Carroll, St. John's; St. John's, Carroll. Its the same old story in Metro Conference football. The two arch rivals save up all their energies to battle one another for the title. At least, that's been the pattern nine of the last 10 years.

Unless De Matha, which has fielded excellent teams the last two years only to come up short, is ready to graduate, look for the same old story again.

All-Met defensive end David Thomas is back to lead Caroll. The Lions (10-0) who have a 15-game, two-year victory streak, will depend on the hard-hitting Thomas, nose guard Mike Branch and linebacker DeCarso Ware to keep people out of the end zone.

Thomas, who also gained more than 1,000 yards, and scored 10 touchdowns last year, will again play fullback. Quarterback Pete Muldoon (completed five passes, four for touchdowns) will handle the offense. A few linemen may assure Carroll of a third consecutive title.

If Carroll stumbles over a blade of grass, St. John's (5-5) will come running. A .500 season didn't do anything but make the Cadets angry. Returning tackles Darrl Smith and Andy Nowatny and guards Dan Hillegas and Jeff Ricker are the muscle up front and Ray Daly, Mark Covington, Bill Burnett and David Waldron are the horses in the back. St. John's should have no problem scoring.

De Matha (9-1) will come out of the gate flying. Speed and quickness will be the Stags' forte, with burners Derek Frazier and Derek Carter carrying the ball much of the time. All-Met end/linebacker Ricky Gray is a one-man gang. Add the three and De Matha could be champion.

Good Counsel (7-3) will depend on experienced offensive linesmen Steve Noyes, Mark Conlon and Dan Balwin to keep head-hunting defenses from dismantling the Falcon quarterback and running backs, all still to be determined, in addition to those vacancies, Coach Andy Guida is seeking some defensive help to complement nose guard Lester Wickling and line backer Sean Hickey.

McNamara (1-9) returns 11 starters from last year. But Coach Frank Neitzey considers every player back a vet since last year's scores allowed everyone to play. Rob Disbennett, the quarterback, could lead McNamara to two victories if he stays alive.

The Interstate Atheletic Conference will be one of the best-balanced leagues in the area. Defending league champion St. Stephen's, Landon, St. Albans and Episcopal are considered legitimate contenders with Friends and Bullis playing the role of dark horses.

Depth is a problem for all six of the small private schools and all the coaches are crying the same tale of woe. St. Stephen's (9-0) Coal Al (Sleepy) Thompson says his squad is one of the "most physical teams he's ever had" but is lacking experience.

The defensive unit, anchored by tackles Dick Hazel, Hassan Rifaat and Bruce Witucki and end Jack Fannon, will have to carry the load until the offense catches up. All of Thompson's firepower in the backfield has gone. With very little speed in the potential ball-carriers, this could spell disaster.

The one team that could waltz to the crown in St. Albans (7-2), All-IAC tailback/defensive back Carl Castmano will be in the backfield for the fourth year. The slick senior surpassed the 1,000-yard mark rushing last year and scored seven times. Other all-league performers are center Rich Mace, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound blocking machine, and linebacker Mike Maloney. If the three seniors remain healthy, look for the Bears to be singing at the end of the season.

"Last year was the first time in the last five seasons we haven't been involved in the IAC title race," said Landon Coach Lowell Davis. "It's no fun not being included."

Landon's (5-4) players may have improved enough to give some teams trouble. Linebackers Sean Falvey and John Saunders, end Mark Altemus, tailback Mark Peterson and all-IAC nose guard/center Jon Strain will lead the charge.

Episcopal (6-3) may be the league's sleeping giant. The defense, led by ends Jim Huddleston and Lucas Fleming, linebacker John Kimbrough and secondary specialists Wil Wilshire and Jamie Welford will earn awards for service beyond the call of duty until some semblance of an offense appears.

Bullis (3-6) may have been the best first-half team in the area last year. It was the second half that caused the problems. All-IAC Aaron Jackson, a senior end and linebacker at 6-4, 220, will be the key to the Bullis season. If Jackson gets some help from guards Tom Haley and Dave Johnstown, running back Steve Mertz and safety Nick Oakrack, Bullis will win some games.

