When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Coaches: Paul Bernstorf, St. Paul's (5-0, 1-0); Sean Murphy, Archbishop Curley (6-0, 1-0)
Last meeting: St. Paul's won, 32-7, last season
KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH
St. Paul's: QB Anthony Pino, Jr. (72-for-116 passing for 933 yards, 9 TDs); RB-DB Kaylon Johnson, Sr. (80 carries for 490 yards; 11 catches for 84 yards, 1 TD); RB-LB Keifer Rawlings (35 carries for 190 yards); SR-LB Hunter Pearl, Sr. (20 catches for 279 yards, 3 TDs); WR-DB Alan Koikoi, Jr. (11 catches for 227 yards, 2 TDs); WO-LB Mikey Wynne, Sr. (10 catches for 69 yards); OL Connor Keenan, Sr.; OL-DL Roger Boyce, Sr.; WR-LB Hank Ford, Sr. (7 catches for 97 yards); WR-DB Tre Hamer (6 catches for 126 yards, 1 TD)
Archbishop Curley: RB Deonte Harris, Jr. (56 carries for 668 yards, 11 TDs); RB Marty Costes, Jr. (91 carries for 547 yards, 11 TDs); QB-RB Garrett Reynolds, Sr. (31 carries for 267 yards, 3 TDs); QB Cyrus Boardman, Jr. (20-for-30 passing for 344 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT); TE Nigel Tucker, Sr.; DE-OLB Kiyon Brandford, Jr. (37 tackles, 7 sacks); DE Corey Frisby, Sr. (28 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 INTs, 1 blocked punt); DT Ricardo Johnson, Sr. (29 tackles, 3 sacks); LB Sal Jeppi, Sr. (36 Tackles); DB Nick Farmer, Sr. (25 tackles, 3 INTs)
KEYS TO VICTORY
St. Paul's, the reigning Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference champion, has won 16 straight games, the Baltimore area's second-longest active winning streak behind River Hill's 29. That Crusaders' streak includes two wins over Curley last season.
Before that, however, the Friars had beaten St. Paul's six straight times, including 35-0 in 2011. The Crusaders turned that around with a couple of lopsided victories last fall, 35-8 during the regular season and 32-7 in the B Conference semifinals.
At the midpoint of the season, not many teams remain undefeated, but the B Conference has three: St. Paul's, Curley and 5-0 Boy's Latin. It's the only league in the Baltimore area with more than one unbeaten team.
"St. Paul's is the team to beat in our league," Murphy said. "They're still the best team right now. I've seen them on film and they're still very good. This is a huge game for our kids."
St. Paul's and Curley have played comparable schedules through the first half of the season with one common opponent, A Conference rival Loyola. The Crusaders beat the Dons, 26-21 in the season opener, and Curley beat them, 39-7 a month ago.
Last season, both teams relied heavily on the running game with St. Paul's All-Metro running back Dale Harris and Curley wing back Nik D'Avanzo (an All-Metro defensive tackle). This season, both rely more on a committee of running backs but also have solid passing games.
The Crusaders take to the air a little more with Pino starting for a third season. In last week's 34-7 win over John Carroll, the team St. Paul's also beat in last fall's B Conference final, Pino completed 10-of-17 passes for 215 yards and four touchdowns.
Johnson, who backed up Harris last year, stepped into that running back role, with Hamer also playing a key role in the Crusaders' run. Bernstorf also pointed to Ford and Koikoi easily handling starting roles at wide receiver.
"We're a little bit different than we've been in the past," Bernstorf said, "but the kids are playing really well together.
For Murphy, the line will be key in whether Pino has a big game.
"In high school football, it always comes down to the guys up front," he said. "If we run block and get pressure on Anthony, we'll be okay. If we don't, it will be a long afternoon."
Deonte Harris plays a big role for the Friars. In a 49-35 win over Caravel, Del., last month, he ran nine times for 151 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for 165 yards and a touchdown. In the same game, Costes had 16 carries for 132 yards and four touchdowns.
"They've changed their offense a little bit," Bernstorf said of the Friars, who earlier this season won the 100th game in Murphy's career.
"In the past they were kind of a double wing-T. This year, they've changed to a shotgun offense. They're still a power running game, but they have more diversity in their offense and they can throw the ball a little bit more. They make big plays happen. [Harris] is scoring 50, 60-yard touchdowns on a regular basis, so they've got a lot of different weapons as well. Hopefully, it will be an exciting game for everybody."
Other games to watch
No. 6 Dunbar at City, Friday, 3:45 p.m.
Patterson at Douglass, Friday, 3:45 p.m.
Kenwood vs. Dundalk at CCBC-Dundalk, Friday, 7 p.m.
Aberdeen at North Harford, Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 4 McDonogh vs. No. 13 St. Frances at Utz Field, Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
twitter.com/kdunnsunCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun