Teams: Eleanor Roosevelt (11-1) vs. Gaithersburg (11-1).
Kickoff: Byrd Stadium, University of Maryland, today, 7 p.m.
Analysis: John Harvill, who has coached Gaithersburg for 43 years, was ejected from last week's 13-0 semifinal victory over Severna Park and will watch from the press box as he serves a mandatory one-game suspension. Defensive coordinator Fred Joyce, an assistant under Harvill for 33 years, will be the acting head coach in his place.
Both teams feature high-scoring offenses: No. 4 Gaithersburg averaged 33.7 points during the regular season, and fifth-ranked Eleanor Roosevelt averaged 37.8. The Greenbelt school defeated Patterson of Baltimore, 52-6, in last week's 4A semifinal, despite having three touchdowns nullified by penalties.
Roosevelt's strength is its team speed, particularly in the backfield, where junior running back Edwin Rios has rushed for 1,428 yards and 21 touchdowns. Senior quarterback Wendall Williams is a threat to run (14 rushing TDs) or pass (10 passing TDs).
Gaithersburg senior Jay Colbert, the school's all-time leading rusher, is expected to play after receiving treatment (including acupuncture) this week on his left ankle. Colbert ran for 1,235 yards and 14 touchdowns in the regular season, but has played sparingly since suffering the injury in the final game of the regular season. In his place, junior Semaj Richardson has played well, rushing for more than 100 yards in his first two starts. But Harvill said this week he will not play tonight because of academic reasons. The Trojans' defense, which has yielded only three points in two playoff games, is led by a senior-dominated secondary.
Notable: Since 1988, only two non-Montgomery County teams have won the 4A title: Randallstown of Baltimore County in 1990 and North County of Anne Arundel in 1994. ... Gaithersburg is 2-2 in state title games; the Trojans won the 4A championship in 1986 and 1992, and lost in the finals in 1989 and 1995. ... Roosevelt lost to Sherwood in the 4A final in 1996, its only previous appearance in the state title game.
-- Camille Powell
Teams: Forestville (10-2) vs. Brunswick (10-2).
Kickoff: Byrd Stadium, University of Maryland, today, 3 p.m.
Analysis: No. 13 Forestville, which advanced by winning its two playoff games by a combined score of 95-7, had 576 yards total offense in its 47-7 semifinal victory over Cambridge-South Dorchester last Saturday. Brunswick of Frederick County gave up only 13 points in its playoff wins over Hickey of Baltimore County and Elkton of Cecil County.
Forestville, the two-time Prince George's 2A/1A champion, is led by junior running backs Ed Garnes and Larry McClain, who rushed for 417 yards and five touchdowns against Cambridge. Garnes has rushed for 1,384 yards and McClain 1,223 this season. "What makes [Forestville] difficult is they're two-dimensional," Brunswick Coach Mark Mitchell said. "If you take the run away from them they can beat you with the pass. It's a bind they've put defenses in all year."
Notable: In last season's 1A final, Forestville lost 15-12, to Oakland Mills of Columbia. ... Brunswick is making its first trip to a state final since the school started its football program in 1968. The Railroaders are making their sixth playoff appearance and fourth in the '90s, but their 41-6 quarterfinal victory over Hickey was the school's first playoff win.
-- Nathan Max
From Baltimore and North: Take Interstate 95 south to Exit 25, College Park/U.S. Route 1 South. After approximately one mile, exit off of U.S. 1 onto Maryland Route 193 West. Go two traffic lights to Stadium Drive. Make a left turn and Byrd Stadium is straight ahead.
From Washington and South: Take Interstate 95 North until Exit 25 College Park/U.S. Route 1 South. Take above directions to Byrd Stadium.
Tickets cost $5 for each game and are all general admission.