After four games, the Northeast football team has a 3-1 record and has matched its number of wins in each of the last two seasons.
Thelast time the Eagles had such an auspicious beginning was three years ago, when the Eagles jumped out to 4-0 en route to a 7-3 season.
Coach Bart Rader says the team members "are sky-high," but will the Eagles keep winning or are they in for a rough landing, starting with this weekend's meeting with unbeaten Cambridge-South Dorchester?
"This will probably be one of our toughest games of the year. We faced a bigger team in (Chesapeake, Baltimore County), but Cambridge has a speedy wishbone offense," said Rader, a ninth-year coach, of a squad that owns a 28-27 win over No. 18 Cardinal Gibbons.
Northeasthas racked up 964 yards rushing and 111 passing.
The Eagles lost their season-opener, 33-12, at Baltimore County's Chesapeake High, which is ranked No. 13 in The Sun poll, before winning three straight home games by a combined 92-20.
The Eagles' stats are impressive, but their victories have come against Archbishop Spalding, Howard County's Mount Hebron and Baltimore County's Dulaney -- teams that have acombined 1-11 record heading into this weekend's games.
Last Friday, Northeast hammered Dulaney, a 4A school that had been held scoreless in its previous three games, 28-0. The other victories were a 30-12 win over the Vikings -- who are 1-3 -- and 34-8 over the Cavaliers-- who are 0-4 and have gone winless in their last 26 games.
A 26-0 loss to neighboring Chesapeake in the 1988 season finale eliminated the Eagles from playoff contention.
This year, the Eagles again end the regular season at home against Chesapeake, but this time, Rader is hoping for different results -- like maybe a Class 2A playoff berth.
"We have a good outlook, and we have a good team. We're not going to back down from anyone," Rader said. "And if any team overlooks us, they're going to wind up on the short end."
The Eagles are no doubt playing with confidence.
Against Dulaney, Northeast treated a homecoming crowd to a brilliant defensive effort.
The Eagles churned out 342 yards of offense -- 329 on the ground -- while holding the Lions to just 46. Lions quarterback Brian Rayme was sacked fourtimes, and the Eagles recovered three fumbles.
One of those fumbles went to Tim Scanlon (nine tackles), a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive lineman, who played his best game of the year with three solos and a sack. Team captain Steve Gorski (6-1, 210) collected nine tackles, with a solo and two sacks.
Safety/running back Lamont Miller (6-2,210) played well on both sides of the ball. He rushed 12 times for 72 yards and had a team-high 11 tackles with six solos and a sack.
A transfer from Youngstown, Ohio, Miller played free safety, running back and quarterback and helped South High to reach the playoffs during his sophomore and junior seasons.
"I feel I'm on a very good team this year and from what I hear, they (Northeast) haven't had one like it in a while," said Miller. The 17-year-old senior who has soloed on 15 of his 21 tackles with three sacks. He also has batted down three passes.
Miller, who has covered 193 yards on 32 carries, said, "Our first game, I think we beat ourselves more than anything. But we've come together since then."
Miller splits time with starters Charles Hoffman, a 5-9, 160-pound halfback (57 carries, 380 yards), and fullback Derek Dolch, a 5-11, 185-pounder (35, 168).
"It's beenall up to the defense mostly, but now our running game is starting to take over," said quarterback K. C. Murphy, who has completed 5 of 12 passes for 111 yards.
The Eagles return to Zastrow Field next week for a game against Harford County's Fallston High (1-3), a team the Eagles beat by a touchdown a year ago. Then the Eagles complete theseason with road games against Easton (Oct. 18) and Southern (Oct. 25) and home games against South River (Nov. 1) and Chesapeake (Nov. 8).