3-0 Gophers face big test vs. Knights



Week No. 4 in the high school football season has not been good to Glen Burnie over the last decade and it has definitely been a Gopher hex the last two seasons.

Going 6-4 in each of the last two seasons, the Gophers have started off 2-1 with early-season hopes of making the playoffs only to fade at mid-season or down the stretch.

North County has started the slide in Game 4 in each of the last two seasons, and the No. 11 Knights (1-2) visit the Gophers (3-0) tonight in a crucial 4A East region game.

The Gophers have had three winning seasons (43-57 through 1994) in the last 10 years and gone .500 (5-5) in 1991 and 1989 while opposing coaches have frequently called them a team to watch.

This year's 3-0 start is the best since a 6-1 start in 1991 when the Gophers lost their final three games. Coach Dave Rigot (83-100, including 3-0 in 1995) has never had a team make the playoffs in his 19 years of coaching.

Tonight, the Gophers hope to chart a new course when the defending 4A state champion Knights come calling. North County notched its first win last week by 14-13 over Chesapeake Glen Burnie slipped past Northern (1-2) of Calvert County, 18-14, with Bobby Beale running for 128 yards and the game-winning touchdown.

The Gophers have played North County four times since 1991 and have yet to win. North County took last year's meeting, 20-14, but with a junior-dominated squad this season, the Knights are vulnerable.

There is quite a contrast in offensive philosophies with the Gophers' smash-mouth rushing attack against the Knights' run-and-shoot.

In its first three games, Glen Burnie has rushed for 795 yards while passing for just under 200 yards. Beale has run for 369 on 45 attempts and scored four touchdowns and quarterback Lenny Holmes has gone 11-for-21 passing.

North County quarterback Maurice Bowie has completed 36 of 72 passes for 354 yards, but the Knights' ground game has been nearly nonexistent with barely over 100 total yards.

The Knights were held to two rushing yards in a season-opening 58-29 loss to Eleanor Roosevelt and were blanked, 21-0, in Week 2 by Crossland.

This game could make or break the season for both teams. A Glen Burnie victory could give the Gophers a confidence they haven't had before and would all but end the playoff chances for the Knights.

In other 4A East region action tonight, Meade visits Severna Park -- both are 2-1 and coming off impressive triumphs. Roman Harrison ran for 176 yards as Meade edged Friendly (1-2), 28-20, and Jihad Morris gained 136 yards to pace Severna Park's 28-27 overtime win over Calvert (2-1).

Severna Park is one of five county schools presenting homecoming this weekend. No. 5 Arundel (3-0) is among them and will entertain Chesapeake (1-2) at 1 p.m. tomorrow. The Wildcats' 1975 state champion football team will be recognized at halftime.

Arundel humbled Broadneck, 32-7, last week with Gene Collins running for 142 yards. Broadneck (0-3) is also having its homecoming with Dundalk (1-2) as a 1 p.m. foe.

The other homecomings are at Old Mill and Southern.

Annapolis visits Old Mill in a matchup of 2-1 4A East teams while Queen Anne's goes to Harwood for a meeting of 0-3 teams.

Annapolis routed Southern (0-3) of Baltimore, 41-0, as Brandt Hager rushed for 162 yards. Old Mill nipped Queen Anne's, 7-3, on a third-period, 15-yard touchdown run by quarterback Chuck Manns.

Top-ranked Mount St. Joseph (3-0) visits Anne Arundel Community tonight to play St. Mary's (2-1). The Saints are coming off a 15-14 loss to No. 13 Severn (3-0).

Severn puts its perfect record on the line at John Carroll in Harford County at noon tomorrow.

The remainder of tonight's schedule finds No. 8 Aberdeen at South River; Northeast (1-2) traveling to Einstein (1-2) in Montgomery County; and Archbishop Spalding (1-3) at Boys' Latin (2-1) in MIAA B Conference action at 4 p.m.

Aberdeen (2-1) meets South River (2-1). The Seahawks made it two in a row Saturday with a 35-12 romp over Surrattsville (0-3). They dominated Chesapeake, 18-3, the week before.

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