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Football previews



No. 7 Annapolis at No. 9 Old Mill

When: 7:15 p.m.

Outlook: The offensive machines of both teams were running on empty at the end of last year's season opener, with host Annapolis holding on for a wild 41-34 victory. The talent, size and speed are there to stage a fan-thrilling, re-run. Two-time county Offensive Player of the Year Rayvon Johnson graduated, but Kevan Simms should be an adequate replacement in the Panthers' Wing-T. Simms can break it from anywhere on the field as he showed on kick returns last season, and will be running the patented Annapolis quick trap behind a veteran line. Up front are returning All-County performers, G Brandon Gulley (6-3, 210) and C Kion Mackell (5-11, 230) and second-team All-County tackles Nick Good-Malloy (6-4, 220) and James Forrester (6-2, 265). Old Mill counters with the county's top returning rusher in Kelvin Collins (1,656, 23 TDs), and this season he has quite a sidekick in the backfield in mammoth but quick junior FB Kerry Blake (6-3, 250). Look for nasty hits on defense by DL Blake, DE Aaron Dada (6-3, 205) and MLB Adam Dayton (6-0, 195), with Panthers jolts by DE Gulley and NG Forrester. Old Mill last defeated Annapolis, 10-6, in 1996.

Broadneck at Arundel

When: 7:15 p.m.

Outlook: Coach Jeff Herrick returns to his alma mater in Gambrills with a seasoned defense led by senior LBs Brysean Williams (5-10, 215) and Billy Smith (5-10, 185). The visiting Bruins are seeking their third straight win over the Wildcats, who suffered a 24-21 loss at Broadneck last year in the opener. Two-way senior tackle James Matthews (6-3, 315) leads Arundel.

Glen Burnie at Severna Park

When: 7:15 p.m.

Outlook: The county's most improved team visits the defending 4A East champion Falcons, who are rebuilding. Despite a 40-6 loss to the Falcons last year, the 50-strong Gophers (29 returnees, 10 of whom started on offense) won't be a pushover with the quick and athletic QB Keith Williams (6-3, 195) and elusive WR Donnie White (6-0, 185). Huge junior DT Ron Darden (6-4, 320), who bench-presses more than 300 pounds, dead-lifts 565 and has "great feet" according to Gophers coach Brad Wilson, will be a player to watch. Falcon coach J.P. Hines is counting on senior leadership from LB/FB Todd Soroka (5-10, 175), RB/DL Jimmy Burney (6-0, 200) and OL Chris Blanchet (6-2, 220) as his team develops.

North County at South River

When: 7:15 p.m.

Outlook: QB Mike Pfisterer (5-10, 165) and his air show wing into Edgewater, where Joe Viola makes his debut as only the third coach in Seahawks history. Can the Hawks, who lost, 40-19, to the Knights last season, keep the score down?

Chesapeake at Meade

When: 7:15 p.m.

Outlook: Two teams looking to step up meet at the Fort, with the host Mustangs out to avenge last year's 24-9 loss to the Cougars and their ancient single-wing offense.

Atholton at Northeast

When: 7:15 p.m.

Outlook: The Mike Cotham era in Pasadena begins after the Eagles' third straight 0-10 campaign. Northeast actually won two games last year, only to forfeit them, and hopes to end the area's longest losing streak (31) tonight against a Howard County foe that edged it, 14-12, in the '99 opener. Cotham was an assistant to Bart Rader in 1996, when the Eagles last won, 36-29, over South River before starting the losing skid in an 18-0 final-game loss to Chesapeake. The Eagles started that season at home with a 14-7 win over Atholton.

No. 1 Gilman at Archbishop Spalding

When: 7:15 p.m.

Outlook: This could be a game film that Cavs coach Mike Whittles may not want to watch afterward. Undefeated the past two seasons, Gilman opened last week with a 14-0 win over the state's No. 1 team, DeMatha.

Calvert Hall vs. Severn

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Kinder Park

Outlook: Can John Beckman's B Conference Admirals stun another A Conference team, as they did in last year's 20-14 season-opening win over Mount St. Joseph?

Southern-AA at Great Mills

When: 6 p.m.

Outlook: After opening last year with a 20-13 loss to this 3A team, the 2A Bulldogs lost eight in a row before closing with two wins.


St. Mary's at Archbishop Curley

When: 1 p.m.

Outlook: Moving down from the MIAA A Conference, the Saints open in their new league. The host Friars are in the MIAA B Conference Gold division, while the Saints are in the B-Silver with defending champion McDonogh. Look for QB Tony Magnolia (6-2, 185) to guide the Saints to victory. - Pat O'Malley

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