Yes, sports fans, Prophet Pat is back!
Summer is over, and pigskins are in the air, and that means you get your weekly dose of the "rage of a sage."
Lest you forgot, he was 73-28 for a percentage of .723 in high school football last season.
Overall for the school year, the Prophet was 171-80, a percentage of .684.
As usual, opening week is a big one with 14 games involving 15 county teams on tap. So, let's don'twaste any time and see what came up on the Prophet's crystal ball.
Randallstown (12-0 last year) at Annapolis (5-5), 7:30 p.m. Friday, "Upset of the Week"
Everything points to an Annapolis upset of the defending state 4A champion Rams who come in having won the last two over the Panthers by scores of 14-13 (1989) and 14-6 (1990).
On the way to winning the state title, one of the toughest games the Rams got was from Coach Roy Brown's Panthers. A lot of those Panthers are gone, but Brown is getting excited about his young team especially after it held its own last week in a scrimmage against Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference power Loyola of Towson.
Loyolais ranked No. 2 in The Sun preseason top 15, Randallstown No. 7 and Annapolis not there -- yet.
With the naming of the football field in honor of the late Al Laramore to take place at 7:15 p.m., it will be an emotionally charged night.
Added incentives are the opportunity to beat the defending
champ, shooting for the playoffs (the Panthers didn't make it last season for the first time in six years) and starting in front of what should be a great home crowd.
Look forthe Annapolis defense and a bevy of scatbacks to make the differencein a big upset. Annapolis 20, Randallstown 13.
High Point (8-2) at Severna Park (7-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday
This is a big game, because the winner will gobble up the bonus points down the road. Teamsget an additional bonus point each time a team they beat wins later,and this meeting at George Roberts Field pits two of the highest regarded teams in the state.
Visiting High Point is a 4A contender inPrince George's County and ranked No. 11 by The Washington Post, while Severna Park is defending county champ, ranked No. 10 by The Post and No. 5 by The Sun.
Look for John Jennings to run around and past Eagles' hulking defensive tackle Kevin Martin, who stands at 6-feet-7 and 270 pounds, and score a couple of touchdowns. Also, Gerald Cager will intercept an enemy pass from Dave Walsh and run it back for six points.
Coach Andy Borland will begrinning from ear to ear afterward when the Falcons present him the game ball for career win No. 100. Severna Park 27, High Point 21.
McDonough of Charles County (12-1) at Arundel (5-5), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Coach Buddy Hepfer's Wildcats are expected to be much improved, but they're very young andfacing the defending state 3A champion from the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference.
It's not so much that McDonough carries the banner of defending champion, but that the banner is carried by Sherron Gudger. The 5-foot-8, 170-pound running back is a senior and could beawesome.
Last year as a junior, Gudger rambled for a state record2,700 yards and 24 touchdowns. So what's the guy do for an encore?
Whatever he does Friday night, it will be enough to bury the youthful Wildcats. McDonough 34, Arundel 14.
South River (6-4) at Broadneck (3-7), 7:30 p.m. Friday
This is the only game this weekend matching county foes and should be a banger. South River took a 7-6decision a year ago, but look for Coach Jeff Herrick's Bruins to turn the tables tomorrow night.
The Bruin defense will prevail over the Hawks. Broadneck 14, South River 0.
Old Mill (9-2) at LaPlata, Charles County (3-7), 7:30 p.m. Friday
The home team has a huge defensive lineman in 6-foot-4, 300-pound tackle Joe Thompson, but he won't be enough to stop the Patriots, who are looking for an encore of 1990.
On the way to making the playoffs for the first time inschool history last season, the Pats opened by pummeling LaPlata, 33-0. This should be a rerun with Old Mill scoring early and often. OldMill 28, LaPlata 0.
Southern (4-6) at Calvert of Calvert County (1-9), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Coach Buck Gardner's big moment is going to have to wait at least a week, because the Prophet feels confident the Dawgs can win their opener despite being on the road.
