"I think they will be Division-I prospects next year," Holland said.

Franklin

The Indians might have a better chance at postseason success than either New Town or Owings Mills.

They are making their seventh straight playoff appearance under 10th-year coach Anthony Burgos and have advanced as far as a state semifinal (2006) and state final (2010).


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Franklin (9-1) will host Hereford (7-3) in a Class 3A North Region semifinal on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.

"I believe this is our most talented team since I have been here," Burgos said. "I think this team has all the elements to win a state title. We have demonstrated we are one of the elite teams out there."

The Indians are also one of the fastest ones out there — especially on offense.

The unit boasts quarterback Jackson Thornton, brothers Marquis, a wide receiver, and Reggie Ellis, a wide receiver/running back, fullback Shaquile Melvin and freshman phenom wide receiver Steven Smothers.

"It's the fastest team we have had," Burgos said. "We have a good balance between running and passing."

Linebacker Malik Jackson, end Kiandre Burrell, cornerback Cederic Arandi and tackle Melvin anchor the defense.

"Our defense is playing very well," Burgos said. "It was one of our downfalls last year."

McDonogh

Just three weeks after being on the short end of a 48-12 rout in its annual battle with Gilman, a rapidly maturing McDonogh squad will get another crack at the Greyhounds when the archrivals meet Nov. 10 at Stevenson University's Owings Mills campus at 5 p.m. in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinal.

The suddenly confident and fifth-seeded Eagles earned the right for a rematch by trouncing fourth-seeded Loyola, 28-7, in the first round of the playoffs Nov. 3.

In garnering just its third win of the season, McDonogh (3-7, 2-4 conference) proved that its young talent is just beginning to blossom.

The change in team dynamics, though, began when Travis Wood was inserted into the lineup at quarterback and the senior helped engineer a 24-0 victory over Mount St. Joseph.

While he also was in charge during the loss to Gilman, Wood bounced back against Loyola (5-5, 2-3) in a big way.

"We decided a couple of weeks ago to go with the senior," McDonogh coach Dom Damico said. "We had a talented freshman (Jansen Durham) starting, and we feel he's going to be a very good player. We just felt a senior might be able to handle the pressure a little bit better. And he's been handling the offense perfectly. I'm really proud of Travis."