Twenty-six of his 36 players are underclassmen, so Centennial coach Ed Holshue said he knew before the season began that his team "would have some growing pains."
But that doesn't make losses such as the one Centennial experienced Friday against Howard any less frustrating.
Centennial had rallied from a 16-7 deficit in the fourth quarter to take a 20-16 lead with 5:53 remaining, but Howard scored with 2:19 left to claim the victory, 24-20.
It was the Eagles' fourth straight loss, but Holshue feels the Eagles could have won three of those. During the streak, Centennial (3-5) lost to Oakland Mills in double overtime and fell to Atholton.
"From a coach's standpoint, it's frustrating because the kids have given it such a great effort, and you wonder if there's something you could have done differently," Holshue said. "For the kids, it's hard to understand when you're young why you can't get a break and the other teams do. It's hard to bounce back, but they're a very resilient group."
Records, streaks, milestones
* City's 39-0 rout of Cardinal Gibbons on Friday extended the area's longest winning streak to 16.
* Sparrows Point's 43-14 loss to Loch Raven on Friday extended the area's longest losing streak to 30.
* C. Milton Wright won its 31st consecutive regular-season game, 26-8, over John Carroll on Friday.
* Overlea's 16-12 victory over Pikesville on Friday extended the Falcons' winning streak against Baltimore County opponents to 35.
* Wilde Lake won its 26th straight Howard County League game, 59-0, over Mount Hebron on Saturday.
* Wilde Lake also recorded its fifth consecutive shutout, as did Dunbar, which defeated Walbrook, 20-0, on Friday.
* St. Paul's coach Mitch Tullai notched his 200th career victory with the Crusaders' 45-0 win over Southwestern on Friday.
Won it by that much
Perry Hall's 1989 team was dubbed the Cardiac Kids after winning its first five games in the closing minutes.
Although the Gators' finishes have not been quite as dramatic this season, five of their seven games -- excluding a forfeit over Lansdowne -- have been decided by two points or less.
One game that equaled the excitement of 1989 occurred Saturday, when the Gators took a 38-37 double overtime victory over Dundalk.
Against Dundalk, Perry Hall's Jason Bloom kicked a 24-yard field goal with 25 seconds left to force overtime. In the first overtime, Bloom missed an extra-point attempt, but his PAT in the second overtime gave the Gators the win.
In other close contests this season, Perry Hall edged Calvert Hall (30-28), Woodlawn (2-0) and Randallstown (14-13), but lost to Parkville (8-7).
Perry Hall coach Joe Stoy sees a similarity between this team and his 1989 squad.
"This team is finding a way to win like the other team did," he said. "But this team is a lot younger. We've gotten a lot better as the year has gone on."
Just win, baby
It seems as if one has to be a mathematician, numerologist and soothsayer to figure out the number of possibilities existing within the state's playoff points system.
But South River coach Dave Summey has a much simpler equation for his team's playoff chances: Just win and don't worry about anything else.
"I think we have to win our last two games, but there's a lot of conjecture about all the possibilities," he said. "Our destiny is in our own hands."
Four region winners in each classification and the next four teams with the best average qualify for the playoffs. Before the weekend's results, South River was fourth in the Class 3A, Region IV standings and seventh in the race for at an-large bid.
* Most TDs: Frank Brown, North County and Marvin Jackson, Havre de Grace, 4.
* Longest TD rushing: Chris Lewis, Southern-B, 90 yards.
* Longest TD passing: Bobby Sablehaus, McDonogh, 90 yards to Dennis Badham.
* Longest kickoff return for a TD: Joe Gray, Kenwood, 92 yards.
* Longest punt return for a TD: Bilal Bahar, Forest Park, 65 yards.
* Longest interception return for a TD: Dwayne Stukes, McDonogh, 92 yards.
* Longest fumble recovery and return for a TD: Mike Poskosill, Loch Raven, 32 yards.
* Longest field goal: Chris Demski, Dundalk, 35 yards.
* Tex DeLeon, Towson, 15 carries, 331 yards, 3 TDs.
* John Satterfield, Dundalk, 23 carries, 226 yards, 3 TDs.
* Chris Gill, C.M. Wright, 22 carries, 202 yards, 2 TDs.
* Eric Howard, North County, 21-for-34, 366 yards, 6 TDs.
* Mike Bramer, Loch Raven, 4-for-7, 148 yards, 2 TDs.
* E. J. Fitzgerald, Dunbar, 6-for-15, 135 yards.
* Mike Quarles, North County, 11 catches, 162 yards, 1 TD.
* Bilal Bahar, Forest Park, 2 catches, 100 yards, 2 TDs.
* Joe Gray, Kenwood, 4 catches, 93 yards, 2 TDs.
Note: Top performances are based on statistics reported to The Baltimore Sun.