The football coaches and players at Georgetown Prep and Lackey know very little about one another. One Prep player said he had read about Lackey but confessed he thought the school was in Virginia.

Prep, which opened in 1789, is the exclusive private Catholic high school in Rockville. The 380 students, who come from all parts of the world, pay $6,500 in annual tuition ($12,100 if they live on campus). Introduced to the students in 1919, football has been the one sport in which the school has enjoyed immense success the past few decades.

Lackey, on the other hand, is in Indianhead, Md., about 25 miles from the District of Columbia in Charles County. Teams at the Class A school, which was in Class B last year, have won only two state titles (both in 1986) since 1922. It is often referred to as the "little old country school," much to the dismay of its students.

But despite their obvious differences, the schools have shared a common trait the past few years -- winning football games.

Lackey, the defending Class B state champion, has won its first six games this season and owns the metropolitan area's longest winning streak -- 20 games. The 10th-ranked Chargers play at Northern (0-6) tonight at 7:30.

Prep has won 17 straight games over a three-year period. The eighth-ranked Little Hoyas (4-0) host McDonough of Baltimore (4-0) today at 3:30.

Although both Prep Coach Jim Fegan and Lackey Coach Mike Brown try to downplay their latest success, continuing the streak is important to each. Fegan, in his 27th year as head coach, has been especially pleased several of the victories have come against Metro Conference and Northern Virginia schools.

"A streak is a fun thing when you're winning and beating good competition," Fegan said. "When our 36-game streak was broken, we lost to Carroll. We were sorry it ended but we lost to a fine team. I won't be disappointed when it ends as long as we don't lose to a team we should have beaten. Our {Interstate Athletic Conference} schools are far superior to those in the 1960s. The schools are getting the quality kids and they can hold their own with more schools. I feel we can be competitive with most schools but we couldn't take a steady diet of Carroll and DeMatha every year. Numbers would beat us."

The Prep players, while not overconfident, also share their coach's feelings.

"To us the streak is not the biggest thing, we just want to accomplish as much as we can," said Marc Richards, the junior quarterback who has passed for four touchdowns and scored twice. "The recognition helps us and the entire school is behind us."

Except for the playoffs, Lackey, which plays nine Southern Maryland Athletic Conference games, rarely gets the opportunity to face teams in other leagues.

"I wish we had the chance to play a couple of {Maryland Class} AA schools. We just want to prove we are a good team and can play with the so-called city schools," said senior end J.R. Chesley, a cousin of the football-famous Chesley family of the District. "We don't have the athletes we had last year and no one expected us to do as well this season. We've done as well because we've worked harder trying to prove ourselves. The streak is fine and each game we win gives us that much more recognition."

Brown, in his fifth year as head coach, said he has been modestly surprised his team has gotten off to such a good start.

"The first three years, we finished 6-4 and the kids didn't know how to win," Brown said. "After coming from behind to beat McDonough last year, the kids started to believe and we haven't had a letdown since. The coaches didn't have to sell motivation to them anymore.

"This group is not as talented as the '86 group and we've had to work harder in preparation. But winning is contagious. The kids have shown steady improvement and are anxious to prove they can be as good as last year's group. We are a bit concerned about them becoming cocky; we must convince them each game is tough."

Lackey averaged 37 points per game and allowed only eight last season. This year's team, while getting outstanding play from Chesley, linebacker/end Brent Corby and lineman Derrick Cobey, is scoring less than 20 points per game but has given up only 28 points.

Jay Drews has thrown 10 touchdown passes and Rondrell Marshall, Keith Thomas and Stacy King have handled the ball-carrying duties.

"Some people still think of us as 'that country school' but we're doing fine," Corby said. "We don't think we will lose as long as we remain unselfish and play together. Right now, we're doing both."

Richards has been the backbone of Prep's success the past two seasons. The 6-foot, 170-pound junior is developing into a fine passer, according to Fegan. Mike Green has four touchdowns and Tripp Schreves adds an extra dimension with his place kicking (three field goals).