For the No. 4 Eastern Tech football team, this season is all about the numbers. The 8-0 Mavericks are piling up 40 points per game while allowing just six a game, and are on the verge of their 10th nine-win season since 1998.
To coach Marc Mesaros, however, the only number that truly matters is one - as in the one thing, a state title, that has eluded this otherwise dominant program.
"It's nice to hear people say nice things about the program ... but in today's society, 'dominant' equals state championship, and we don't have one of those," said Mesaros, 57-12 in his fifth season at the helm. "Until we do, I'm not sure we should be considered a dominant program. We have to prove it on the field just like everyone else does. The ring is the thing."
A year ago, Eastern Tech turned heads by advancing to its first state final since 1998, then giving top-ranked River Hill all it could handle in a 14-7 loss. This season, the Mavericks are hoping their wealth of talent gets them back to M&T; Bank Stadium for another shot.
They enter tomorrow's game at Overlea with five players with at least 279 rushing yards, led by junior Emmanuel Gbor (531 yards, nine touchdowns) and senior Darian Conners (412, seven). Senior quarterback Joey Jones is a dual threat, averaging more than 10 yards per carry and throwing for eight touchdowns.
Defensively, ends Shafiyq Hinton and Gbor, and nose tackle Aaron Wilson each have at least seven sacks.
Mesaros said the numbers are no accident.
"The work ethic they displayed in the offseason was ridiculous," he said. "Five days in the summer they're here working out voluntarily. Between weightlifting and sprint training, they're extremely dedicated kids. I think that you kind of make your own luck when you're prepared, and we've been very prepared."
He said the lopsided wins - including consecutive shutouts over Loch Raven and Lansdowne by a combined 88-0 - make it difficult to gauge his team's progress. With two regular-season games remaining, however, the Mavericks hold the top seed in the Class 2A North region.
2,000 ... again
Northwestern running back Terrance West appears well on his way to eclipsing the 2,000-yard mark for the second straight season. The senior, who has been timed in the 40-yard dash 40 at 4.5 seconds, has rushed for 1,520 yards and 19 touchdowns heading into tomorrow's key matchup against W.E.B. Du Bois, despite occasionally sitting out late in games.
"Terrance is the kind of kid who makes people miss. Nine times out of 10, he's going to make that first defensive player miss," Wildcats coach Eric Woodson said. "He just has vision, and, to be quite honest, he may be one of my best wide-outs. His hands are great."
West, who gained 2,004 yards during the regular season a year ago, most likely will get at least two more shots after this week, including at least one playoff game. Though he hasn't received a firm offer yet, he has drawn the interest of colleges such as Notre Dame, Boston College, Syracuse and Michigan State, among others. He is waiting for the results of his latest SAT.
Notre Dame Prep scored the biggest upset of the field hockey season Tuesday with a 1-0 victory over No. 5 Bryn Mawr in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference tournament quarterfinal as Katie Corrigan scored and Jackie Gamper made 10 saves. ... Garrison Forest's No. 4 field hockey team has posted 11 straight shutouts and has allowed only one of its 18 opponents to score. ... Roland Park's Lindsay Katz won her second straight No. 1 singles title in the IAAM tennis final Friday, taking a marathon match from Bryn Mawr's Erica Choo, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). The match lasted nearly five hours over two days. Bryn Mawr's Laura Simmons won the No. 2 singles and finished her career without ever losing a match. ... The Redeemer Classical Christian School boys soccer team has not lost a game in nearly two years. The Royals won their fourth Maryland Christian Athletic League title in five years as Jonathan Bizzell scored the game-winner for a 3-2 overtime victory against Covenant Community School. ... McDonogh's No. 1 and unbeaten girls soccer team takes an 11-game winning streak into today's A Conference semifinal against No. 11 Mercy.