Gardner is one away from 100 career losses at 71-99, but the big moment won't happen here against a club the Dawgs handled, 12-3, a year ago. Southern 16, Calvert 6.
Severn (8-2) at Model School of D.C. (8-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Both these clubs already have opened their seasons, Severn losing to Bishop Walsh of Cumberland, 29-14, and Model getting routed by St. Mary's, 37-0.
The Admirals should give first-year head coach Jim Doyle his first win. Look for Jake Mack to do something big. Severn 14, Model 13.
Catoctin (1-9) vs. Archbishop Spalding (0-8-1) at Bronco Field, Brooklyn Park, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Poor Spalding. None of the guys on this Cavalier squad ever has tasted a high school victory, and it's not going to happen tomorrow night.
The Prophet predicts that Class 1A Catoctin will be one of the most improved teams in Frederick County because ex-Severn coach Doug Williams is their new head mentor. Williams' coaching will show through in the season-opener, and the Cavs will lose a thriller. Catoctin 21, Spalding 13.
John Carroll (3-7) vs. St. Mary's (8-2) at Anne Arundel Community College, 7 p.m. Friday
Coach Brad Best has the Saints on the move with a 37-0 romp over Model School last weekfor openers. Senior running back Joe Conte will score at least threetouchdowns, and the Saints will roll. St. Mary's 30, John Carroll 12.
Northeast (3-7) at Chesapeake of Baltimore County (9-2), 3:30 p.m. Friday
Great coaches win wherever they go, as evidenced byKen Johnson, who won a state title at Randallstown, moved to Chesapeake last year and immediately led the Bayhawks to the playoffs. Johnson has seven starters back on defense, and the Hawks' defense will bethe difference against the Eagles.
Chesapeake rolled last year, 30-6, over Northeast. It won't be as bad this year because the Prophet's "eye in the sky" says the Eagles are improved and morale is high. Chesapeake BC 21, Northeast 6.
North County (8-2) at Oakland Mills (10-2), 1 p.m. Saturday
So you thought Wyatt Earp and the guys were fun at the OK Corral?
Wait until you see this shootout. Get the camcorder ready, Knight fans, because this one will be fun to watch over and over.
We all know that North County coach Chuck Markiewicz will have that run-and-shoot firing on all cylinders, but did you know that this Howard County power, ranked No. 8 by The Sun, plans to throw as well.
With their ground game (Korey Singleton, 1,817yards and 24 touchdowns) graduated, the Scorpions are expected to throw the ball, but they won't outshoot the 15th-ranked Knights.
Every time the Prophet hit the button on his remote labeled "final score," the big screen kept showing Damon Martin or Troy Ross diving for agame-winning touchdown. North County 30, Oakland Mills 28.
Meade (1-9) at Springbrook (11-1), 1 p.m. Saturday
OK, who's the scheduling genius responsible for this potential fiasco?
After going1-9 with one coaching staff, then putting together another staff forthe following season, is Hayse Henderson committing suicide scheduling the sixth-ranked (The Washington Post) Blue Devils? Springbrook has won more state 4A titles than anybody in history.
Maybe it's punishment for last year's dismal campaign, but call this the "Mismatch of the Year." Springbrook 49, Meade 0.
Chesapeake (1-9) at Queen Anne's (6-4), 1:30 p.m. Saturday
This is a tough game to call because the Prophet believes the law of averages is going to give Cougar coach Tom Kraning a good team one of these years, and the host Lions are very young.
Queen Anne's won last year, 25-20, and after flipping a coin, it's still Queen Anne's. Queen Anne's 21, Chesapeake 17.
Glen Burnie (6-4) at DuVal (5-5) of Prince George's County, 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Expectations are high in Gopher land, but they face a tough, tough opening game on the road. The Prince George's County home team returns 17 players and should give the Gophers a rough time. DuVal 24, Glen Burnie 20.