Even Theodore Roosevelt football coach Jim Tillerson must have wondered how his 1977 team could equal last year's Interhigh champion. The Rough Riders of a year ago finished 12-1, registered five shutouts, allowed a meager six points per game and rolled to their fourth West Division crown in five years.
The third-ranked Rough Riders (4-0) of the present could be even better. Tillerson will have a better line on them as tough league foe Wilson visits today at 3:15.
Although Tillerson says the game is not a revenge contest, he remembers a 20-0 regular season licking his team was given by the Tigers last year.
"Ahhhh, that's been erased and forgotten," said Tillerson, who already had a wreaked vengeance with a last season 12-0 playoff win over Wilson.
It has been 14 quarters since an opponent has scored against Tillerson's "4-4 stack" defense and his diversified offense have averaged more than 250 yards per game.
"I figured by the fourth game of the season, we'd have everything intact. I'm pleased," said Tillerson.
While Roosevelt is picking up momentum with each game, Wilson is coming off a frustrating 13-0 loss to Gar-Field. Wilson has scored only three times in four games and suffered the indignation of being thrown for three safeties last week.
"That's not as bad as it sounds. Two of them were bad snaps on punts, the other was a little trick play that didn't work," said Tiger coach Bernard Hogans. "Well, yeah, it was bad."
With a timid offense because of an inexperienced line, Hogans' heroes have been his defensvie players. Led by linebackers James Williams and Gaines Moon, tackle Toby Williams and a tight secondary (10 interceptions) anchored by Eddie Lawton and Isian Harris, the unit has surrendered only one touchdown.
"The kids have to go both ways now. We used the nonleague games to see if we could prevent that," said Hogans. "But we can't. We have to go with our horses now."
Hogans realizes beating Roosevelt on its home field will not be easy. His defense must chase backs Burnell Irby, Wayne Singleton and William Redman, a sophomore who has emerged as the team's leading rusher (200 yards in two games) and scorer (20 points).
Dwayne Butler has thrown five touchdown passes and has both the arm and the receivers to challenge the Tiger secondary.
In Northern Virginia, seventh-ranked Mount Vernon (5-0) gets its biggest test when it hosts Robinson (4-1) in a nondistrict game at 8.
The Rams have come on, whipping Lake Braddock, 25-6, and Fort Hunt, 14-7. Quarterbacks Mark Krinitsky and Todd Kirtley are the offensive leaders.
Except for a 32-18 triumph over Edison, the Majors have seated out their wins. Phil Lucarelli (four touchdowns) and Sam Zepka (three touchdowns) carry the brunt of the Mount Vernon attack.
In other leading games, McKinley (4-0) travels to Woodbridge (4-0-1), Madison (5-0) plays at Lee (2-3), Stuart (1-4) hosts Jefferson (5-0) and Crossland (3-1) takes on Laurel (0-4) at High Point.