Several teams that have looked good early will have their first big test this week as Whitman visits Sherwood and Paint Branch hosts Northwest.
No. 5 Northwest (2-0)
At Paint Branch (2-0)
Tomorrow, 6:30 p.m.
In Ernie Williams's second season as head coach at Paint Branch, the Panthers have gotten off to a fast start. With his systems already in place, there was far less to learn in the preseason, and Paint Branch has roared out of the gate, outscoring its first two opponents, 55-12.
"It's definitely easier [in the second season] but there are a lot of factors," Williams said. "We had more two-a-days this year, and most of my team was juniors last year, so we had a lot of returning starters."
Matt Parker has led Paint Branch with 323 yards rushing on 39 carries.
The Panthers will have their hands full Friday, however, against defending Montgomery 3A Division champion Northwest. The Jaguars have outscored their opponents, 86-13, and that's without their starters playing full games. Quarterback Ike Whitaker has completed 20 of 34 passes for 371 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions; Tony Nelson has rushed for 198 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries and Darren Brownlee has caught eight passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns.
"I don't know if you can stop them, to be perfectly honest," Williams said. "Offensively, they're easily the most talented team I've seen in a while. They've got players everywhere, and if you try to take one thing away, they hurt you somewhere else. We'd like to slow the game down some because I don't think we can win a shootout with them."
Northwest, according to Coach Randy Trivers, is equally concerned with the Panthers.
"They're as fast and elusive as any team we'll see all year long, and they've got some guys that can get off the ball up front," Trivers said.
Whitman (2-0) at Sherwood (2-0)
Tomorrow, 6:30 p.m.
After posting the best record in school history in 2003, Whitman has gotten its season off to another good start. The Vikings have beaten Watkins Mill and Walter Johnson convincingly, but those teams were a combined 4-16 last season. Their first big test should come tomorrow night at Sherwood.
"With Al Thomas, Terry Changuris, Bob Hampton, et al, you know they're going to be well-coached, you know they're going to be organized, you know they have a winning formula," said Whitman Coach Dean Swink. "Plus they're taking over a program with a great tradition. It's not like they're building from total ash . . . I hope we can match up and play a decent game. I'm worried we could come out and we won't have any answers."
Sherwood, which needed overtime to defeat Springbrook in its opener, rolled to a 42-13 victory over Blair last Friday. The Warriors have one of the county's best passing attacks behind precocious sophomore quarterback Deontay Twyman (22-for-38, 367 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception) and receivers Ben Everett (8 receptions, 102 yards) and Chris Sheahin (10 receptions, 213 yards, 1 touchdown).
Tomorrow's game could set up as a clash of styles, as Whitman boasts a powerful rushing attack. Sophomore battering ram Pat Lazear (6 foot 1, 210 pounds), speedster Matt Johnson and Robert Roman have plenty of holes to choose from behind the Vikings mammoth offensive line -- senior center Alex Cecala (5-9, 205), senior guards Bennett Chompski (5-9, 250) and Danny Roberts (6-2, 225), senior tackles Carl Ehrlich (6-4, 250) and Blake Maynard, (6-5, 255), as well as senior Campbell Martens (6-6, 305) and sophomore Jamie Werner (5-11, 200), who rotate into the lineup.
Whitman has won two of the last three games in the series -- 22-21 in 2001 and 21-17 last season.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase (1-1) at Walter Johnson (1-1)
Tomorrow, 6:30 p.m.
A neighborhood rivalry with more at stake than usual. The Barons and Wildcats won their openers but came back to earth with losses last week.