Orcenio Moore's first name means "doer of good deads," according to his mother, Karen West. And Moore, a senior nose guard for Dunbar, proved worthy of his moniker several years ago.
When Moore was in the seventh grade, he was playing in front of his home in Owings Mills when he saw a woman being mugged and knocked to the ground by two young men.
He yelled out, "Leave her alone," and the men ran away. The woman was unharmed.
Not long after the incident, West received a letter of thanks from the woman. "She wrote that she just wanted to show her appreciation to Orcenio for being there," West said. "She said my son saved her life."
Moore might not be the savior for the defending Class 1A state champion Poets, but he did make the most of his first appearance in a game this season, as he registered two sacks in a 30-6 victory over Baltimore City Division I rival City on Sept. 16.
"Orcenio did a good job," said Travis Blackiston, an assistant to Dunbar coach Ben Eaton. "Since his junior year, he's coming along."
Getting the hang of it
Had it been a year ago, Digital Harbor might have succumbed to pressure after falling behind in its second football game of the season on Sept. 16 against Southside Academy.
But second-year coach Lonnie Hartley likes the way his Rams rebounded for a 20-14 overtime victory over Southside, their rivals in Baltimore City's Division II.
"This is our first full year as Digital Harbor [formally Southern of Baltimore] and the players understand the system better," said Hartley, whose team, a second-year varsity program, was 2-7 last year. "The players are closer, more cohesive. I like the direction we're going in."
Trailing 14-8, against Southside, Rams receiver Brandon Armstrong caught scoring passes of 45 and 10 yards from Herbert Hopkins.
Linebacker Ryan Peacock and nose guard-right tackle Christopher White are key defensive players for the Rams (1-2), who host Southwestern in a Division II game Friday.
Small player, big heart
There are larger, more talented players on Gilman's top-ranked football team than 5-foot-2, 130-pound Joey Valentine, but there's probably few with a bigger heart.
About a week after the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, Valentine said he approached Gilman coach Biff Poggi at a preseason practice with an idea that has since become a school-wide endeavor.
Gilman students bring to school backpacks loaded with "toys, toiletries, food, school supplies and other things the hurricane victims might need," said Valentine, a junior reserve running back for the six-time Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champs.
Valentine said the effort has spread to students campus-wide.
A Sparrows Point resident, Valentine said he recalls the damage two years ago caused in that region by tropical storm Isabel, particularly the flooding of nearby Jones Creek, a tributary of the Patapsco River.
"I had heard about [the supply drive] being done somewhere else," Valentine said. "So I just figured, any way we can help [Katrina victims] out, we should try to do it."
Gilman also has raised the price of admission to its homecoming dance to $6, said Valentine, with a portion of the price going toward hurricane relief.
Year of firsts
It has been a year of firsts for the Samuel Banks football team.
After going 20-0 over two seasons as a junior varsity program, the Lions promptly lost their first two varsity games to Forest Park, 38-7, and, Northwestern, 22-16, in overtime.
They got their first win Friday, however, 42-20 over Southside Academy.
Samuel Banks, of coach Rashi Pinckney, nevertheless, takes an upbeat approach into Friday's game against Division II rival Carver, whom the Lions will meet in their first night contest at Morgan State University at 6.
"We have 14 seniors on the team, and they're excited," Pinckney said. "For the players moving up to varsity, there was some adjustment, mentally, that had to be made to the speed and the general pace of the varsity game. It's my belief that they are starting to make those adjustments, and [the Carver game] could be our opportunity to showcase that."
Part of the Lions' adjustment was the development of two first-year quarterbacks, senior Devin Jefferson, a first-year high school player, and freshman Jonathan Perry.
Among the seniors Pinckney is high on are linebacker-running back Daronte Bennett (5-11, 192), tight end-fullback-linebacker Donte Scott (6 feet, 215), wide receiver-linebacker Dwayne Cheatom, strong safety-tight end Brandon Matthews and 6-foot, 265-pound two-way linemen Aaron Kinsey and Darrell Easter.
Bennett had 141 yards and five touchdowns against Southside.
In her first two years at Western, Kacie Ruark played a more defensive role for the Doves girls soccer team. Now, she's breaking out as a scorer.
The junior attacking midfielder had a hand in all but one of the nine goals the Doves scored last week. She had two goals and two assists in a 5-0 win over Poly and three goals and an assist in a 4-0 win over City.