Two seasons ago, at least one high school football coach thought Raymond Custis, then a sophomore, might be starting on a state championship contender when he was a senior.

That coach, Seneca Valley's Terry Changuris, was right. But Custis isn't helping the top-ranked Screaming Eagles as they bid for a third consecutive Maryland title.

Instead, he is a senior at Northwest, the second-year Germantown school that absorbed many of Seneca Valley's players when it opened. After struggling in its first season while Custis sat out because of a knee injury, the Jaguars have rolled to a 6-1 start, led by Custis, who has rushed for 909 yards and 17 touchdowns.

"When he gets outside, it is over," Northwest Coach Randy Trivers said. "He is strong and fast, so when tacklers get a hand on him, they kind of slide off."

Custis scored four touchdowns in the second quarter Friday.

By winning its three remaining games--against Poolesville, Richard Montgomery and Bethesda-Chevy Chase, which have a combined record of 6-15--Northwest would earn a playoff berth and the Montgomery 2A/1A league title.

As a sophomore, Custis was a reserve at Seneca Valley behind second-team All-Met Ty Washington and Travis Johnson.

Had Custis not moved to Northwest when that school opened, he likely would have been the Screaming Eagles' starter this season.

Custis said he did not mind being a reserve at Seneca Valley but that sitting out last season was difficult.

"It was hard last year to sit down and just watch the season that they had," Custis said. "I couldn't do much about it. But we've all matured over the last year and worked hard. I always knew that the hard work would pay off sooner or later."

Chopticon SMACs Westlake

With three key players out of the lineup for significant periods of time, Chopticon struggled early, losing four of its first five games. However, with wide receiver Jamie Byroads, lineman Chip Williams and tailback David Showalter--whom Coach Andy Palko called his best receiver, lineman and running back--the Braves held on for a surprising 26-25 victory over No. 16 Westlake (6-1, 5-1 SMAC) on Friday night.

Chopticon (3-4, 2-4) rallied from a 13-point deficit to hand Westlake its first loss against a SMAC opponent since Oct. 17, 1997. . . .

Senior quarterback Chris Ashinhurst and North Stafford continue to put up big numbers. The Wolverines beat Fauquier, 38-14, in a Virginia AAA Commonwealth District game Friday as Ashinhurst passed for 377 yards (317 in the first half). But the biggest number was posted by Jeremey Bosken, who kicked a 53-yard field goal.

"He's got plenty of leg, and we finally gave him a chance," North Stafford Coach Chris Beatty said. "He hit it perfectly. It wouldn't have been good from 54, but it was good from 53." . . .

Churchill's Tyler Lavin kicked a 47-yard field goal in the Bulldogs' 21-3 loss to Watkins Mill. . . .

Manassas Park junior running back Nick Bertrand scored five touchdowns--four rushing and one on a punt return--to lead the Cougars to a 39-0 win at Clarke County in a Virginia A Bull Run District game on Friday. Manassas Park (6-1, 2-0) had lost to the Eagles by a combined 104-16 the previous two seasons.

Also joining the five-touchdown club this past weekend were Edison running back Cedric Bryant (35 carries for 271 yards in a 45-28 victory over Wakefield), Annapolis All-Met running back Rayvon Johnson (14 carries for 228 yards with all of his touchdowns in the first half of a 55-12 win over Southern), St. Stephen's/St. Agnes running back Sean Washington (four rushing touchdowns, one kickoff return for a touchdown in a 52-6 win over Randolph-Macon) and Warren County running back Brad Keller (21 carries for 205 yards in a 42-28 victory over Liberty).

Culpeper quarterback Mike Jenkins threw five touchdown passes in the first half of a 56-7 victory over James Wood on Friday. He was 11 of 13 for 150 yards with no interceptions.

Injury Report

In addition to suffering its first loss of the season Friday (28-6 to top-ranked Seneca Valley), No. 12 Damascus lost three players for Thursday's game at 5-2 Paint Branch. Damascus Coach Dan Makosy yesterday said that wide receiver Joe Scritchfield (severely sprained ankle) and linemen Matt Freeman (dislocated shoulder) and Greg Koehler (mild concussion) will miss at least one game.

Seneca Valley quarterback Chris Kelley, who left the game for a few minutes because of a left foot injury, said his foot was a little swollen but otherwise fine. . . .

Lake Braddock junior defensive end Peter Bobrowski, who suffered a neck injury and was taken from the field on a stretcher in Friday's 27-0 victory at Annandale, was treated and released that night at Inova Fairfax Hospital after X-rays showed the injury to be minor. "I think he was more scared than anything," Bruins Coach Francis Dall said.

Staff writer Preston Williams contributed to this report.