Wilde Lake has won 24 football games in a row, but don't tell that to a Wildecats player.
"Right now, we're thinking about 3-0, not 24-0," Wilde Lake running back Andre Martin said. "We've got to win three games. Right now, we're 1-0."
That win came yesterday, when the Wildecats trounced Easton, 43-7, in the first round of the Maryland Class 1A football playoffs. No. 2 Wilde Lake is two wins away from a state championship with a date against unranked Milford Mill (8-3) Saturday.
Wilde Lake, which won the 2A title last season, is trying to become the sixth team to win back-to-back Maryland football titles.
"The kids are pretty focused," said 19th-year Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVall, whose teams have won or shared eight Howard County titles. "They want to go back-to-back. I told them at the beginning of the season it's easier to become a champion than to stay a champion."
That might be true, but the Wildecats (11-0) are playing in the 1A playoffs after a season in which they dominated a schedule of five 2A teams and five 3A teams.
Easton (6-5) was the first 1A team the Wildecats had seen all year. The Warriors clearly were not in the same class as Wilde Lake, which had more size, more speed and, well, more talent.
Wilde Lake out-gained Easton, 327-157, and about half of the Warriors' yards came against Wilde Lake's second-stringers. Wildecats running backs Martin and Damon Hamlin ran for 126 and 87 yards, respectively. Martin scored one touchdown on a 74-yard sideline sprint. Hamlin scored three, building his season total to 21 touchdowns. Hamlin has rushed for 1,130 yards this year.
"They're both really solid players," DuVall said. "They run hard. They block hard."
The Wildecats have been dominating all season. They have not been ranked lower than No. 3 in The Baltimore Sun's poll, and they spent two weeks at No. 1. They are among the area leaders in scoring (358 points in 11 games, 32 avg.) and scoring defense (47 points in 11 games, 4.3 avg.).