With its 35-20 victory over Eleanor Roosevelt, C.H. Flowers took a significant step toward establishing itself as one of the county's top programs. In just its fourth season of varsity competition, the Jaguars now have beaten every team in the Prince George's 4A league. After making its first playoff appearance last season, Flowers seems likely to return to the postseason.
The Springdale school has a fleet of talented running backs, with Brandon McRae, Ramond Dixon and Jimmy McClam leading a group that totaled 392 yards against Roosevelt. It has big linemen and its inexperienced defense has played well. And Evan McCullough has impressed other coaches in the league with his ability to run the offense smoothly in his first season starting at quarterback.
"People might give us respect," Dixon said. "But there still might be excuses, that we won because of something. But we're going to get on with our season."
The Jaguars' season seems likely to include a few more routs before another close game. Their next three opponents are a combined 1-11. And if Flowers wins those games, a showdown at undefeated Suitland looms on Oct. 23, a game that seems likely to decide the Prince George's 4A league title and home field advantage in the playoffs.
Struggling to Score
It has been a rough start to the season for Laurel and Central, both of which have yet to score this season. Laurel has been outscored, 142-0, and Central, 187-0.
"I think there is frustration with [being scoreless] and anxiety over it," Laurel Coach Mike Rudden said.
Rudden said his team has been beset by injuries, which has forced him to play several young and inexperienced players against a difficult schedule; the Spartans' four opponents so far are a combined 13-3.
"I hope we'll be a heck of a lot better next year because the experience we're gaining this year is going to be invaluable if we can stay the course," Rudden said. "I've never been in a position like this in all my years of coaching."
Central's schedule has been difficult, too, with games already against Prince George's 3A/2A powers Potomac and Gwynn Park. The Falcons play Saturday at Forestville, and Laurel hosts Northwestern.
Nobody started the season with tougher games than Friendly, which opened with losses to Maryland 3A semifinalist Gwynn Park and Maryland 2A finalist Potomac. The Patriots started to turn things around with a rout of Central, but this past Friday's 26-7 victory over Forestville is the kind of result that should open eyes.
Sophomore quarterback Joe Haden completed 13 of 20 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns, all to classmate Vincent Hill.
"We still can't breathe that much," said Friendly Coach George Earley, whose team plays at upstart Crossland on Saturday. "We still have a young team. We have to make sure they stay focused on what they're doing."
What Friendly does is pass the ball, with Haden in his second season as a starter and receivers like Hill impressing.
"We pass more than anybody," Earley said. "Our running game is not where we want it. We have to take what's best for us and right now, that's throwing the ball."
It has been a somewhat frustrating season for Pallotti standout wide receiver Tim Jennings, who strained ligaments in his right knee in the preseason and is still working his way back to full strength.
Although Jennings has only five catches for 75 yards in Pallotti's 5-0 start, he has notched one more school record, kicking a 40-yard field goal just before halftime in a 59-0 victory over Baltimore Lutheran.
"It was his first-ever attempt," Pallotti Coach Jack Mead said. "We're just trying to get him going because he's struggling so much this year with his knee. He's also our punter. We don't have him kicking off, but he can kick it into the end zone if he wants to.
"His knee is fine. He can do just about everything. But he's just not back to full speed yet. So it's frustrating. If it was a short pass, Timmy could always catch it and go the distance. He made a living with the fades. And it's just not quite there yet. I know it's frustrating for him. That's why we did a field goal, to give him something and he delivered."
Home Away From Home
Workers completed installation of new bleachers in Fairmont Heights' stadium Friday, but the Hornets might want to move the rest of their games to Largo, where they are 2-0 this season, including a 6-0 victory over Bladensburg in triple overtime Friday.
"It's funny," Fairmont Coach Stefan Gansert said. "We had four straight home games [scheduled to start the season] and we only played one at home."
Because of the uncompleted bleacher project, Fairmont moved two games to Largo and one to Central. Its game against Bladensburg started nearly 11/2 hours late because the Hornets had to wait for a bus to take them to Largo. But the move to Largo proved beneficial because when the game stretched into multiple overtimes, school officials were able to turn on the stadium lights.
Fairmont finally won on a one-yard touchdown run by Greg Bailey. Safety Patrick Bennett had 19 tackles and two sacks.