Of all the turnarounds in the Washington area this season, perhaps none are more surprising than those at South Lakes and Edison. South Lakes, under new coach Dennis Randolph, is 4-0 after going winless last season. Edison, which won only five games the previous two seasons, is 3-1 after its 46-12 victory over visiting Falls Church on Friday.

"A lot of it is mental," said Randolph, who coached at Edison until after the 1996 season. "Our kids have got to be feeling pretty good and I know they are. They feel like they can beat anybody."

Part of the Seahawks' turnaround has been due to the play of wide receiver Dustin Hellenga, who did not play football last season so he could focus on basketball. He caught two touchdown passes from quarterback Chris Royal in a 34-7 victory over Yorktown on Friday. Royal was 10 of 17 for a school-record 238 yards in the game.

Randolph added that running back Anthony McGee, guard-linebacker Richard McKnight and fullback-defensive end Scott Randolph (the coach's son) also have played well.

At Edison, Coach Vaughn Lewis said attitude has been the difference this season. Quarterback Will Heislup has led an option-oriented offense that amassed 422 yards rushing against Falls Church. Fullback Shaun Herring has three 100-yard rushing games (he had 58 against Falls Church as tailbacks Justin Webb and Cedric Bryant gained 148 and 100 yards, respectively).

"We started the year thinking if our defense could really improve, we maybe could go 6-4, which would be a great record for Edison," Lewis said. "But we're not going to accept 6-4 now. We've raised our standards. Now we want to be 9-1."

Late-Game Heroics

The ball bounced the right way for Paul VI Catholic Friday night as the Panthers defeated Carroll, 21-16, for the first time in school history.

Paul VI scored its winning points on a 59-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Colin Hannigan to running back Andre Eason with 44 seconds left. On the play, Eason made the catch and was running toward the end zone when a defender stripped the ball from behind. However, the ball took a fortuitous bounce back into Eason's hands, and he went in for the touchdown.

On the final play, a Carroll receiver caught a pass just outside the end zone but was tackled by linebacker Nick Gallagher to end the game. . . .

Also making a last-second comeback was H.D. Woodson (2-0), which edged Henderson of West Chester, Pa., 30-29, on a six-yard screen pass from Maurice Moore to Keon Coleman on the final play. The play, which resulted in Coleman's fourth touchdown of the game, was the idea of guard Troy Clark.

"I said, 'Okay, let's go for it. It's your call, big fella, but you better get it in,' " H.D. Woodson first-year coach Greg Fuller said.

New Position

With quarterback Chris Parker out because of a sprained ankle, Springbrook Coach Mike Smith moved fullback Tony McCray to quarterback. The result surprised everyone, including Smith.

McCray, playing the position for the first time, rushed for three touchdowns and 101 yards on four carries and threw a five-yard touchdown pass to tight end David Jones in the Blue Devils' 41-6 victory over Whitman on Friday.

"It was a pleasant surprise," Smith said of McCray. "He did a great job for us. He ran the offense very well and made some big plays for us."

Still, Smith said that McCray will return to fullback if Parker is able to play Saturday when Springbrook (3-1) hosts Churchill (3-1).

One Night in the Valley

Seneca Valley quarterback Chris Kelley tied a school record with five touchdown passes (to different receivers) in the top-ranked Germantown school's 42-0 victory over Friendly on Friday night. Ryan Miyamoto, whose younger brother, Tim, caught the second of Kelley's touchdown passes, threw five touchdown passes in 1994. Kelley also had a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown negated by a penalty.

Seneca Valley (4-0) has won 30 consecutive games, one short of the school record set from 1976 to 1978. The state record is 54, set by City College of Baltimore from 1934 to 1941. . . .

When running back Chris Whitlow scored on a one-yard run in the first quarter of No. 6 Fairfax's 39-12 victory over Mount Vernon on Friday, it was the first time someone other than star running back Brandon Royster had scored an offensive touchdown for the Rebels this season. Royster had scored nine of Fairfax's 11 touchdowns. . . .

Led by quarterback Mike Jenkins and wide receiver Terence Dinkins, Culpeper tied a 50-year-old school record for most points in a game with a 74-20 victory over Sherando on Friday. Jenkins completed 12 of 14 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns, and Dinkins had six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. The Blue Devils had set their record with a 74-0 victory over Luray in 1949.

However, while it tied a school record, Culpeper was not the most prolific team in Virginia over the weekend. That distinction belongs to Gretna, an 89-14 winner over Altavista.

Big in Reserve

"The Little Man" came up big once again for No. 12 Suitland. Reserve sophomore quarterback Duane Smith, who is 5 feet 5 and 130 pounds, rallied the District Heights school to a 14-8 victory over previously unbeaten Bowie in a Prince George's 4A game on Saturday.

Smith threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Kenyon McAfee to tie the game. He also directed a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter, capped by Herschel Walker's 12-yard run, as the defending co-county champion won its third straight.

Suitland Coach Nick Lynch said Smith will start Saturday against Largo. However, the Rams likely have lost tight end-linebacker Anthony Moten for the rest of the season because of a fractured leg.

Quote of the Week

"It was pretty much a boxing match. Our knockout punch just had an extra point behind it," said Mount Hebron Coach Larry Luthe on his team's 14-13 victory over Atholton.