Old Mill Coach Mike Marcus sat in the top row of the stands at High Point's Francis G. Tracy Stadium on Saturday and acted like a fan, rooting for No. 15 Suitland to beat Northwestern and help Old Mill get into the playoffs.

At Potomac in Maryland, Northwest Coach Randy Trivers and his defensive coordinator, Mike Neubiser, got to the point they had to stop videotaping the Braves' game against Fairmont Heights "because we were such a mess," Trivers said.

Across the region on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, football coaches of teams teetering on the edge of qualifying for the playoffs rooted for teams they knew nothing about other than the fact that how those teams did determined other teams' playoff fates. In all, six Washington area teams that did not control their own postseason chances entering the weekend qualified for the playoffs, including Old Mill and No. 17 Northwest.

"It's hard to watch when you want to control the situation and you have no control," said Trivers, whose team needed Potomac's 32-26 victory over Fairmont Heights in double overtime to qualify for the Maryland 2A playoffs.

Said Marcus: "I thought about painting my face red and black today and bringing my Suitland pom-poms."

Also getting in with some help from other teams were Wilde Lake, West Potomac, Langley and Strasburg. Meanwhile, the teams that needed victories to qualify for the playoffs went 7-9; only three of those teams that lost made it to the playoffs.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking defeat was suffered by Edison, which fell to Mount Vernon, 22-21 in overtime and failed to earn its first playoff berth since 1990. After Mount Vernon scored on its possession in overtime to pull to 21-20, a holding penalty negated the Majors' successful two-point conversion.

On the retry, from the 15-yard line, quarterback Kelvin Coggins eluded a heavy rush and threaded a pass to wide receiver Maurice Clark in the end zone for the victory.

"It was one of those things that if you do it 10 times, we're going to get nine of them," said Edison Coach Vaughn Lewis, whose team would have made the Virginia AAA Division 5 Northern Region playoffs had it won. "It's a tough way to end the season."

Also losing when a victory would have earned their teams a playoff berth were Linganore, Glenelg, Fauquier, McLean and Luray.

A Point to Make

How closely do coaches follow the chase for the postseason?

After his team missed earning a playoff berth by less than one power point last season, Eleanor Roosevelt Coach Rick Houchens made sure to keep a careful watch on the points standings this season. It helped out this past week when he looked on the Internet and saw that his team had been shortchanged one point.

The extra point was the difference as No. 9 Roosevelt passed 14th-ranked Severna Park for the third seed in the Maryland 4A playoffs. Instead of a first-round game against No. 20 Watkins Mill and a possible semifinal matchup with No. 7 Gaithersburg, Roosevelt hosts No. 15 Suitland in the first round on Saturday and cannot play Gaithersburg until the championship game. Severna Park will play Watkins Mill in the first round.

"We felt that it was a big benefit, even though it is going to be a war against Suitland," said Houchens, whose team lost to the Rams, 23-7, on Oct. 9. "It's a much better opportunity." . . .

Other first-round rematches: No. 18 Robinson at No. 6 Lake Braddock, No. 19 Westlake at No. 12 Thomas Stone, No. 16 Gar-Field at No. 2 Hylton and Loudoun County at No. 5 Park View. . . .

Perhaps the best team not to make the playoffs the past two seasons is Douglass, which finished 8-2 after Saturday's 20-0 victory over Friendly to win the Prince George's 3A title. The Eagles finished 9-1 last season. . . .

Culpeper running back Jermaine Cropp had a 99-yard touchdown run in a 45-7 victory over Fauquier on Friday, helping the No. 11 Blue Devils to their first 10-0 regular season. . . .

Potomac Falls kicker Greg Kuehn, who dyed his hair blue, made a 52-yard field goal with 59 seconds remaining to give the Sterling school a 24-21 victory over Liberty on Friday. . . .

Spingarn ended a 12-game losing streak with a 20-6 victory over Anacostia on Saturday.

Quote of the Week

As told by Wilde Lake Coach Doug DuVall, whose team plays top-ranked Seneca Valley in the first round of the Maryland 3A playoffs: "One person [Laurel Coach Chuck Hickes] said, `It's not like David playing Goliath. It's like David's little brother playing Goliath.' "

Staff writer Judith Evans contributed to this report.