There is a chance that All-Met linebacker Navorro Bowman will be back on the field Saturday when Suitland hosts Bowie in a must-win game for both schools that will decide the final playoff berth in the Maryland 4A South Region. Bowman initially injured his right shoulder in the season's second game. He missed two games, returned against Gwynn Park on Oct. 10 and re-injured his shoulder, forcing him to miss the past four games.

"That's going to be his call [whether to return] and his parents' and they'll do what is best for him," Lynch said. "It may not even matter. We may win and still not get in."

Maryland 4A defending champion Suitland (6-3) needs to beat Bowie and have a few other things go its way to qualify for the playoffs. The Rams seemed to be in better shape until Bowie (7-2) defeated Eleanor Roosevelt, 23-18, Saturday.

Lynch said he spent 11/2 hours going over various scenarios to figure out his team's chances of making the playoffs, but "it doesn't matter because you have to take care of yourself and win your own game," he said. "All the other scenarios don't matter if you don't do that."

Injuries Take Toll

The other key game this weekend among the county's public schools has Eleanor Roosevelt at C.H. Flowers on Saturday in a meeting of teams that already have clinched 4A South Region postseason berths. The winner earns the region's second seed and the teams could meet again the following week in the regional semifinals.

Roosevelt (7-2) again will be counting on several reserves because of injuries to top players. Quarterback Nico Scott likely is out at least two more weeks after breaking a bone in his right hand; he needed surgery to repair the injury. Also, running back Mike Avent has missed three games because of a broken thumb, though Coach Rick Houchens hopes he could return this week. Running back Jeff Harrison has been out with a bruised knee.

"It's freak stuff, but it's football so it happens," Houchens said. "Other guys have stepped in and done a pretty good job. I feel good. Our kids are up to the challenge."

Sophomore quarterback Carlos Fields threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score in his first varsity start. . . .

Meantime, in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, DeMatha begins its quest for a third consecutive league title Saturday when it plays Gonzaga at Parkdale High. DeMatha won the regular season meeting, 34-7.