Friends (3-5-1) is looking for someone to carry the football and catch it. Guards Paul Sporn and Andrew Szanton will block and Ed Miegs may have time to throw the ball.

Pallotti (6-4), winner of the Virginia-Maryland Independent Conference three of the four years it has been in existence, may win another. Only 20 players may dress for the games but most of them are quality performers. Tackles Glen Moser and Bob Colgan, center Steve Tyler, linebacker Dan Florenzo and quarterback/safety Gary Kastner should be strong enough to handle the conference's remaining four teams.

Manassas Park (7-3) lost most of its offensive strength and will have to rely on a rubber-band defense to get by. Linemen Alan Twombley, Larry Fones and Jeff Kling will play both ways to make up for the lack of depth.

Quantico (3-4-1) will be as "green as cucumbers," according to Coach Gene Leonard. Only tackle Rick Whiting is back.

Colonial Beach (7-3) finished strong last year and could be the most over looked team in the league.

Riverdale Baptist (1-10) has nowhere to go but up. Defensive ends Randy Groves and Joe Hayes and defensive back Jeff Hamilton are among the returnees. They could produce a few more victories.

As usual, Georgetown Prep (7-2) is the class of the independent schools. Receivers Joe Stanton and Joe Peabody are hopeful that returning quarterback Mike Boland gets enough time to get the ball to them. They have reason to wonder since Prep is thin on blockers. Defensive back Pete Dunne and linebackers Jerry Clark and Lal Hennigan will also be looking for some help up front. So far, only tackle Matt Bathon is there to plug the holes.

O'Connell (3-5) has an experienced quarterback in Brian Drury but where are the running backs? Only defensive end Mike Albritton and linebacker Anthony Bruno are back on defense.

Gonzaga (3-7) finally got tired of taking those whippings in the Metro Conference and went independent. The schedule is better but victories still may be hard to come by. Quarterback Jeff Wynn returns along with cornerback Craig Dahlman and tailback Chris McMahon. Someone must be found to play defense.

Woodberry Forest (8-1) lost top running back Mark Covington to St. John's but Steve Harding still has end Chip Garner to throw to. Bart Farlinhold is solid at safety.

Ireton (3-6-1) has won only nine games the last four years. Help is needed on both offense and defense if it is going to better its three-win total of '78.

Model (6-4) has improved each season. This year should be no different. CAPTION: Picture 1, Linebacker DeCarso Ware; Picture 2, Guard Mike Branch; Picture 3, defensive end David Thomas of Carroll. Photos by Margaret Thomas -- The Washington Post free agent because I wasn't happy here and wanted to sign another team. I just did it to make sure I got what I was worth, no matter what that is.

"I think the offer the Bullets made me is a fair one, but if the other clubs offer substantially more . . . "

Grevey added that none of the other clubs interested in his services has made a firm offer yet, but he anticipates that happening soon.

If Grevey, who averaged 15.5 points a game in each of the last two seasons, does sign with another team, the Bullets will receive compensation for him.

Bob Ferry, general manager of the Bullets, said before the team left on its tour to China that no team had contacted him about what compensation he would accept for it signing Grevey.

The Bullets dipped into the free-agent market this offseason when they signed playmaking guard Kevin Porter. They gave Porter's old team, Detroit, two No. 1 draft choices as compensation. The Bullets also lost guard Tom Henderson to Houston as a free agent and received a No. 1 draft choice in return as compensation.

Bullet rookies are scheduled to report for physicals Sept. 13 and the veterans are due Sept. 14. Sept. 17 is the first official day of practice for the veterans, and Grevey said he does not want to miss any part of camp no matter what team signs him.

The Bullets have three shooting guards on their roster in Grevey, Phil Chenier and Roger Phegley, and there probably is room for only two of them. The ideal thing to do, Ferry has indicated, is to bring all three to camp and let them compete for the starting job.

Grevey looks at it differently.

"I feel very comfortable with my position," he said. "I know I'd be a starter. They wouldn't be offering me the money they are if they were going to sit me on the bench."

Grevey is being represented by LaRue Harcourt, a college professor from California State-Fullerton. Harcourt has said all along, "Our No. 1 choice is the Bullets.

"I do think Kevin's value has increased substantially with the introduction of the three-point field goals this season and that's one reason we are taking our time."