Mount St. Joseph, coached by Mike Working, is the state's top-ranked football team, and is rated No. 8 in the East Region by USA Today.
The Gaels, ranked No. 1 in the area, entered last weekend at No. 2 in the Associated Press State Poll, but then-No. 1 Seneca Valley, winner of the last three 3A state titles, had its 26-game winning streak ended by Gaithersburg, 20-17.
Now the Gaels (9-0, 4-0 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association's A Conference) have the state's longest active winning streak at 13.
Mount St. Joseph becomes only the fourth area team to hold the state's No. 1 mantle. City was ranked No. 1 during the final week of 1992, and again for five weeks in 1993 before having its near three-year long, 29-game winning streak halted, 21-20, by Poly in the final regular-season game.
Before that, North County was No. 1 for a week in 1993, and 3A state champ Randallstown was No. 1 in 1990.
Mount St. Joseph was 11-19 over the last three seasons, including 3-7 the year before Working arrived from McDonogh in 1994. Since then, it is 17-1.
The Gaels have outscored their opponents by a combined 412-70 (or an average of 45.7-9.7). They have shutouts over Calvert Hall, 55-0, both Annapolis and Gibbons by 43-0, and Gilman by 42-0.
But among its opponents, only St. Mary's (6-3), a 26-12 loser, has a winning record.
The Gaels have tied the state record for total points in a 10-game season (established by Smithsburg in 1973), and should break it Saturday. Just 22 points separates St. Joe from an average of 43.4 points and breaking the record (43.37) set in 1925 by St. James (347 points in eight games).
Gaels running back Archie Wannamaker (1,731 yards, 33 touchdowns) is the area's top scorer, but ranks second among area rushers behind Kenwood's Steve Kelley (1,864 yards, 32 touchdowns).
Wannamaker's 368 yards against City last week established a state record, and his seven rushing touchdowns -- equaled by Kelley against Parkville (47-0) a night earlier -- are also a state record.