Three big-time games get top billing in Week 2, as Quince Orchard and Churchill each look to build on their early success; Damascus faces a tough test and Gaithersburg hopes to avoid an 0-2 start as it faces rival Seneca Valley.

Quince Orchard (1-0) at Churchill (1-0)

Tomorrow, 6:30 p.m.

Though it is just the second week of the high school football season, first-year Quince Orchard coach Dave Mencarini knows his team's game against Churchill could have significant playoff implications.

Last year, when Mencarini was an assistant under Fred Kim, the Cougars finished 6-4. Two of their losses came by four points -- including a 7-3 setback against Churchill in the second week of the season -- and one extra victory would have secured a postseason berth.

"We missed the playoffs by one game last year because [Churchill] beat us," Mencarini said. "I think the kids are motivated by that and motivated by the fact that we're both battling for the same thing."

Both teams are trying to return to the postseason after long absences. Quince Orchard, which beat Wootton, 42-9, in its opener, has not reached the playoffs since 1993. Churchill, which knocked off Gaithersburg, 14-13, last Friday, has not been to the postseason since 1995.

Churchill Coach Jamie Collins agrees with Mencarini's assessment of the importance of the game, and said there should be no hangover from the Bulldogs' 14-13 victory over Gaithersburg last Friday.

"That was just one step," Collins said. "They had a long weekend and we came in yesterday and said, 'Hey, Quince Orchard is a good football team.

We have to be ready.' . . . We know if we win this game and start out of the blocks 2-0, we have, if we keep doing the right things and playing well, a really good chance of making the playoffs."

Churchill's schedule is nothing if not front-loaded. Following Quince Orchard are Seneca Valley, neighborhood rival Wootton, Paint Branch and Springbrook. Last year, a 2-4 start derailed the Bulldogs' postseason hopes.

Linganore (0-1) at Damascus (1-0)

Tomorrow, 6:30 p.m.

Always an intense area rivalry, this year's game has added intrigue because it pits last year's Maryland 4A champion (Damascus) against last year's Maryland 3A champion (Linganore).

Linganore won last season's game, 23-14, to snap a six-game losing streak against the Swarmin' Hornets. The last time the Lancers had beaten Damascus was 1995, which was also the last season the Lancers had won a state championship (before last December's win).

The Lancers dropped their first game of the season to Bonita Vista (Calif.), 27-21. But Damascus Coach Dan Makosy is not reading too much into the loss.

"They're going to be tough again," Makosy said. "It's hard to judge how good they are because they played a team from California who we know nothing about. It's a big week for us and them both. If they lose, they're 0-2. I'm glad we have them at home."

Gaithersburg (0-1) at Seneca Valley (1-0)

Tomorrow, 6:30 p.m.

Traditionally one of the best rivalries in the county. The teams have split their last four meetings, with Seneca Valley winning last year, 22-0.

The stakes are high for the Trojans; a loss would make them 0-2 and put them in a hole in their quest for an eighth consecutive playoff berth.

Seneca Valley, which defeated Einstein, 23-6, in its season opener, will look to open 2-0 under first-year coach Fred Kim.

Churchill junior safety Matt Leemhuis intercepts a pass in the fourth quarter to preserve the Bulldogs' victory over Gaithersburg last Friday. The Bulldogs hope a victory against Quince Orchard on Friday can help spur their first playoff berth since 1995.