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Key football games



No. 3 Patterson (4-0) at Northern (3-1)

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Outlook: Patterson coach Roger Wrenn figured this year's City 4A League teams would be tougher than last, and he was right. The Clippers (3-0 league), the state's eighth-ranked team and winners of their last two games by, 14-8, over Lake Clifton, and, 18-14, over Mervo, face another league rival in Northern (3-0 league). Northern has won three straight since a season-opening, 6-0 loss to Carver. The Vikings' new coach, former Poly assistant Bruce Strunk, has built a solid base around honorable-mention All-City RB Robert Dukes (464 rushing yards, five TDs). Dukes' counterpart for Patterson is RB Dwayne Simmons (580, seven), who scored the game-winning TD from 62 yards out last week against Mervo.

No. 2 Dunbar (3-1) at No. 11 Poly (2-2)

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Outlook: Dunbar, last year's 2A state champ under third-year coach Stanley Mitchell (23-5 career), beat a struggling Calvert Hall squad, 24-8, last week but didn't please its coach with the effort. The game was tied at 8 at the half, and the Poets required Ali Culpepper's third-quarter interception return for an 11-yard TD to create some distance. Poly, on the other hand, has won two straight over Forest Park, 28-22, and Gilman, 26-12, respectively. With RB Willie Hudson (185 pounds) and John Pierre (190), the Engineers have "the two biggest backs we've had in a long time," according to coach Augie Waibel (244-54 career). Dunbar's best weapons are RB Culpepper, RB Brett Thomas, QB Anthony Wiggins and 6-5 TE-LB Tommy Polley.

John Carroll (2-1) at No. 13 St. Paul's (4-0)

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Outlook: This MIAA B Conference contest should go a long way toward determining the league champ. John Carroll (1-0 league), under coach Bill Mackley (74-52 career), smoked last year's champ, then No. 13 Severn, 35-7, last week. St. Paul's is led by RB Chris Berrier (613 rushing yards, seven TDs), the area's sixth-leading rusher. Under second-year coach Brian Abbott, the Crusaders are trying to regain the B Conference crown they relinquished to Severn last year. St. Paul's (0-0 league) won four straight C Conference titles under former coach Mitch Tullai, who retired in 1993 after winning 10 titles overall. The Patriots are led offensively by RB Bryan Barrett (203 yards, three TDs), QB Brad Meerholz (197 yards, four TDs) and WR Ryan Stangle (six receptions, 103 yards, one TD). Stangle leads Harford County with four interceptions, and with 23 tackles ranks second on his team behind Kris Nesbitt (44 tackles).

Owings Mills (4-0) at Milford Mill (2-2)

Time: 4 p.m.

Outlook: Owings Mills (3-0 league), under 12th-year coach Ray Groszkowski (56-61 career), is off to its best start since 1991 when it went 8-2 and reached the state semifinals. Only three of the Eagles' offensive players are seniors, and just two on defense are seniors. LB-WR Sean Myles (10 TDs) ranks among the area's scoring leaders with 64 points, but this county 1A-2A league contest will establish Owings Mills as either a pretender or a legitimate contender. The Millers (2-0 league), 14-6 losers to Forest Park after leading, 6-0, last week, are led by RB Brandon Scarborough (451 yards, four TDs), a transfer from Liberty, and RB David Bazemore (337 yards, five TDs).

Loyola (0-3) at St. Mary's (2-2)

Time: 7 p.m.

Outlook: Having lost two games by one point to highly ranked squads, and another, 19-8, to Philadelphia's top-ranked Malvern Prep, Loyola tries to prove it is better than its record in its first MIAA A Conference game. Coach Joe Brune (172-117-1 career) depends heavily on a strong corps of tight ends in Art Price (6-5, 205), Todd Pivec (6-3, 225) and Ryan Burch (6-5, 245), but the Dons will have their hands full with St. Mary's RB Rashi Reed (487 rushing yards, five TDs) and WR Matt Murphy (eight catches, 150 yards, one TD).

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