Carroll D.C. (1-5) at No. 2 Dunbar (4-1)
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Outlook: The Poets play host to a traditionally tough program out of Washington in Carroll, ranked No. 3 by The Washington Post in the preseason. Yet the first-year Carroll coach Kenny Lucas, who led the Lions to an 11-0 record as a quarterback in 1983, has lost five straight against formidable opponents -- Glen Mills (Pa.), Heritage (Va.), Valley Forge (Va.), Martinsburg (W.Va.) and McNamara. Dunbar coach Stanley Mitchell compared the Lions to Largo, a team also nicknamed the Lions and the only team to beat the Poets. Carroll has three players who were listed in Street and Smith's during the preseason in 6-foot-5, 210-pound WR-DB Greg Graves (45 receptions, 991 yards, eight TDs, six INTs last season), WR-DB Brian Cooper (11 sacks last year), and OL Jason Entzminger (6-7, 275). "They're big, physically, and better than their record shows. They could rise to the occasion against us," said Mitchell. Offensively, Dunbar relies on running backs Ali Culpepper (797 rushing yards, seven TDs) and Brett Thomas (479, five) and quarterback Anthony Wiggins (948 yards passing, five TDs). Defensively, Culpepper (seven sacks), Tommy Polley (six sacks) and linemen Dwayne Green and Deon Johnson anchor the Poets.
Bel Air (3-2) at No. 8 Aberdeen (4-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
Outlook: Aberdeen has won four in a row since a season-opening loss to No. 7 Oakland Mills, including two in the Harford County League. Bel Air has a two-game losing streak after Havre de Grace rode four touchdown passes to a 30-18 victory last week. Keith Marshall, who had the game's only touchdown in Aberdeen's win at North East, and Dondre Gilliam have combined for 690 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Quarterback Hercules Murray has completed 10 of 20 passes, with eight of them going to Doug Gordon. How much damage the Eagles inflict on Bel Air depends on how the visitors rebound from last week's defeat. The Bobcats' Mike Wood continues as the county's top rusher (601 yards, 10 TDs) and scorer (66 points). Aberdeen leads the league in defense and is second in offense, while Bel air is fourth in offense and next-to-last (seventh) in defense.
Perry Hall (3-2) at Woodlawn (4-1)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: The Perry Hall Gators have the area's top passer in Kevin Znamirowski (1,112 passing yards, 13 TDs), but were knocked out of the Top 15 after a loss to then-unranked Dulaney. This is a matchup against Baltimore County 3A-4A league rival Woodlawn, a team which, under coach Brian Scriven, could be poised to add to the Gators' worries. Led by linebackers Wayne Barbour and Hakim Hughes, the Warriors need just two wins to equal last year's victory total (6-4). The Warriors (4-1 league) are in third place in the league behind Dulaney (4-0) and Randallstown (3-0), and the Gators (3-1) are right behind them.
St. Mary's (3-2) at No. 9 City (3-2)
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Outlook: City is on the verge of losing a playoff opportunity against St. Mary's, a dangerous team which, in a 26-12 loss to No. 1 Mount St. Joseph, has come closest to beating the top-ranked than any squad this season. Mount St. Joseph is City's next opponent after St. Mary's. The visitors rely on running back Rashi Reed (487 rushing yards, five TDs) and wide receiver Matt Murphy (eight catches, 150 yards, one TD). City has running backs Damian Beane (738 yards, eight TDs) and Taber Small, as well as wide receiver Kevin Griffin (nine receptions, 148 yards, two TDs). A loss by City would likely eject it from the area rankings, leaving only Mount St. Joseph as the remaining ranked team from the old, traditionally powerful MSA A Conference.
Gilman (0-5), Loyola (0-4), Calvert Hall (1-4), Poly (3-2) and McDonogh (0-3) all are unranked and struggling.