Weekend openers include important matchups

SIDELINES

September 09, 1994|By PAT O'MALLEY

Here's hoping you guys are as excited about the start of the high school football season as I am. It's great to be back talking high school football, and we've got 14 games on tap this weekend in the county.

Archbishop Spalding got the jump on everybody with a season-opening 34-13 victory over Model School of Washington last week, and the Cavaliers are among the 15 county schools playing this weekend. Glen Burnie, St. Mary's, South River and Arundel play host to what figure to be the best games on tonight's slate.

Glen Burnie entertains DuVal of Prince George's County. DuVal won only two games in 1993, but one of them was a home- and season-opening 13-6 decision over the Class 4A Gophers.

It's a very important opener for coach Dave Rigot's team in that the Gophers need to get off to a fast start if they expect to entertain playoff hopes. Glen Burnie is expected to open without standout quarterback Jermaine Smith, who has a broken thumb and might not be back until the third or fourth game.

Class 3A Broadneck follows and the Bruins will be out to avenge last year's 33-14 loss to Glen Burnie.

The Saints (7-3 last year) play host to Pallotti (6-4) of Laurel at Weems Whalen Field in Annapolis at 7 tonight.

Veteran Pallotti coach Stu Mackintosh always has loved to pass and the Saints' inexperienced defense should get an early test. Saints coach Brad Best hopes his offense, with Jason Lilly running and Brad Davis throwing, will keep the ball away from Pallotti.

South River (3-7) plays host to perennially tough Lackey (8-2) of Charles County. Lackey edged the Seahawks, 12-7, last year and it led to a season-opening three-game losing streak for them.

An aggressive Arundel (6-4) team will be out to avenge last year's 28-15 loss to Northern (8-2) at home tonight. Northern plays in the same 4A East Region with Anne Arundel County's 4A teams, thus, the importance of the game.

Broadneck is the site of the only game on the schedule matching two Anne Arundel teams in the host Bruins (6-4) and Old Mill (1-9). The Class 3A Bruins have high hopes for the playoffs while the Patriots are lean and expected to go without junior starting quarterback and All-County punter Chuck Manns, who has a pulled hamstring.

Jason Smith, the Bruins' preseason honorable-mention All-America pass receiver according to Street & Smith's, might drive the Patriots nuts trying to catch him, as he did in last year's 13-0 Broadneck victory.

Other county games tonight find Class 2A state runner-up Southern, Northeast and Severna Park in their own backyards.

Coming off the greatest season in school history, Southern (11-2) entertains Howard County's Hammond High (7-3).

Count Hammond, a 41-0 loser to Southern last year, among those lining up for paybacks with Buck Gardner's Dawgs. Gardner is the first to know there won't be any easy games this season when your team is the hunted.

Northeast won only two games last season after dropping a 13-6 opener to Atholton (5-5) of Howard County, tonight's 7 o'clock opponent in Pasadena. Any chance of a turnaround for the Eagles will have to start here.

The Mark Frye Show opens at 7:30 tonight in Severna Park when the 4A Falcons (8-2) play 4A Queen Anne's (3-7) of the Eastern Shore. Frye will be running and catching on offense, running back kicks and punts, and making his presence known in the secondary.

Two other 4A teams, Annapolis (7-3) and Chesapeake (4-6) are on the road tonight along with Archbishop Spalding (1-9). Annapolis visits Largo (7-3) in Prince George's and has not won ** its season opener since 1987 (16-8 over Friendly), losing six straight openers and all five while Roy Brown has been head coach.

Spalding visits Catoctin (4-6) in Frederick County to face a Catoctin team that returns nearly its entire defense that blanked Spalding, 27-0, last year.

Defending 4A champion North County (9-2) is among three county teams opening tomorrow. The Knights visit Eleanor Roosevelt (4-6) in Prince George's, a team they routed, 39-14, last year on the way to the playoffs.

Meade (2-8) visits Laurel (6-4), considered to be one of the top two teams in Prince George's County and ranked No. 9 in The Washington Post Top 20. Coach Jerry Hartman's Mustangs will have to contain Darnell Eatmon, one of the state's top running backs, to get the same result as last year's 20-19 win over Laurel.

Finally, Severn School starts at Bullis School in D.C. in a matchup of two teams that went 4-6 a year ago. Running !B back/linebacker John Vereen is the Admirals' main man and the impact player coach Jim Doyle hopes will get his team off to a fast start.

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