Old Mill at No. 6 Annapolis
When: 7: 15 tonight, on WNAV (1430 AM) radio.
Outlook: On its way to a second-straight Class 4A playoff appearance last year, Annapolis humbled the Patriots, 35-7, with Rayvon Johnson running for 169 yards and one touchdown. The victory was the Panthers' second straight over the Patriots, who last won in 1996, 10-6. Annapolis is 6-3 vs. Old Mill during the 1990s, but for the first time, the Panthers play as a Class 3A team. Old Mill hopes to be a 4A East region contender, and Annapolis hardly can afford to lose in terms of playoff hopes, because the Panthers may be in the state's toughest region. The 3A East includes defending state champion Friendly, of Prince George's County, and No. 2-ranked Wilde Lake. Old Mill's defense, led by returning All-County DL David Kim (6-2, 262), gets a big test against Johnson and mates.
Arundel at Broadneck
When: 7: 15 tonight (to be shown 7: 30 p.m. Sept. 8 by Jones Cable TV 22)
Outlook: After the greatest season in school history last fall, the host Bruins have a tough act to follow as they commence play in Class 4A for the first time since 1992 against a fierce rival. This will be the 13th meeting in a series tied 6-6 since they started playing in 1987. Bruins coach Jeff Herrick, who played JV football at Arundel under Wildcats coach Bill Zucco, is 6-4 against his old coach. En route to the 3A semifinals last fall, the Bruins snapped Arundel's three-game winning streak in the series with a 25-13 victory.
Severna Park at Glen Burnie
When: 7: 15 tonight
Outlook: Glen Burnie's Brad Wilson is looking for his first coaching victory by snapping the team's 17-game losing streak dating back to 1997. Glen Burnie last won by 26-13 at Gwynn Park in 1997. The Gophers have lost 13 straight home games since Sept. 20, 1996. Wilson feels his defense will be improved with Cardinal Gibbons transfer Jason King (6-3, 240) to emerge as one of the county's best at LB. The Gophers were outscored 375-71 last season. Severna Park's defense could be the county's best. Severna Park won 29-0 last year.
South River at North County
When: 7 tonight
Outlook: In the first meeting between these two schools since North County's inaugural season in 1990, the hosts plan to kickoff a return to glory. Class 4A North County has suffered through back-to-back 3-7 seasons after being struck with forfeits for using an ineligible, home-schooled player and ended up 0-11 in 1996. Before that, the Knights rode the county's white horse to five state playoff appearances and a state championship in 1994. Three-year starting T Ricky Dixon (6-3, 210) is surrounded by a wealth of athleticism, size and quickness on the Knights' offensive line. The smaller, Class 3A Seahawks may have a tough time matching up in the trenches and avoiding a rout.
Meade at Chesapeake
When: 7: 15 tonight
Outlook: Former Meade standout Kenny Gray makes his coaching debut as he leads the Mustangs against the host Cougars, who plan to use their new single-wing offense with Bo Danton at the controls. Chesapeake gave Meade a battle last fall before bowing, 16-9.
St. Mary's at Archbishop Spalding
When: 7: 30 tonight
Outlook: Two new coaches, Mike Codd of Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference St. Mary's and Mike Whittles of B Conference Spalding, meet in Severn. It's the first meeting between the schools since 1995, when the Saints rolled, 46-0, for their eighth win in nine outings over the Cavaliers. Darren Johnson, an All-County LB as a junior, is the man the Saints will have to stop. Johnson, an A Conference caliber RB, ran for nearly 1,200 yards and 13 TDs behind huge returning T Joe O'Conner (6-5, 265).
Great Mills at Southern
When: 7: 15 tonight
Outlook: The Class 2A Bulldogs begin their toughest schedule in years, playing three county Class 4A schools in addition to 3A power Annapolis. But the 3A Hornets from St. Mary's County did not win last season.
Severn at No. 10 Mount St. Joseph
When: 2 p.m. tomorrow
Outlook: This is a tough season opener for the MIAA B Conference Admirals as they visit last year's A Conference runner-up Gaels. Senior QB Tom Cleaver, who threw for 1,300 yards and 11 TDs last year, has his work cut out.
Northeast at Atholton
When: 1: 30 p.m. tomorrow
Outlook: John Runk debuts as Eagles coach in hopes of ending a county-record, 21-game losing streak. The Howard County squad won only once last fall, 18-14, over Northeast.