The difference between a good football team and a bad one is not always what one team does right, but rather, what it doesn't do wrong.
Mervo proved that yesterday. The visiting Mustangs out-mistaked Patterson, and were outscored as well, 28-0.
Patterson, ranked seventh in The Baltimore Sun top 20, is 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference. Mervo is 1-3 and 1-2.
"We work real hard not to beat ourselves," said Clippers coach Roger Wrenn, whose team scored in nearly every way imaginable -- touchdowns, two-point conversions, a field goal and a safety.
Mervo, which hasn't scored in two weeks, started beating itself from the game's opening drive and didn't stop until the game ended.
The first oversight was a defensive one. When Patterson senior Roger Main caught a 5-yard slant over the middle, he found himself alone, going untouched for a 40-yard touchdown.
On a later possession, Mervo moved the ball down to Patterson's 11, but was moved back 15 yards by an illegal forward pass.
When the Mustangs had Patterson punting from deep in its own end -- certain to give Mervo good field position -- a Mustangs player ran into the Patterson punter.
Patterson got a first down and scored a touchdown on that drive.
Mervo tried a punt from deep in its own end, but the snap sailed over the punter's head. Patterson recorded a safety on the play.
And all that was in the first half.
Patterson didn't move the ball much better than the Mustangs, who had the ball inside the 20 several times but couldn't score, but the Clippers took advantage of their opportunities.
"We win by doing the hidden things," Wrenn said.
The virtually mistake-free game was another example of Wrenn's almost scientific approach to football.
"You can't get emotionally charged up for each game," he said. "You have to play well in a prepared manner and you have to execute."