This weekend's featured football games

October 17, 1997|By Rick Belz

No. 15 Long Reach (5-1) at Howard (4-2)

When: Tonight, 7: 30 p.m.

Outlook: No county rivalry is hotter than this one. Many of Howard's former players are now at second-year Long Reach, a technology-magnet school, and the Lions would like nothing better than to show those players they should have stayed at Howard. Long Reach nipped Oakland Mills 7-6 last week and is on track to host the Class 2A playoff opener. Howard needs to win the rest of its games to insure a playoff spot after losing last week to Hammond, 35-18. Long Reach excels on defense, scoring three shutouts and giving up only eight points a game. But the Lightning has had problems generating offense. jTC Howard's chief problem has been a defense that allows 25 points a game. That may mean Long Reach's offense will get healthy, but can it match Howard's 31-points-a-game offense? And can the Lightning stop the league's No. 2 rusher, Gerald Smith, who has 769 yards and 14 touchdowns? Long Reach won last year's inaugural, 14-0.

No. 10 Wilde Lake (6-0) at Centennial (3-3)

When: Tomorrow, 1: 30 p.m.

Outlook: Earlier this season, this looked like it might be a hot match-up, especially since Centennial has never beaten Wilde Lake. Then Centennial lost two starting linemen, and things went downhill for the Eagles. Now the Wildecats, with a strong running attack that features Brandon Finney (624 yards) and Danny Bayron (607 yards), appear to be heads-and-shoulders above the rest of the league -- including Centennial, which defeated beaten-up Atholton last week 21-14. The Wildecats crushed River Hill last week, 47-0. Wilde Lake won last season's encounter with the Eagles, 29-7.

Hammond (3-3) at Oakland Mills (3-3)

When: Tomorrow, 1: 30 p.m.

Outlook: Both teams cling to Class 1A playoff hopes, and either could do some damage if it makes the playoffs. But the loser can forget about it, so this contest should be fiercely fought. Hammond is coming off consecutive wins over Centennial and Howard and has the size to run the football. Oakland Mills, a 7-6 loser to Long Reach last week, also likes to run and features league-leading rusher Vinnie Rubbo (840 yards), who leads the metro area with 138 carries. Oakland Mills crushed Hammond last season, 42-14.

Glenelg (3-3) at Atholton (3-3)

When: Tomorrow, 1: 30 p.m.

Outlook: The records are identical. So are the teams' directions. Atholton has lost two straight and Glenelg two of its last three, so both appear to be in down-spins. Both are well-coached, and the winner may come down to which team is healthier. Atholton coach Kevin Kelly is uncertain if RB Lamar Porter will return after missing last week's game with an injury. And Atholton's line is stretched to its limit. One more injury to a lineman would be devastating. Glenelg likes to pass, and sophomore QB Zach McQuigg has completed 49 of 99 for 592 yards and four touchdowns. Atholton defeated Glenelg last season, 39-0.

River Hill (0-6) at Mount Hebron (1-5)

When: Tomorrow, 2: 15 p.m.

Outlook: These are the league's two weakest teams, so figure on seeing a competitive, hard-hitting game as each tries for a win to highlight its season. Mount Hebron nearly upset Glenelg last week before losing, 21-13. Second-year River Hill lost 47-0 to Wilde Lake and hasn't come close to a victory after winning only once last season. Mount Hebron defeated River Hill last season, 40-12.

Pub Date: 10/17/97

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