BAD HABIT:

Coach Joe Albano says he has tried everything possible to build a winner at Suitland. The Rams haven't had a winning season since 1976, and after Saturday's 39-6 loss to Crossland, Suitland is 0-7 and has lost 25 of its last 27.

"Losing has become a real bad habit and it's very frustrating," said Albano, in his fourth year as head coach. "I have never been through anything like this before. And the kids are doing the best they can; they work hard in practice and they don't quit. We have tried everything, but nothing works.

"The problem is we are always starting over with new players. This year, we had only eight returnees and one of them was a starter. This year we have 39 kids, 27 of them underclassmen. If we can only get them back next year, we will be better."

Albano has watched in anquish as many of Suitland's better athletes opt to play soccer, basketball and run track rather than come to the football field.

"We have 2,500 students and can get but 40 out for football," he said. "Two of our better players, Darrell Green and Chad Scott, both tailbacks-quarterbacks, are underclassmen and I hope they come back next season."

UNBEATEN:

With three weeks left in the regular season, the only remaining unbeaten area teams are Springbrook, T.C. Williams, Oxon Hill, Potomac (Va.), H.D. Woodson, Northern, Wilde Lake, Laurel, Wootton and Oakland Mills.

As to which teams might faceoff in the playoffs: Springbrook, Oxon Hill and Wootton are Maryland Class 4A schools. Northern, Oakland Mills and Laurel are 3A. Wilde Lake is 2A. T.C. Williams and Potomac are in different divisions in Virginia and would not meet. H.D. Woodson is in the Interhigh League.

On the final Saturday of the regular season, a fun game could be between Howard County's Wilde Lake, which averages 37.8 points, and Oakland Mills, averaging 31.2. Korey Singleton (20 touchdowns) scored four touchdowns to lead Oakland Mills to a 42-6 triumph over Hammond last weekend. Raphael Wall (20 touchdowns) scored five touchdowns as Wilde Lake pounded Atholton, 50-8.

HORNETS HUMMIN':

Al Thomas, who left a successful Seneca Valley program for smaller Damascus, has the townsfolk buzzing again. The Swarmin' Hornets, who shocked many with an 11-2 record and appearance in the Maryland Class 2A state final in 1989, are making a bid for a return trip.

Since being upset by Episcopal, 13-10, four weeks ago, Damascus (6-1) has won three straight. Friday's big 31-12 win over 4A school North County will be worth valuable playoff points toward one of the eight playoff spots.

WEARY WARRIORS:

Most area teams play 10 regular season games, some as many 11. However, Interhigh power H.D. Woodson will play an unprecendented 12 regular season games this season. Thus far, Coach Bob Headen's team has held up well. The Warriors are 8-0 and have outscored their foes, 171-38. But the long season may catch up to No. 6 Woodson since Headen has fewer than 35 players, his smallest varsity team ever.

DEFENSIVE GIANTS:

St. Albans, heading into this week's IAC showdown against Georgetown Prep, has emerged as one of the best defensive teams in the area. Saturday, the Bulldogs beat St. Stephen's, 42-0, for their fourth shutout.

When T.C. Williams was the best defensive team in the area in the mid-1980s, it was rare when an opponent scored. The No. 2 Titans (7-0) are showing some resemblance to those teams as they earned their fourth shutout Friday, 15-0 over Robinson.