As with most coaches, Bethesda-Chevy Chase's John Zehner says he doesn't look any farther than the next game on the schedule. As for his players, sometimes that's not always the case. So it becomes Zehner's job to redirect their focus to the task at hand.

Still, it's hard to ignore that the schedule sets up favorably for the Barons (2-0). Of their 10 opponents this season, only one -- Seneca Valley -- made the playoffs last year, and no other opponent finished better than 6-4.

And other than Seneca Valley, none has made the playoffs since 2000. This week, Bethesda-Chevy Chase plays Kennedy, which finished 0-10 last year and has started 0-2 this season.

"The guys look at the schedule all the time, and we kind of tell them not to," Zehner said. "They always say a team's either sorry or the greatest team ever. We have to remind them that we have to play everybody and that last year's record doesn't reflect anything. Look at us. People I'm sure didn't think we were going to be that good."

The Barons survived a wild affair to pull out a 34-32 victory over Watkins Mill on Friday. Staked to a 34-6 lead midway through the second quarter, B-CC allowed four unanswered touchdowns by the end of the third quarter.

Nevertheless, Zehner said he was impressed with his team's ability to compose itself in the fourth quarter, in which the Barons reestablished their ground game behind Coffi Amouzou (20 carries, 109 yards) and turned back Watkins Mill drives twice during the final four minutes.

"All of a sudden, going into the fourth it's 34-32 and you go, 'What the heck happened?' " Zehner said. "From there we just went back to basics and ran the ball a little more. The defense came through in the end. We were worried. Everything seemed to be going their way, and the defense made a couple of nice stops."

Measuring Up

Second-ranked Damascus has a chance to gauge the progress of its restructured backfield when it heads to No. 15 Linganore at 7 p.m. tomorrow.

Damascus has moved away from the workhorse role that graduated All-Met Matt Reidy assumed over the previous two seasons, and senior running backs Steven Anderson and Kyle Hogan have split the rushing duties almost evenly this season. The Hornets (2-0) have rushed for more than 240 yards per game.

Talented junior Tommy Cosgrove has spelled the other two backs and should see his role increase as the season moves forward.

"Believe me, they all want to touch the football," Hornets Coach Dan Makosy said. "But I tell them coming in, I don't care who has how many yards. What I do is rotate them in. It depends on what the defense is running and the coaches kind of look at the situation."

The Hornets, who defeated Linganore, 29-22, last season, will face a team that relies on similar principles -- an effective run game and stout defense -- to net similar results. Jon Sweadner has rushed for 260 yards on 46 carries for the Lancers (2-0), who defeated Francis Scott Key, 12-9, on Friday night.

"Linganore's always been a very good defensive team," Makosy said. The Lancers like to run the ball and control the clock. "But when they have to, they can throw everything but the kitchen sink at you."

Another Test for Prep

Georgetown Prep hosts Gilman at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in a game that looks considerably more intriguing than it may have before the season. With impressive wins over Fork Union Military Academy, Gonzaga and then-No. 8 Good Counsel to open up the season, the No. 20 Little Hoyas jumped into The Post's Top 20 for the first time this year.

Gilman, the top-ranked team in the Baltimore area, represents Prep's biggest test to date. Gilman knocked off fifth-ranked DeMatha, 22-19, when the teams met Sept. 9.

Kyle Hogan is one of Damascus's trio of talented running backs. They'll face Linganore tomorrow.