Football previews; HIGH SCHOOLS


Class 3A quarterfinals

No. 8 Wilde Lake (9-1) at Seneca Valley (10-0)

When: 7: 30 tonight

Outlook: Seneca Valley has won 36 straight, back-to-back state titles, and has outscored this fall's opponents, 395-56. The Screamin' Eagles from Germantown also have won five state titles during the 1990s, 10 overall. QB Chris Kelley is the player Wilde Lake must stop. He has completed 85 of 144 passes for 1,378 yards and 22 touchdowns with only four interceptions. He also rushed 111 times for 888 yards and likes to run the QB draw, especially against 5-2 defenses, which Wilde Lake uses. Wilde Lake is 41-4 over the last four seasons and has won four state titles in the 1990s, five total, plus 17 county titles. They've outscored opponents, 215-93. Running back Mario Merrills leads the offense with 1,005 yards and 13 touchdowns. QB Chad Fawcett has completed 60 of 135 passes for 951 yards and 11 touchdowns. The offensive line is anchored by center Bill Hawken and guard Steve Jefferson. Defensively, John Quinn and Steve Bock each have 105 tackles, with Jimmy DiPietro at 101 tackles and 14 sacks and Dane Brown at 88 tackles and 15 sacks. Wilde Lake's only loss was to Howard, 33-14. Coach Doug DuVall has a 228-52 career record.

Class 2A quarterfinal

Middletown (10-0) at No. 7 Howard (9-1)

When: 7: 30 tonight

Outlook: Howard has not won a state title since 1974 or a state playoff game since 1975. And this will only be the Lions' second playoff appearance since 1975. The county co-champions have three outstanding runners -- Gerald Smith, Travis Irving and Antuan Jones, none of whom reached 1,000 yards. Howard has outscored opponents, 256-112, taking advantage of turnovers for much of its offense. Senior linebacker Joey Tortella, with 70 unassisted and 27 assisted tackles, leads the Lions defensively. The Frederick County visitors won the Monocacy Valley title and are led by running back Brian Moore with 1,043 yards and eight touchdowns on 107 carries. He also has kicked five field goals and 23 extra points. Running back D. J. Costello has 816 yards and nine touchdowns on 147 carries. Mark Main has caught 19 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns. Middletown has never won a state title. The Knights have outscored opponents, 319-40.

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