COLLEGE PARK -- And The Streak goes on and on. No, not Cal Ripken's. This one is in football, at Maryland, strung together by four place-kickers. Its longevity rests now on the left foot of Dan DeArmas.
In the long ago of 1984, Jess Atkinson made his final 13 extra-point attempts that season, launching The Streak. Ramon Paredes followed Atkinson with 13-for-13 and Dan Plocki added 92 straight over three-plus seasons through 1988. DeArmas has been faultless in 55 attempts since 1989.
DeArmas' 8-for-8 this year has raised The Streak to 173, a Maryland and Atlantic Coast Conference record. The NCAA record of 262 was established by Syracuse from 1978 to 1989.
"I take pride in it, but I don't look at it so much as a streak but that every extra point counts," DeArmas said. "I mean, if I don't make it, it could cost us the game. It would take away from my concentration if I thought of it only as a streak."
In his three seasons as the Terps' place-kicker, DeArmas has converted 28 of his 37 field goal attempts, including 3-for-3 this season. And in his fourth season as the punter, he already has one school career record and is likely to set another when Maryland plays at Wake Forest tomorrow (1 p.m., WBAL-AM 1090).
With 221 punts, DeArmas is on the verge of passing Dale Castro, Maryland's all-time leader with 224 from 1978-80. DeArmas passed Castro in yards last week, raising his total to 8,731 with nine punts for 390 yards (43.3 average) against Georgia Tech.
"I'm confident in my punting right now," DeArmas said. "My hang time is good and most of the punts have been caught. Only one has gone into the end zone."
DeArmas has pronounced himself fit after nursing a bruised knee for a few days early this week. He suffered the injury against Georgia Tech, but participated in practice Wednesday with no ill effects.
DeArmas learned to kick at the age of 8 when he played soccer as well as football in Miami. His father sometimes videotaped NFL games, enabling Dan to watch punters over and over.
"Then I would go out and punt, punt, punt," DeArmas said. "We didn't have a lot of money and I only had one ball, so I'd punt and chase. Because of soccer, I always knew how to place-kick."
DeArmas was named second team all-state in Florida in his senior year at Columbus High and was looked at by a lot of the major colleges. But he hadn't attended summer kicking camps, which coaches consider so important.
He was about to go to the University of Florida as a walk-on when a friend called the Maryland coaches to report he had a kicking prospect in Miami. DeArmas became a rarity at Maryland -- a kicker who arrived on campus with a scholarship in hand.
"Most kickers walk on," coach Joe Krivak said. "Atkinson did. It's not wise to give a kicker a scholarship because if he can't kick, you're stuck."
But the Terps were in a bind. Plocki, a place-kicker but not a punter, had only a year left. More important, Krivak needed a punter immediately because the one he had was an academic risk.
A year after DeArmas arrived here, his family followed. After 24 years with Eastern Airlines as a mechanic, his father, Dan, became concerned about the company's stability following a strike and got a job with an aerospace firm in Sterling, Va.
The DeArmas family settled in Adelphi to be close to Maryland and DeMatha High. The family first picked the school (DeMatha) and then found a house nearby, mainly for the benefit of Dan's brother, Dave, also a kicker.
When Dan DeArmas has a kicking or punting problem, he turns to Paul Tortorella, Maryland's special teams coach. Tortorella learned a lot about the needs of kickers from Krivak's successor, Bobby Ross.
"Dan can feel a mistake, but can't always see it," Tortorella said. "I point out things he can't see.
When Dan leaves, the DeArmas name will go on at Maryland. Brother Dave, one of the country's most sought-after high school kickers last year, is now a Terp freshman.
* Defensive back Andre Vaughn, a junior out of Oakland Mills in Columbia, and five other players won't make the trip to Wake Forest because of injuries.
Vaughn hurt his left knee in practice this week -- the same knee that required major reconstructive surgery 2 1/2 years ago. The other injured players are punt returner Mike Hopson, linebacker Greg Hines, offensive linemen Ron Staffileno and Kevin Arline and running back Mark Mason, who's out for the season with a broken leg.