CHOPTICON (6-3) AT GREAT MILLS (3-6)

When: 7 p.m. today

Last week: Chopticon defeated La Plata, 32-12. Great Mills lost to Thomas Stone, 20-19.

Last meeting: Chopticon won, 42-19, on Nov. 5, 2004.

Outlook: A victory would be a milestone for either team. Chopticon has won seven games just once since 1995 -- in 2000, when the Braves went to the 3A semifinals. Before this season, Great Mills had won just five games total since its four-win season in 1999. Recent history, though, will be on the minds of everyone in attendance: Last season's game ended with nine minutes to play after a pair of late hits precipitated a bench-clearing brawl.

HUNTINGTOWN (1-8) AT CALVERT (4-5)

When: 7 p.m. today

Last week: Huntingtown defeated Leonardtown, 35-6. Calvert defeated McDonough, 54-42.

Last meeting: This is their first.

Outlook: Calvert has been looking forward to this game since Huntingtown opened and many Cavaliers transferred. Not that Calvert is starved for motivation -- the Cavaliers arguably have been playing the best ball in Southern Maryland the past three weeks. They handily defeated three teams in the playoff hunt -- Northern, Chopticon and McDonough -- by averaging 39 points per game. In last week's victory, junior quarterback Anthony Lorenzano threw for 348 yards and five touchdowns -- including three of at least 31 yards to Seth Travers. Senior Gerard Muschette, finally healthy, rushed for season-highs of 119 yards and two touchdowns.

LACKEY (7-2) AT MCDONOUGH (6-3)

When: 7 p.m. tomorrow

Last week: Lackey defeated Northern, 14-0. McDonough lost to Calvert, 54-42.

Last meeting: Lackey won, 10-3, on Nov. 13, 2004, in the Maryland 3A South semifinals.

Outlook: Lackey has clinched a 3A South playoff spot, and barring a Westlake or Friendly loss, the Chargers probably will be visiting top seed Gwynn Park in the region semifinals. That makes it possible that Lackey will rest sophomore running back Mike Johnson, who was limping noticeably after last week's victory over Northern. It won't matter who plays for Lackey, though, if McDonough repeats its stunning nine-turnover performance of last week against Calvert. The Rams, however, might be without quarterback Christion Ward, who left last week's loss in the second quarter with an ankle injury and was on crutches the next morning.

LEONARDTOWN (0-9) AT LA PLATA (2-7)

When: 7 p.m. tomorrow

Last week: Leonardtown lost to Huntingtown, 35-6. La Plata lost to Chopticon, 32-12.

Last meeting: La Plata won, 18-3, on Sept. 18, 2004.

Outlook: La Plata, once 2-1, thought it had a good shot to snap its miserable slide against Chopticon, which was coming off three days' rest. But it was the Warriors who were weary in the fourth quarter, allowing three Chopticon touchdowns. La Plata got a nice glimpse into its future last week, however, when freshman Marcus Smoot ran for a season-high 63 yards and two touchdowns.

PATUXENT (5-4) AT NORTHERN (6-3)

When: 7 p.m. tomorrow

Last week: Patuxent defeated Westlake, 15-12. Northern lost to Lackey, 14-0.

Last meeting: Northern won, 24-21, on Oct. 8, 2004.

Outlook: For the third time in four years, Northern can finish with at least seven victories and still miss the playoffs. The Patriots can do no better than tie Lackey in the 3A South Region point standings, and Lackey holds the first tiebreaker, by virtue of last week's result. Patuxent, meanwhile, feels revitalized after last week's victory, in which the Panthers did not put the game on the shoulders of Robert McClain, who failed to reach the end zone for the first time since the season opener. Instead, role players such as senior Kurt Bruce and junior Mike Gallo stepped up big on the defensive line, combining for three sacks and three tackles for loss.

THOMAS STONE (6-3) AT WESTLAKE (8-1)

When: 7 p.m. tomorrow

Last week: Thomas Stone defeated Great Mills, 20-19. Westlake lost to Patuxent, 15-12.

Last meeting: Westlake won, 47-7, on Oct. 15, 2004.

Outlook: Both teams are assured of playoff spots -- Thomas Stone in the 4A East, Westlake in the 3A South -- but that won't take any of the emotion away from this rivalry. Besides, Thomas Stone is still flying high after its last-minute comeback victory over Great Mills clinched its postseason berth. Quarterback David Brunson and running back Tanner Mills combined on two fourth-down conversions on the Cougars' final drive, which culminated in a 6-yard scoring run by Brunson -- his third of the game -- with 12 seconds left. A season's worth of injuries, meantime, finally caught up to Westlake. Even though the Wolverines have more depth of talent than any other SMAC team, Westlake has not been able to run its first team together since September. The Wolverines need to develop some continuity this week before the playoffs.

-- ALAN GOLDENBACH