For the past five years, Bill McGregor has been a regular at DeMatha High School basketball practices. McGregor, in his sixth season as the school's head football coach, goes to tell the athletes who are not quite good enough for the renowned basketball team that they have a chance to make major contributions on the football field.

"I'm very happy Morgan {Wootten} has such a good basketball program. His program attracts a lot of good athletes," McGregor said. "But because there are so many good basketball players, a number of kids who come here to play basketball end up playing football. And many of them turn out to be very fine football players."

So good that McGregor's record is 53-5, including a 7-0 mark this year, and his teams have won three Metro Conference championships. More than 30 of his players have been awarded Division I scholarships and this year's team has five highly recruited players.

The Stags, ranked third this week, seek their 18th consecutive victory Saturday when they play at St. John's (5-1) in a conference game starting at 1:30.

McGregor said he has tried to de-emphasize the winning streak because his team will play 12th-ranked McNamara (6-1) and sixth-ranked Carroll (6-1) in its remaining games.

"I'm pretty pleased with the kids thus far," McGregor said. "Last year's team {which went 10-0} had the kids with the celebrity status. This year's team is full of no-names. We expected to be pretty good, but in the next few weeks, we'll see just how good we are."

The first seven weeks have been a breeze for the Stags. Except for one game in which they trailed by ten points at halftime, they really have not been tested.

They are the area's highest-scoring team, averaging 40.8 points per game. The offensive line -- anchored by 6-foot-3, 240-pound center Terrill Jones and 6-2, 280-pound Sonny Lowe -- has opened holes for 5-10, 175-pound Dwayne Redd (756 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns) and 5-10, 205-pound Phil Bryant (481 yards, five touchdowns).

Tracy Bergan, the starting point guard on the basketball team, has been consistent at quarterback, completing better than 60 percent of his passes and throwing for 10 touchdowns.

The defense has allowed only 59 points as linemen Don Davis, Garland Hawkins and Chris Beyers and linebackers Evan Marmott, Nick Uzelac (son of Navy Coach Elliot Uzelac) and Bubba Chroninger have made the big plays.

"We're still giving up too many yards," McGregor said. "Our offense has shown a lot of progress, we're scoring points. A lot of things make up the right chemistry for a good team and, while I don't think we're close to any dynasty, we've got a good program."

High School Notes:

Key games tonight include ninth-ranked Lackey (7-0) seeking its 22nd straight win, against McDonough (5-2) in a SMAC game at White Plains at 7:30. Saturday, top-ranked T.C. Williams (7-0, 2-0 in the district) seeks its 23rd straight Northern District victory when it hosts 18th-ranked Robinson (5-1, 2-0) at 1.