Yes, sports fans, Prophet Pat is back!
Summer is over, and pigskins are in the air, and that means you get your weekly dose of the "rage of a sage."
Lest you forgot, he was 73-28 for a percentage of .723 in high school football last season.
Overall for the school year, the Prophet was 171-80, a percentage of .684.
As usual, opening week is a big one with 14 games involving 15 county teams on tap. So, let's don'twaste any time and see what came up on the Prophet's crystal ball.
Randallstown (12-0 last year) at Annapolis (5-5), 7:30 p.m. Friday, "Upset of the Week"
Everything points to an Annapolis upset of the defending state 4A champion Rams who come in having won the last two over the Panthers by scores of 14-13 (1989) and 14-6 (1990).
On the way to winning the state title, one of the toughest games the Rams got was from Coach Roy Brown's Panthers. A lot of those Panthers are gone, but Brown is getting excited about his young team especially after it held its own last week in a scrimmage against Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference power Loyola of Towson.
Loyolais ranked No. 2 in The Sun preseason top 15, Randallstown No. 7 and Annapolis not there -- yet.
With the naming of the football field in honor of the late Al Laramore to take place at 7:15 p.m., it will be an emotionally charged night.
Added incentives are the opportunity to beat the defending
champ, shooting for the playoffs (the Panthers didn't make it last season for the first time in six years) and starting in front of what should be a great home crowd.
Look forthe Annapolis defense and a bevy of scatbacks to make the differencein a big upset. Annapolis 20, Randallstown 13.
High Point (8-2) at Severna Park (7-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday
This is a big game, because the winner will gobble up the bonus points down the road. Teamsget an additional bonus point each time a team they beat wins later,and this meeting at George Roberts Field pits two of the highest regarded teams in the state.
Visiting High Point is a 4A contender inPrince George's County and ranked No. 11 by The Washington Post, while Severna Park is defending county champ, ranked No. 10 by The Post and No. 5 by The Sun.
Look for John Jennings to run around and past Eagles' hulking defensive tackle Kevin Martin, who stands at 6-feet-7 and 270 pounds, and score a couple of touchdowns. Also, Gerald Cager will intercept an enemy pass from Dave Walsh and run it back for six points.
Coach Andy Borland will begrinning from ear to ear afterward when the Falcons present him the game ball for career win No. 100. Severna Park 27, High Point 21.
McDonough of Charles County (12-1) at Arundel (5-5), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Coach Buddy Hepfer's Wildcats are expected to be much improved, but they're very young andfacing the defending state 3A champion from the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference.
It's not so much that McDonough carries the banner of defending champion, but that the banner is carried by Sherron Gudger. The 5-foot-8, 170-pound running back is a senior and could beawesome.
Last year as a junior, Gudger rambled for a state record2,700 yards and 24 touchdowns. So what's the guy do for an encore?
Whatever he does Friday night, it will be enough to bury the youthful Wildcats. McDonough 34, Arundel 14.
South River (6-4) at Broadneck (3-7), 7:30 p.m. Friday
This is the only game this weekend matching county foes and should be a banger. South River took a 7-6decision a year ago, but look for Coach Jeff Herrick's Bruins to turn the tables tomorrow night.
The Bruin defense will prevail over the Hawks. Broadneck 14, South River 0.
Old Mill (9-2) at LaPlata, Charles County (3-7), 7:30 p.m. Friday
The home team has a huge defensive lineman in 6-foot-4, 300-pound tackle Joe Thompson, but he won't be enough to stop the Patriots, who are looking for an encore of 1990.
On the way to making the playoffs for the first time inschool history last season, the Pats opened by pummeling LaPlata, 33-0. This should be a rerun with Old Mill scoring early and often. OldMill 28, LaPlata 0.
Southern (4-6) at Calvert of Calvert County (1-9), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Coach Buck Gardner's big moment is going to have to wait at least a week, because the Prophet feels confident the Dawgs can win their opener despite being on the road.
Gardner is one away from 100 career losses at 71-99, but the big moment won't happen here against a club the Dawgs handled, 12-3, a year ago. Southern 16, Calvert 6.
Severn (8-2) at Model School of D.C. (8-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Both these clubs already have opened their seasons, Severn losing to Bishop Walsh of Cumberland, 29-14, and Model getting routed by St. Mary's, 37-0.
The Admirals should give first-year head coach Jim Doyle his first win. Look for Jake Mack to do something big. Severn 14, Model 13.
Catoctin (1-9) vs. Archbishop Spalding (0-8-1) at Bronco Field, Brooklyn Park, 7:30 p.m. Friday