Buck Kimmett, an assistant coach at Poly under Augie Waibel for the last 25 years, ought to know a good high school football team when he sees one. In his mind there's no doubt which is the best in the Maryland Scholastic Association.
"City's the best team in town this year," Kimmett was saying Saturday as he scouted his alma mater in its 20-6 win at Gilman. "City has good size. The offense is bigger than the defense. They can run the football. They have a real good quarterback [Terrance Suber]. I think Gilman is doing a good job just hanging in there with them and making a game of it."
I've seen only a handful of high school games so far this season, but I'm inclined to agree with Kimmett. City, with a 4-0 record, has the look of a champion.
"We have a young team," said George Petrides, City's coach. "Most of these kids will be back next year [including Suber]. That's what makes me happy."
City, 3-0 in MSA competition, plays at Forest Park Friday afternoon. Key games for Petrides' team could come Nov. 1 against unbeaten Calvert Hall and Nov. 15 against Loyola, both at City.
By Thanksgiving afternoon, when Poly and City tangle at Memorial Stadium, the Engineers may be reduced to the role of spoiler of City's title hopes.
* The past weekend was another disastrous one for the state's college football teams. Neither Navy nor Towson State nor Morgan State has yet won a game. Maryland, which has one victory, was again whomped.
The only schools that won Saturday were Western Maryland (4-1) and Johns Hopkins (3-1-1), two teams that were winning a mere one game a year just a couple seasons ago.
Hopkins not only won but shut out Ursinus, 28-0. Around Homewood they're beginning to regard defensive coordinator Bob Benson with wonder. Even head coach Jim Margraff is shaking his head over the work of the youthful assistant he brought to Hopkins with him a year ago.
"Technically, we don't do anything unusual on defense," says Margraff. "We're sound. The main thing Bobby has these kids doing is playing with enthusiasm. We have a saying 'go to the football' and that's what we have 11 guys doing on every play."
The Blue Jays will be going to the football at Muhlenberg this Saturday.
* The most disappointing team in the state is 0-5 Navy. The Middies were expected to make some headway in this, their second season under coach George Chaump. They haven't.
Though Navy is still young, it expected to have at least a couple wins by this point in the season, given its softened schedule.
This week the Middies play at Temple, which is 1-5 and would seem to present a good chance for a Navy win. But Temple only lost to West Virginia over the weekend by a score of 10-9. It's doubtful that Navy could play the Mountaineers that close.
The prospect of Navy playing Notre Dame, as it will on Nov. 2 at South Bend, boggles the mind. It really is about time the two schools called off this ancient rivalry.
* Though Navy's 46-6 rout by Air Force was hardly something the long suffering folks at Annapolis will want to remember, the teams did play the most "national" game of the season in terms of the players' home states.
Navy has players from more states, 37, than any team in the country. Second is the Air Force with 28 states represented. Maryland has players from 14 states, two from D.C. and one -- Lubo Zizakovic -- from Canada.
* To the uninitiated, the second-place finish of Annapolis' Jim Brady in the Cadillac Columbus Cup here over the weekend is a shocker. Is Brady a kid off the docks at Annapolis who went out and did everything but win against a bunch of pros from all over the world? Not on your life.
Brady works for a sail maker and sails full time. In the words of Kin Yellott, who captained the Baltimore boat last year: "Jim's a pro. He's also one heck of a fine sailor."
San Francisco's John Kostecki won the competition.
* The Washington Bullets have long been disappointing on the basketball court. Now they're disappointing off it.
The Landover-based NBA team has sent out a press release heralding what it calls its "new" motto: You Gotta Believe. Really, Bullets. Tug McGraw coined that one 22 years ago when the Mets upset the Orioles in the World Series. If you're going to have a motto at all, you gotta do better than that.