John Ricca remembers the tough St. John's teams of the 1970s. As a former player at Georgetown Prep, assistant coach at Bullis Prep and fan of the Metro Conference, Ricca has played and coached against St. John's, losing very often.

"Those teams were very, very good. The kids at St. John's today didn't see those teams and can only identify with what the school has done in the past four or five years," said Ricca, in his first year as head coach at St. John's.

"I've inherited some good players and I've been pleased with their early effort. We've made some mistakes and our offense hasn't been as smooth as we would like. But the kids have played with lots of intensity and emotion."

Ricca is hoping his team's enthusiasm will be in evidence today when the Cadets (2-0) play at St. Albans (0-0) at 4 p.m. The last few years, enthusiasm didn't go far, as St. John's won only two games in 1985 and one in 1986.

This season, though, despite a struggling offense, St. John's beat two Baltimore schools: Calvert Hall, 17-8, and Mount St. Joseph's, 8-7.

Tonight in Northern Virginia at 8, second-ranked Courtland (2-0) entertains Woodbridge (2-0) in a Commonwealth District game. Should Courtland, winner of 25 of its past 26 games including a 14-0 victory over Potomac last week, win tonight, it would have defeated its toughest district foes on consecutive weeks.

In a Montgomery AA league contest, eighth-ranked Churchill (2-0) journeys to defending state champion Gaithersburg (1-1) for a 7:30 p.m. game.

Saturday, ninth-ranked McNamara (2-0) entertains H.D. Woodson (1-0) at 1:30. In a doubleheader at Carroll, the sixth-ranked Lions (1-1) meet Anacostia (0-3) at 10:30 and Gonzaga (2-0) faces Cardozo (1-0) at 1:30.