Potomac (Md.) Coach Eric Knight knew it was just a matter of time before junior quarterback James Nickens would start to be compared to his predecessor, Harold Dorman, a second-team All-Met last fall who could beat a defense by throwing the ball just as easily as he could by running it.
"We went from having 'Harold The Highlight Reel' to having 'Big Game James,' " Knight said. "Harold is the best quarterback we've ever had, but it seems every game, James keeps creeping closer to him."
Nickens delivered another impressive performance by completing seven of his 14 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns to lead 19th-ranked Potomac to a 21-6 home victory over No. 17 Douglass in a key Prince George's County 3A/2A game yesterday in Oxon Hill.
Nickens, who was the Wolverines' tight end last year, has completed 39 of 62 passes for 813 yards and 11 touchdowns -- with just one interception -- to lead Potomac to its first 6-0 start since 1996.
"I talk to Harold all the time, and we talked" Friday night, Nickens said of Dorman, who plays for Alabama A&M. "We're friends, he's taught me a lot, but most of all, he showed me how to be a leader."
Nickens opened the scoring with a perfectly thrown, 34-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Korey Coles. Nickens rushed for the two-point conversion to give Potomac (6-0, 6-0) an 8-0 lead with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter. Two possessions later, Nickens made what Knight called "the best play I've seen him make."
Nickens dropped back to pass from the Potomac 45, but the pocket collapsed and he started to run toward the sideline. Nickens eluded one defender and broke two tackles before throwing a pass over three defenders to a wide-open Coles at the 2-yard line. Coles crossed the goal line and the Wolverines had a 15-0 lead with 2 minutes 55 seconds left in the first half.
"I knew from the first day of practice James could lead our team and make plays," said Coles, who finished with a game-high four catches for 112 yards.
Douglass (5-1, 4-1) made the score 15-6 early in the fourth quarter on a six-yard run by quarterback Davon Gray. It was the first time Potomac's defense had allowed points this season.
Later, the Wolverines' Adrian McLeod capped the victory by scoring on a six-yard run.
Potomac, which lost in the Maryland 2A championship game last season, had outscored opponents 207-6 coming into the game, with Friendly scoring on a kickoff return in the Wolverines' 36-6 victory on Sept. 11. Douglass was scoring 36 points per game before yesterday.
"This was the first time our defense was challenged all season, and they shut down a pretty good team that came in scoring a pile of points," said Knight, whose team stopped Douglass twice inside the 15-yard line to secure the victory. "I think our defense showed how good they really were."
Oher Rallies Sherando
Junior running back Joe Oher scored two touchdowns in the final 14 minutes to lift Sherando to a 20-19, come-from-behind victory over host Handley in a Virginia AA Northwestern District game in Winchester.
Handley (3-2, 1-1) had taken a 19-7 lead with 4:06 left in the third quarter on Bobby Amos's 55-yard interception return. On the ensuing Sherando drive, Oher carried five times for 45 yards, including a two-yard touchdown run, to cut the Handley lead to 19-13.
In the fourth quarter, Sherando (4-1, 2-0) moved to the Handley 29-yard line on a 26-yard pass from quarterback Jordan Gibson to wide receiver Corey Johnson. Oher ran on the next four plays, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 8:13 left.
Sherando ran 20 plays in the fourth quarter, and Oher rushed on 18 of them, gaining 99. He finished the day with 174 yards, bringing his total to 562 for the season.
Sherando's defense allowed Handley only two first downs in the second half.
Spingarn Ends Skid
Phillip Smith caught three touchdown passes and returned an interception for a score on Friday night as Spingarn defeated host Anacostia, 54-12, to end the area's longest losing streak at 24.
Spingarn (1-2, 1-0 D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association East division) hadn't won since Sept. 21, 2001 -- a 14-0 victory over Baltimore's Charles Hickey School.