For Chopticon’s offense, the record doesn’t speak nearly as well as the numbers. The Braves just earned their first win last weekend, but the victory against Great Mills came after a steady increase of offensive pressure in the first three weeks of the season. Chopticon went from 355 all-purpose yards in an opening loss to Thomas Stone to 600 all-purpose yards last Friday.
“We’re still a work in progress, but we’re doing well offensively,” Coach Anthony Lisanti said. “But we’ve got a lot of improvement defensively.”
The Braves (1-3) are averaging 34 points in their last two games, but they also allowed eight touchdowns from Northern in a Week 3 loss.
“We could play with Patuxent, but we didn’t beat them,” Lisanti said. “We could play with Northern, but we couldn’t beat them. We’ve got to break through here.”
Friday’s trip to Huntingtown (4-0) starts off a tough three-game set (Huntingtown, Westlake, then North Point) for the Braves. They’ll be missing their starting corner due to in-school suspension and senior linebacker Brett Lawrence will be coming off a week of pre-indoctrination for the military.
Senior quarterback Donovyn Jordan (1,064 yards passing), running back Braxton Powell (58 carries, 415 yards) and wide receiver Nick Gray (21 receptions, 359 yards) are all in the top five players for yardage at their position in the conference.
Jordan is challenged at the top of the charts by La Plata quarterback Alex Calvert. The Warriors will look to Calvert’s arm and receivers Jake Pilkerton and Jvon Simmons to improve on a 1-3 record at Great Mills (0-4) Friday. Lackey (3-1) travels to Northern (3-1), and McDonough (0-4) hosts undefeated Patuxent. Calvert (1-3) comes off a third consecutive loss to play Thomas Stone (2-2) on Saturday, and North Point (2-2) travels to Leonardtown (3-1). Westlake (3-1) hosts Friendship Collegiate (2-1).
“We’re the underdogs, obviously,” said Coach Bruce Strunk. “They have a pretty senior-filled team, but I told the kids it’s okay to be the underdogs. Glenelg’s good, and they’re big, but you know what, we’ve still got to play the game.”
The Gladiators’ senior-heavy squad includes running back Jared Jacoby, offensive guard David Robbins and wide receiver David Brookhart. They spoiled Hammond’s 3-0 record with a 35-3 win last week and haven’t lost a game since a 7-3 decision in Week 1 against River Hill.
The Lions, on the other hand, returned just three starters on defense and four on offense this season. Senior running back Terrell Charles charted 580 rushing yards in the first four games and quarterback Kevin Sheahin has been solid on decision making.
Howard was behind at halftime twice this season, but the resiliency in those games shows Strunk that the team is capable of overcoming youth to improve on last year’s 5-5 season.
“When they’ve got their backs against the wall, they keep fighting,” Strunk said. “And that’s the sign of a team that can win some games.”
Elsewhere in the county, Hammond (3-1) meets a 2-2 Reservoir squad and senior running back Avian White, who comes off an explosive 217-yard performance against Oakland Mills (1-3) after averaging 55 yards in the first three games. Long Reach (1-3) travels to Centennial (3-1) after the Lightning’s fourth quarter comeback last week against Atholton (0-4). The Raiders are still looking for their first W of the season and will host 2-2 Wilde Lake and quarterback Spencer Ampofo, who leads the county with 510 yards passing. Oakland Mills will play at Marriotts Ridge (0-4) and Mount Hebron (0-4) hosts River Hill (4-0).