Football (August 29, 2011)

Finally, a little bit of action in the rankings, It's Week 8, but believe it or not, up until now we haven't had any ranking conflicts. That is when team A beats team B, then team B beats team C, but then team C  makes everything confusing by beating team A, creating a common opponent circle.

In this example, Reservoir is team C. The Gators' upset of previously undefeated Glenelg last week sent seismic waves throughout the county.

Reservoir had lost to River Hill, which lost to Hammond, which lost to Glenelg, which lost to Reservoir. Confused? Me too. So I'll just simplify things by saying this: some teams losses get thrown out, and the rankings are now based on recent performance, scoring differential, and gut feeling in addition to the most important criteria, head-to-head results and common opponents.

At least there will be a little suspense when reading this week's rankings. SPOILER ALERT: Reservoir gets a boost from the No. 7 spot, though not all the way to No. 1, and Glenelg takes a tumble from the No. 2 spot, though not all the way to No. 8.

This week will be a busy one for Saturday homecoming games, with three really good ones (Atholton at Wilde Lake, Howard at Glenelg and Hammond at Long Reach) on the schedule. So rake those leaves early and enjoy some great football while you can!

That would have been a nice segue into the meat of the rankings, but instead I'm going to give the playoff situation a quick look.

Glenelg's loss dropped it into a tie with Patuxent (6-1) atop the 2A South rankings, and the Gladiators have two tough games coming up with Howard and River Hill. The fourth seed, Gwynn Park, is 5-2 though, so barring a major meltdown, the Gladiators should still be OK for November football. Long Reach, on the other hand, has to pretty much win out against Hammond, Wilde Lake and Oakland Mills to climb out of the No. 7 spot and clinch a playoff berth.

In the 3A East, Atholton, River Hill and Hammond are sitting pretty comfortably in the top three spots, while Howard (5.57), Reservoir (4.86) and Wilde Lake (4.14) all have some hope of catching Stephen Decatur (5.71) for the fourth and final playoff spot, but each of those three county teams have tough schedules over the last three weeks.

Phew! OK, now onto the rankings.

(Last week's ranking in parentheses)

1. (1.) Atholton (6-1, 255 points-55 points allowed)

That win against Reservoir looks even better now, doesn't it? Kenny Thomas and Brian McMahon showed that Atholton can run the ball as good as any team in the county last Friday at Hammond. And while the defense — still the best in the league — allowed a season high 21 points and missed some tackles, it was playing against Devon Paye, a legit DI running back. If the Raiders can get past Wilde Lake this week, a share of the county title and home field advantage in the playoffs will be almost academic.

Wins: Howard (28-7), River Hill (14-0), Reservoir (24-14), Marriotts Ridge (54-6), Oakland Mills (56-7), Hammond (40-21); Losses: Glenelg (FF).
Last week: Beat Hammond, 40-21. This week: at Wilde Lake, Saturday at 1 p.m.

2. (4.) River Hill (5-2, 211-60)

I'm not ignoring the loss to Hammond, but you have to consider that the Hawks turned the ball over six times in that game and lost by three points.  Akili Moore's 100-yard interception return was impressive, but River Hill probably won't turn the ball over six times again this season, or ever. Since that loss they've outscored three opponents 139-13, and have the third best offense and second best defense in the league.

W: Reservoir (28-7), Long Reach (35-14), Wilde Lake (38-0), Howard (42-7), Oakland Mills (59-6); L: Atholton (14-0), Hammond (12-9).
Last week: Beat Oakland Mills, 59-6. This week: at Centennial, Friday at 7 p.m.

3. (3.) Hammond (5-2, 168-98)