Southern of Anne Arundel's 39-14 rout of county rival South River on Friday night earned the Bulldogs their first 2A state playoff berth since being runners-up to Damascus in 1993.
That '93 team routed three-time defending state champion Wilde Lake, 48-0, during the regular season, and beat Potomac of Prince George's County and Dunbar of Baltimore City in the playoffs.
This year's Bulldogs (7-3) will try to end defending state champion Hereford's 23-game winning streak in Friday night's quarterfinal in Harwood, as the state playoffs get under way. Southern is among 14 area teams in the playoffs from Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard and Harford counties.
Chris Lee led the Bulldogs with 259 rushing yards and three touchdowns Friday, coming within 10 yards of the school's single-game rushing record. Among the Bulldogs' assortment of speedy running backs, Lee, R'Mond Mapp and Andrew Peresta - who had a spectacular 55-yard scoring run during which he reversed fields - are all sprinters in indoor and outdoor track.
Quarterback Justin Holland executed fakes and optioned nicely out of a wishbone attack that generated 455 rushing yards. Holland scored a 33-yard touchdown and, as a linebacker, ranked second with 11 tackles behind Derrelle Taylor (16).
Sophomore Bobby Atwell returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a score and had an interception. Mapp intercepted his fifth pass of the year and Brian Moulden broke up two passes - one in the end zone. Justin Underwood recovered two fumbles.
Who's No. 1?
Their seasons are over, but the debate will rage on.
Top-ranked Gilman (10-0) is ranked No. 1 in the state by the Associated Press and No. 15 nationally by USA Today. Georgetown Prep (9-0) of Rockville is rated No. 2 by AP.
Throughout the season, Maryland high school football observers have wondered which team is better.
Georgetown Prep is led by running back Marcus Mason, who has a state-record 5,762 career rushing yards and ranks second in the state with 6,175 career total offensive yards behind Gilman's All-Metro quarterback Ambrose Wooden. For his career, Wooden has rushed for 4,033 yards and 46 touchdowns and thrown for 3,228 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Gilman has played a tougher schedule, having beaten DeMatha of Hyattsville, four-time state champ Urbana and Calvert Hall - ranked No. 3 in The Sun. Georgetown Prep's 31-game winning streak includes a 37-0 rout of a Loyola team Gilman defeated, 34-21.
Last Monday, Georgetown Prep coach and athletic director Dan Paro called Gilman athletic director Tim Holley to try to arrange a game this weekend.
"Having canceled a game with Ballou due to the sniper attacks, circumstances were unusual enough to try it even though our league limits us to 10 games and says our season has to end by the second week of November," Paro said. "I would still have had to get the OK from our league."
But the game won't come off. Gilman begins its winter sports practices this week.
"It would be unfair to ask basketball and wrestling coaches to delay the start of their seasons on a week's notice," Holley said.
All-Metro running back-receiver Keon Lattimore of Mount St. Joseph said he has narrowed his college picks to Maryland, Virginia, N.C. State and possibly North Carolina.
Lattimore said he expects to visit N.C. State on Dec. 12, Maryland on Dec. 20 and Virginia on Jan. 16. He has not yet scheduled a date for North Carolina.
Though he is considering the schools equally, Lattimore said: "Maryland would be a good fit because they want me as a slot back. Their system is similar to the one I played in at St. Joe."
Lattimore had been considering both Michigan State and Miami - the latter being the alma mater of his brother, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. But he recently canceled each visit.
Lattimore is being recruited primarily as a running back and receiver. He dropped Miami because the Hurricanes wanted him as a defensive back. And he canceled the trip to Michigan State after last week's firing of coach Bobby Williams, but said he would reconsider if the program hired Redskins defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis.
This weekend's playoff quarterfinals will feature four games that are rematches from the regular season. In Class 4A, third-seeded Suitland has a 13-6 win over No. 6 seed Parkdale. In 2A, eighth seed City already has lost to top seed Edmondson, 26-6, and sixth seed Stephen DeCatur lost to third seed Wicomico, 35-0. And in 1A, fifth seed Bo Manor has a 27-16 win over fourth seed Havre de Grace.