It's time to see if the streak continues.
No, not Cal Ripken's consecutive game streak, but the 22-game winless skid produced by the Archbishop Spalding football team.
The Cavaliers' last victory came in the seventh week of the 1988 season when they downed Friends, 38-0, but they have managed to put their misfortunes behind them and continue to prepare for the season ahead.
"If the streak is on their minds it's an unspoken topic," said Coach Greg Fuhrman, who took over last year from veteran coach Gary Lyle and guided the Cavs to an 0-8-1 mark. "It's probably on their minds, but I don't hear them talking about it."
While many athletes would abandon a program in such losing times, Fuhrman has been inspired by his team's desire to savor victory -- a taste no one on his team has yet experienced.
"There's not one kid in our program that has tasted a victory, so it will be difficult until they know what that experience is all about," said Fuhrman. "The more games that pass the more difficult that will become. Our No. 1 goal is to win our first game."
Fuhrman said he has been moved by the way his team has done those things necessary to building a winning program -- namely, running, hitting the weights and attending camps in the off-season.
These tangibles, combined with the return of the nucleus of the Cavaliers' squad, give promise that "The Streak" soon might come to a screeching halt.
Fuhrman and his staff, which spent much of last year's summer camp teaching fundamentals, has been able to implement a mixture of formation and plays, and as a result, should be less predictable this season.
"Last year was a learning year for us, and I think everyone on the team improved," said Fuhrman. "I think we're finally becoming sound in the basics of game.
"Now I think we can graduate to the next level. We're slowing becoming more complex in design of our plays and more complex in our defensive strategies."
SeniorMatt DeMarco, who transferred to Spalding from Meade last year, willcall the defensive signals from his position at inside linebacker, and will play center when the Cavaliers have the ball.
Senior captain Brian Edwards and junior Chris Lucas are battling for the quarterback slot.
A preseason injury to Lucas has given Edwards the upper hand, but don't count out any personnel changes if the Cavs fail to put the ball in the end zone.
Senior Osric Prioleau, a 6-foot, 180-pound fullback, will clear the way for junior halfback Dan Wolf. Wolf, who was selected as captain last year as a sophomore, returns aftersetting school records for all-purpose yardage in a single season aswell as for career receptions.
"He (Wolf) was one of the few bright spots last year," said Fuhrman.
Other two-way performers that will be heavily counted on by coaches are veterans Ralph Ellis, Tim Alber and Pat Kiley.
Junior Jeff Paxson will give Spalding some speed at wingback and corner back while Arundel transfer Alexi Baltins will provide strength as a two-way tackle.
"I'm really keyed up and enthused simply because we didn't win a game last year," said Fuhrman. "The longer you go on losing the tougher it is to have confidence to win and make winning tangible. They've made the sacrifices."
. . . in brief
School mascot: Cavaliers
School colors: Red and white
Name of field/stadium: All home football games will beplayed at the old Brooklyn Park High field
Address: 8080 New Cut Road, Severn, Md. 21144
Phone number: 969-9105
Principal: Barbara Schwitzer
Athletic director: Domenic Pachence
Cheerleading adviser: Linda Mrockowski
Marching band director: Stephanie Huesgen
School enrollment: 568
League/classification: MSA C Conference