Teams: No. 8 Gonzaga (6-0-1 overall, 3-0-1 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference) vs. No. 3 DeMatha (6-0-1, 4-0)
Kickoff: Parkdale High School, Riverdale, Saturday, 1:30.
Analysis: Since the WCAC instituted a playoff system in 1991, these teams have combined to win eight consecutive conference titles (with Gonzaga winning in 1996 and 1997 and DeMatha winning the other six seasons) and have met in the WCAC championship game in each of the past two seasons. The winner likely will earn the top seed in the conference's four-team playoffs, avoiding a first-round game against upstart Paul VI.
DeMatha, the defending conference champion, is led by RB Anthony Riley, LB Mikaal Baaqee and DEs Jason Lallis and Derek Wake. Riley, a junior, has improved with every game, according to DeMatha Coach Bill McGregor. He has run for more than 200 yards in each of the past four games and has rushed for 17 touchdowns and 1,451 yards (tops in the area) on the season. Since a season-opening 14-14 tie with Dunbar, DeMatha has won six straight, all by at least 22 points. The Stags have a 29-game regular season unbeaten streak and are 18-0-1 since losing to Gonzaga in the 1997 conference title game.
The only blemish on Gonzaga's record is a 0-0 tie against Paul VI (DeMatha beat Paul VI, 43-0, last week). However, while DeMatha has been prolific, averaging 36.8 points during its winning streak, Gonzaga has won with the Washington area's stingiest defense. The Eagles have allowed only three touchdowns and have four shutouts. Coach Maus Collins said DT Brian Becker and LB Steve Pavlick have played well. FS Chris Jordan has made a team-leading 61 tackles. He also have five interceptions.
Notable: DeMatha has allowed more than 14 points in a game just once since Sept. 6, 1997, a span of 30 games. ... DeMatha won both of the teams' meetings last season, 26-12 in the regular season (ending Gonzaga's 12-game winning streak) and 49-13 in the conference final. ... McGregor is 15-8 against Collins.
Directions: Take the Beltway to Kenilworth Avenue (Route 201) south, heading toward Bladensburg. Follow Kenilworth Avenue to Good Luck Road, and turn left. Take Good Luck Road for a quarter-mile and school is on the right.