Bowie High School football coach Jae Jackson told his players their game this week could be the biggest of their tenures.
It's the same thing he told them last week and the week before.
After starting 0-3, No. 6 Bowie beat No. 7 Henry A. Wise and Eleanor Roosevelt. Jackson continues to believe, as he did before the season, his team could make the playoffs only with a 3-3 start during a difficult opening schedule.
That would require snapping a two-game losing streak against No. 5 DuVal at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“I'm not afraid to tell my team that it's a big game, because they know it,” Jackson said. “They already know it. They know the situation. They know that this game is of utmost importance to us in trying to get the playoffs. So, there's no need for me to sugarcoat it and treat it as a normal or anything like that.”
Bowie's final four opponents — Laurel, Parkdale, Oxon Hill and Bladensburg — all have losing records, and Bowie went 4-0 against them last season, winning by an average score of 39-9. So this could quite possibly be Bowie's final substantial test.
Two of the other four teams considered firmly in the 4A South Region playoff hunt also meet Saturday, when Eleanor Roosevelt plays at Wise at 2 p.m.
“If we weren't playing,” said Jackson, whose team beat both squads, “that would be the game I was going to.”
Suitland and Charles H. Flowers are both 5-0 and atop the region standings.
Bishop McNamara turned heads under first-year coach Keith Goganious, starting 5-0 and rising as high as No. 16 in the state poll a year after going 3-7.
After losing to Good Counsel last week, Bishop McNamara (6-1) will face No. 1 DeMatha (6-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday — potentially a key game as far as recruiting for the two Washington Catholic Athletic Conference programs in Prince George's County.
Bishop McNamara and DeMatha have on common opponent: Our Lady of Good Counsel. DeMatha beat Good Counsel 21-0, and Bishop McNamara lost to Good Counsel 41-0. But a good showing with its up-tempo offense could mean Bishop McNamara impresses middle schoolers.
“That's part of it, playing the game and winning,” Goganious said. “Another part of it is your program, the academic piece you have, the coaches that are there, the kids feeling comfortable being with you. So, it's not all about what happens on the field.”
No. 9 Forestville at No. 8 Surrattsville, 2 p.m. Saturday
Forestville and Surrattsville are both 5-0 and a matchup between undefeated teams this late in the season is a treat. At most, there will be just 10 others between public schools this season. Forestville has won five straight in the series.