The western side of the Beltway has been kind to Perry Hall's football team lately, but the biggest roadblock is ahead.
Last week, the Gators upset Randallstown in the rain, and yesterday they overpowered Franklin, 27-6, in the sunshine.
Now they prepare for fourth-ranked Woodlawn, which remained undefeated by edging Parkville yesterday.
Perry Hall (4-1) overpowered the Indians with its superior size and a relentless ground game that produced 378 yards and four touchdowns.
"We were a lot bigger and stronger," said Gators coach Joe Stoy. "But that won't be the case next week."
Franklin coach Claude Darr, whose team lost to the Warriors, 30-8, wouldn't hazard a guess about the outcome.
"They match up very well," said Darr. "Both have size and speed. I'd hate to have to bet on that game."
The Indians (2-3) started as if they intended to ignore their physical disadvantage. They drove the opening kickoff 69 yards to a touchdown in 11 plays, taking a 6-0 lead.
But Perry Hall answered with a 59-yard touchdown drive featuring the option running of quarterback Ryan Burks. The Gators went ahead for good with 5:48 left in the first quarter on Jason Bloom's conversion kick.
As the game wore on, the Indians wore down. Perry Hall running backs Mandel Marsh (172 yards) and Mark Franklin (100 yards) each carried 14 times behind an effective line anchored by 299-pound tackle Charles Adams.
"I was afraid we would have trouble stopping them," said Darr. "I was hoping at least to get into a track meet [high-scoring game], but it didn't work out that way."
Franklin completed six of 20 passes, and two key ones were intercepted, one by Gators defensive back Jeff Burrows when it was threatening midway through the third period. Perry Hall led at the time, 20-6.
Jason Whitaker picked off the other to halt Franklin's final serious threat.
The Gators had difficulty figuring out the Franklin offense early. The Indians run what lines up as a single wing and operates like the run-and-shoot.
"We have so many kids playing so many positions, sometimes it's hard to figure out who's supposed to be in," said Darr. "But we have to play that way because of our talent. We can't wear people down. Everybody else is just getting so darn big."
Perry Hall 7 6 14 0 -- 27
Franklin ..6 0 0 0 -- 6