Damascus Coach Al Thomas seems quite candid about his team's chances against Wilde Lake in tonight's Maryland Class 2A football championship at South Carroll. His outlook, though, doesn't include much optimism.

"In order for us to win we're going to have to get lucky," Thomas said. "We're really too small to keep up with them. . . . They just line up and beat your butt."

The Maryland Class 3A final tonight at Friendly features No. 15 McDonough vs. undefeated C.M. Wright.

The Swarmin' Hornets' most pressing task will be contending with running back Raphael Wall. Wall has been the No. 9 Wildecats' offensive catalyst, rushing for 1,755 yards and 31 touchdowns this season. He scored the decisive touchdown in Wilde Lake's 14-12 squeaker over Douglass in the semifinals.

Wilde Lake's defense is anchored by senior defensive back Rick Rowe, whose timely plays helped thwart Douglass scoring drives.

The Wildecats "are very big, very aggressive {especially} when they line up in the wishbone," Thomas said. "Our only hope is that they make {some key mistakes}. They're really just too big."

Wilde Lake Coach Doug Duvall, however, has placed little emphasis on his team's size advantage.

"We've seen {the Hornets} in seven of their last 12 games, so we know a lot about them," DuVall said. "And I don't think size is that big a deal. What we {need to do} is stop their quarterback-receiver combination" of Matt Byrne to Greg Emery.

Despite the recent success of its offense, Damascus has relied on defensive stamina in its unexpected march to the state final. In the semifinals, J.M. Bennett was beaten, 16-7, by four interceptions and a safety.

"We have two players over 200 pounds and {just} eight linemen," Thomas said. Wilde Lake "has great speed to match their size. They haven't been challenged all season."

McDonough (11-1) goes into its contest with C.M. Wright with a seven-game winning streak, the latest triumph a 10-7 victory over previously unbeaten Northern in the semifinals.

The Rams rely on running back Sherron Gudger (123 yards, one touchdown against Northern) for the bulk of their offense. Gudger carried 200 times during the regular season for 1,265 yards and 15 touchdowns.

"We're going to have to control the line of scrimmage," Rams Coach Larry Johnson said. "Our offensive line {must} have a great game."

The Rams' defense will face one of its toughest tests of the season in stopping Chris Gill and Ken Batten. Gill's 52-yard touchdown run and Batten's six-yarder helped lift C.M. Wright over Oakland Mills, 13-7, in Maryland's other 3A semifinal.

C.M. Wright "runs the wishbone. They're a power team," Johnson said. "We're going to have to key on Batten in the play option. We're just going to have to dominate the line {defensively}."