All right then. After an exciting week of Monday Night Turf Wars (great headline, right?), it’s time to get back to some good old-fashioned Friday night football. And we’ve got a good slate of games to do it.
The featured matchup will be No. 3 Atholton at No. 1 River Hill. Keep in mind that Atholton could be ranked No. 2 if not for having to take a Week 1 forfeit because of the ruling on its offseason practice violation, which seemed to be more of an honest mistake.
But I digress. It’s important for Atholton to win to avoid starting the season 1-2. It’s also a big game for River Hill because last year the Hawks went to Atholton and lost, 10-0, in Week 5, snapping a nearly 50-game league winning streak. Later, in the playoffs, the Hawks lost to eventual state champ Wilde Lake. If River Hill is looking for a chance to reclaim its position of dominance in Howard County, this is it.
Still, it's not the only good game this week. No. 6 Long Reach at No. 5 Reservoir has the makings of a good one, and the Marriotts Ridge-at-Oakland Mills game will be a tribute to the late Ken Hovet, who coached at both schools, winning the state title with Oakland Mills in 1998.
On to the rankings (spoiler alert: no movement since last week, but please read on anyway to be enlightened.)
1. River Hill (2-0, 63 points for-21 points against)
The Hawks have already allowed three TDs, which seems kind of uncharacteristic, but they’ve played two pretty good offenses. That should have them primed for Friday night.
Last week: Beat Long Reach, 35-14. This week: home against Atholton.
2. Hammond (2-0, 52-25)
Devon Paye and Dionte Jones showed off their speed on the turf at Rockburn on Monday, and it was an impressive display indeed: 278 combined yards from scrimmage, 4 TDs!
Last week: Beat Mt. Hebron, 36-13. This week: at Centennial.
3. Atholton (1-1, 67-7)
Last week was the real season opener for the Raiders, and they looked very good. You might look at the record and scoring differential, and think they must have won a game 67-0 and lost another 7-0, but no, no. It was the week one 39-0 forfeited win that’s confusing. (P.S. I intend to make this the last week we discuss the whole forfeit thing. From now on, the record is what it is.)
Last week: Beat Howard, 28-7. This week: at River Hill.
4. Wilde Lake (1-1, 52-23)
The Wildecats rushed for 279 yards last week. Antoine Barnes and Anthony Miller are doing a pretty nice job of replacing the production of Khalil Viera and E.J. Gilman.
Last week: Beat Oakland Mills, 40-7. This week: home against Glenelg.
5. Reservoir (1-1, 56-34)
E.J. Montgomery and Joey Usher are beginning to show the same rapport that Montgomery and Kyle Mitchell had last year. The duo connected for three completions, 70 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week before the offense slowed down to burn clock.
Last week: Beat Marriotts Ridge, 49-6. This week: home against Long Reach.
6. Long Reach (1-1, 69-49)
Two weeks into the season and the Lightning is still leading the league in points scored! Maybe it’s not a fluke!
Last week: Lost to River Hill, 35-14. This week: at Reservoir.
7. Howard (1-1, 48-28)
The Lions looked pretty bad on defense allowing 28 points to Atholton in the first half, but they looked pretty good holding the Raiders scoreless in the second half!
Last week: Lost to Atholton, 28-7. This week: home against Mt. Hebron.
8. Glenelg (2-0, 34-39)
David Brookhart had a 70-yard punt return touchdown and a 35-yard touchdown reception in the first half alone on Monday! Sounds like the 5-foot-8, 135 pound (listed size) sophomore could be a blossoming playmaker, but yards will be much harder to come by against Wilde Lake.
Last week: Beat Centennial, 34-0. This week: at Wilde Lake.
9. Mt. Hebron (1-1, 39-36)
The Vikings actually led Hammond, 7-6, in the first half. One thing is certain: this team is a lot different than the one that went 1-9 and allowed a league-worst 379 points last year.
Last week: Lost to Hammond, 36-13. This week: at Howard.
10. Oakland Mills (0-2, 7-66)
The Scorpions are going to have to sort some things out on defense if they want to be competitive this year.
Last week: Lost to Wilde Lake, 40-7. This week: home against Marriotts Ridge.
On the bubble: Centennial (0-2, 0-75), Marriotts Ridge (0-2, 20-104).