THE PLACE TO BE
Teams: Howard (4-0, 3-0 in Howard County) vs. Oakland Mills (4-0, 3-0)
Kickoff: Howard High Stadium, Saturday, 2 p.m.
Analysis: A pair of winning streaks are on the line in a meeting of the last two undefeated teams in Howard County. It is homecoming at Howard, and the Ellicott City school is 6-0 in homecoming games dating from 1993. Oakland Mills, the defending Maryland 1A champion, has won 15 straight since a 27-13 loss to defending county champion Wilde Lake last September. The Scorpions also have won six consecutive games against Howard since 1993.
Howard RB-DB Gerald Smith, who has unofficially committed to Penn State, is expected to play Saturday even though he has not participated in practice this week after suffering a hip pointer and high ankle sprain in the past two games. Smith's replacement, FB Travis Irving, has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the past two games. The Lions' defense is plus-16 in turnovers in the past three games. Senior DB Jose Monzon has two interceptions and returned a fumble for a score in a 38-14 victory over Glenelg last week. DE-LB Joey Tortella (6-0, 190) leads the front five.
Oakland Mills's defense is yielding a county-low 6.1 points per game. That has helped offset an offense which has scored only 21 points in the past two games. Starting QB-LB J.T. Rembert returns to the lineup after he missed the team's 14-6 victory over Atholton last week because he was ejected for a flagrant foul -- while playing linebacker -- in a 7-6 victory over River Hill two weeks ago.
Notable: At halftime, the 1974 Howard football team will be inducted to the school's athletic hall of fame. That team won the school's only state football title. Overall the Lions had a 47-game unbeaten streak from the start of the 1971 season until a loss to Paint Branch in the 1975 state title game. Howard also set a state record by going 10-0 in three straight regular seasons -- 1974-1976 -- though No. 1 Seneca Valley tied that mark last season.
Admission: $2 for students, $3 for adults.
Directions: Take Route 29 north to Route 108 east. The school is on the left just past the large office park and before the intersection with Route 104.
WEEKEND GAME PLANS
CENTREVILLE AT SOUTH LAKES Tonight, 7:30
South Lakes' players are excited about being 4-0 for the first time this decade, especially after an 0-10 finish last season. But perhaps the most excited player in tonight's Virginia AAA Concorde District game between the Reston school and No. 18 Centreville is Wildcats senior running back Mike Williams.
Williams will play tonight for the first time since he suffered a sprained knee in a season-opening, 16-12 loss to No. 16 Lake Braddock. Last season Williams led Centreville (4-1) with a team-high 13 touchdowns and finished with almost 1,000 yards rushing.
"Mike has practiced all week for the first time in a long time," Centreville new coach Mike Skinner said. "He will play every snap against South Lakes and he is really looking forward to it."
Williams will face a South Lakes defense that is led by junior tackles Maurice Wiggins (6 feet 1, 299 pounds) and Lamont Moore (5-11, 265) and senior DB Anthony Clavajo (four interceptions, three fumble recoveries).
"Our offense gets a lot of attention because it is averaging more than 30 points per game, but really everyone is playing well for us, including our defense," South Lakes Coach Dennis Randolph said.
DUNBAR AT BALLOU Today, 3:30
Not Going Gently Into The Good Knights
Ballou second-year coach Noel Cyrus said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, though he might not believe it today. Cyrus said he would like to model Ballou's program after Dunbar, the defending D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association champion -- but is hoping his Knights can continue their best start since 1993 with a victory over the Crimson Tide (2-2-1) today at Ballou.
"Dunbar is the DCIAA champion, and I tell our kids all the time that is the goal we want to shoot for," Cyrus said. "Dunbar has probably the best team in the conference, but we want to come out of the game against them with some respect -- and a victory."
Ballou's (3-1) hopes rest on senior QB Norman Morrow, who has 600 yards passing, 250 yards rushing and six touchdowns overall, and senior RB Ronald Gill (500 yards rushing). The Knights defense is led by SS Marcus Gray, who had 17 sacks last season, and LB Chris Dansby.
Dunbar (2-2-1) is led by senior RB-LB James Lynch, who has 409 yards rushing this season. Junior QB Josh Cribbs completed 14 of 18 passes for a career-high 338 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-6 victory over Eastern last Friday.
LOUDOUN COUNTY AT POTOMAC FALLS Tonight, 7:30
Potomac Falls Coach Wes Driskill is both excited and mortified when thinking about the chances that tonight's Virginia AA Northwestern District game against Loudoun County (3-1, 1-0) will be decided in the final minutes. That is because Potomac Falls junior Greg Kuehn and Loudoun County senior Cary Greenfield are two of the top place kickers in the area -- and either one is capable of making a game-winning field goal.
Kuehn has three field goals of more than 40 yards in his career. Greenfield has made 6 of 8 field goals this season, helping the Leesburg school to a 3-1 overall record, 1-0 in the district. Greenfield kicked five field goals in a 29-7 season-opening victory over Jefferson County (W.Va.), and made the winning 24-yarder late in the fourth quarter that broke a 7-7 tie in a 10-7 victory over Warren County last week. Two years ago, Greenfield kicked a game-winning 35-yard field goal in a 9-8 victory over Potomac Falls.
"We are confident that if the game is close, Greg will come through for us," Driskill said. "But we also know if it is close and they have the ball, Cary might come through for them. I have been coaching [in Loudoun] for 16 years and have never seen two kickers this good."
LANDON AT ST. STEPHEN'S/ST. AGNES Saturday, 1 p.m.
Landon is the Interstate Athletic Conference's most successful team in the 1990s, with a 28-9-1 conference record and three conference titles dating from 1989. St. Stephen's & St. Agnes is 9-29 with no titles in conference play in the 1990s. But the teams will meet on more equal footing when the Bethesda school travels to play the Saints in Alexandria Saturday at 1.
St. Stephen's/St. Agnes is 3-0 this season and has outscored its opponents, 133-7, after finishing 1-8 last season. Saints senior RB Sean Washington has rushed for 512 yards this year after rushing for more than 1,000 last season.
Landon (1-1) is coming off a 36-10 loss to Gilman, the top-ranked team in Baltimore, last week. The Bears are led by RBs George Boiardi (136 yards rushing) and Mike Martinez (130 yards rushing).