineup will break itself in against an opponent whom the Cougars have outscored 145-10 the past three meetings.

The position to concentrate on will be running back. None of Thomas Stone's six backs entered practice with an advantage over the others. Leonardtown's new ball-control offense will try to keep the Cougars' carries to a minimum.


At Great Mills

When: 7 p.m. tomorrow

Last year's records: McDonough, 3-7, 3-6; Great Mills, 0-10, 0-9.

Last meeting: McDonough won, 23-0, on Sept. 5.

Outlook: Motivational speakers need not attend these teams' practices. No SMAC teams are more enthusiastic about putting last season's forgettable records behind them. With starters returning at 17 and 15 positions, respectively, McDonough and Great Mills are the two most experienced teams in the SMAC.

Westlake at Northern

When: 7 p.m. tomorrow

Last year's records: Westlake, 10-2, 8-1, lost to Lackey in Maryland 3A South final; Northern, 8-3, 7-2, lost to Lackey in 3A South semifinal.

Last meeting: Westlake won, 41-12, on Sept. 5.

Outlook: Both teams have experience in different areas -- Westlake's strength is in its offensive skill positions, and Northern's is in its offensive line -- so it will be interesting to see which unit can take advantage.

The Patriots' offensive line, led by three-year starter Cory Gallihugh, will have its hands full with Westlake's defensive line and senior tackle Derrell Jones. If the Patriots can open some holes, sophomore running back A.J. Brown and senior quarterback Andrew Athens can control the clock.

-- Alan Goldenbach

Leonardtown's Josh Thompson will lead the Raiders against a heavily revamped Thomas Stone lineup tomorrow.