The Numbers

Coach: A.J. Berberian, fifth season

Record: 25-16

Region: 3A South

Past five seasons: 25-26, one playoff appearance

Starters back: Four on offense, four on defense

The Breakdown

Only one team in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference has won at least seven games in each of the past three seasons, and it isn't Westlake or Lackey. Northern has gone 7-3, 8-3 and 8-2 since 2002, yet it has only one playoff appearance to show for it.

If the Patriots are to crack the very tough 3A South Region playoff field, they will need more than just slick running from junior A.J. Brown. He'll need help from senior Joe Stallings, who returns as the Patriots' starting fullback.

Stallings will also anchor the defense at inside linebacker with senior Jimmy Hicks. Senior defensive end Chad Staley is the only other returning starter up front.

Brown is the lone returning starter in the secondary. But with his offensive workload figuring to increase, Northern will probably cut back on his action on defense. That could produce a glaring weak spot for the Patriots. They allowed teams to throw for 11 touchdowns last season, and with little experience there this season, that could be another target for opponents.

The Countdown

Sept. 9

at Westlake, 7

Sept. 16

at Thomas Stone, 7

Sept. 23

Leonardtown, 7

Sept. 29

Huntingtown, 7

Oct. 7

at La Plata, 7

Oct. 14

Chopticon, 7

Oct. 20

at Calvert, 7

Oct. 28

at Great Mills, 7

Nov. 4

Lackey, 7

Nov. 11

Patuxent, 7

The Rewind

2004 Results

Sept. 3

lost to Westlake, 34-10

Sept. 10

won at Huntingtown, 12-0

Sept. 18

won at McDonough, 14-12

Sept. 23

defeated La Plata, 50-0

Oct. 1

lost at Lackey, 35-0

Oct. 8

won at Patuxent, 24-21

Oct. 14

defeated Chopticon, 27-16

Oct. 22

defeated Great Mills, 54-35

Oct. 29

defeated Calvert, 52-7

Nov. 5

won at Leonardtown, 29-7