NICE COMEBACK: Phelps, which dropped its athletic program because of lack of interest after the 1982-83 school year, returned with a vengeance Friday night. The Panthers, under Coach Steve Powell, fashioned a 20-0 victory over Riverdale Baptist in the season opener for both teams. Phelps won its last football title of any kind in 1964. No one could remember the last time the school had a shutout.

"This game was a big confidence-builder for us," Powell said. "We did well for the first time. We had a reputation of losing but now the monster is dead. We've come a long way."

SUCCESSFUL DEBUTS: Replacing coaches who have enjoyed long, successful careers can be tough in the early going, but Dick Adams, Dick Knode and Dale Castro couldn't have asked for better starts. Adams, who took over for Bob Hardage at Annandale, saw running back James Milliner rush for a school record 249 yards as the Atoms outlasted visiting Lake Braddock, 34-26. Knode, a longtime assistant to Jim Crawford at Friendly, did his mentor proud as the visiting Patriots stymied tough Annapolis, 21-0. Castro, who replaced John Voight after 31 years, also enjoyed his ride home Friday night as High Point held on to stop Severna Park, 19-13.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: Anne Arundel County's newest school, North County, a consolidation of Andover and Brooklyn Park, opened last week with a dramatic 6-3 triumph over host Meade. Trailing by 3-0 with just less than four minutes left in the game, North County nose guard Ho Kim fell on a Meade fumble at its 20-yard line. Several plays later, Vernon Dawson scored from a yard out and North County held on to win.

Coach Chuck Markiewicz said he wasn't surprised at his team's impressive showing. "We do have a first-year team mentality. We went over there to win and I thought we played very well," said Markiewicz, former coach at Meade. "I set the game up before I left Meade. I thought it would be good to play them. Maybe other people were surprised. I know we got our players' attention."

PALLOTTI STREAK CONTINUES: Perhaps the best-kept secret among area high schools is Pallotti. The small private school in Laurel stretched its three-year winning streak to 15 games, longest in the metropolitan area. Counting a tie, the Panthers have gone 19 games without a loss. In the last six years, Pallotti has a 53-5-2 record and has won 38 of its last 40. First-year coach Warren Hall got his first victory Saturday as his team shut out Hammond, 19-0, at Bowie State.

Many key players the past four years, including quarterback Craig Ray, are gone and this season's schedule is a bit tougher. Pallotti faces improved Bullis, Watkins Mill, Landon, Paul VI and Damascus as it attempts to keep alive the streak.

West Potomac (0-2), the defending Virginia State AAA Division 6 champion, winner of 14 straight games and ranked fourth coming into this year, lost 19 starters and has yet to score.

TOP 20 CHECK: No. 1 DeMatha easily passed its first major test, breaking open a close game with a 17-point third period en route to a 31-12 decision over Gilman, the top-ranked team in Baltimore. DeMatha's Dan Crowley's pitch-and-catch act with receivers Reggie Funderburk and Sylvester Settles resulted in a 15-of-23 performance for the quarterback. Funderburk caught seven passes for 131 yards and one score and Settles had five catches for 62 yards and recovered two fumbles. DeMatha had 424 total yards.

Second-ranked two-time defending Maryland State 4A champion Springbrook got off to a quick start, defeating Einstein, 41-6.