Breaking the 'Bone

For the first time since 1991, third-ranked DeMatha (5-0-1) was unable to schedule a game against a top Northern Virginia public school. But the Stags will travel to Fairfax tonight to play a difficult game against Paul VI Catholic (6-0-1). It is the first regular season meeting between the two schools. The winner will have at least a share of first place in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.

Paul VI has frequently used four and five wide receivers after opening the season in a wishbone offense. Since the switch, senior quarterback Colin Hannigan has thrown for 573 yards and six touchdowns -- and the Panthers have outscored their opponents 95-16.

Hannigan's main targets are a pair of 6-foot-7 wide receivers, Ryan O'Hare (17 receptions, 485 yards) and Tyree Spinner (eight receptions, 143 yards). But an interesting matchup on the other side features Paul VI defensive back Matt Wiles, who leads area private schools with six interceptions, facing DeMatha quarterback Brian Jones (351 yards passing, no interceptions in 43 attempts). DeMatha quarterbacks have not thrown an interception in the regular season since 1996.


Banging the Dorr

First-year Centreville coach Mike Skinner knows what one of the key matchups will be when his team hosts No. 12 Robinson (6-0) in a nondistrict game tonight. He just does not know where or when the matchup will occur.

Skinner said he expects his two-way lineman, Carl Dorr (6-2, 255 pounds), and Robinson's two-way lineman, Robert Bennett, (6-4, 285) to battle each other. But he is not sure where, since Dorr plays every offensive line position and shifts around on defense as well.

"I am sure their paths will meet somewhere on the field," Skinner said. "Just listen for the loud bang, then look and see where they are."

No. 16 Centreville has won five consecutive games and is 26-2 against teams other than Robinson since 1997. However, the Wildcats are 0-3 against the Rams in that span.


Games on Film

Annandale has seen more of Lake Braddock senior running back Ryan Neff than it expected in preparation for its game against the 13th-ranked Bruins (6-0) in a Virginia Group AAA Patriot District matchup tonight.

That is because one of Annandale Coach Dick Adams's pregame traditions includes showing game film from a past victory against the upcoming opponent. This week, Adams chose Annandale's 13-7 victory over Lake Braddock in 1997 -- a game in which Neff rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown.

This season, Neff has rushed for 815 yards and 12 touchdowns. On defense, Annandale (4-2) is led by three-year starting linebacker Glen Lloyd and end Brandon Fields (four sacks this season).

Tonight likely will mark the last meeting between Adams and Lake Braddock Coach Francis Dall, who is resigning at the end of the year to become the athletic director at a new high school in Fairfax. Adams is 6-3 against Dall's teams, though Braddock had lost all 10 games against Annandale when Dall became coach in 1989.


Speedy Recovery

Thomas Stone Coach Rich Callahan said he finally has persuaded his team not to look past its current opponent nor look back on past games. This week, that was easier than usual -- mostly because the Cougars (6-0) are focused on playing No. 20 Patuxent (6-0) for at least a share of first place in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference. And the Cougars cannot reflect on past games with Patuxent because the teams have never met. Patuxent is in its first year of SMAC football.

"We have been after the kids for more than a year to just look at the upcoming week," Callahan said. "They have finally got it. If you were to ask them who we play next week, they would have no idea."

But they will know about the Panthers, second in the area in scoring with an average of 44.3 points per game, and sophomore running back Terry Caulley, the leading rusher among area Maryland public schools with 1,255 yards and 17 touchdowns. Stone is led by senior All-Met running back/linebacker Marcus Whalen (1,145 yards rushing) and linebacker Mike Farland (160 tackles this season). Defensive end Marcus Warr had four sacks in a 41-0 victory over Wakefield last Friday.