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Howard County Football Power Rankings: Week 4

Hold on to your helmets, kids!

I thought I had a pretty good handle on how all the different teams in the county stacked up, but clearly I was wrong. With Atholton, Glenelg and Long Reach pulling varying degrees of upsets, everything has changed.

But we'll get through this turbulence. There are now half a dozen teams that could change places with each other, so please let me know if you disagree with my rankings. Head-to-head, common opponent and point differential only gets you so far. At some point you've got to go with what you're feeling.

There will be more upsets before the season is over, and isn't that what makes this fun?

In an attempt to make up for my poor prognostications, I've added a few new features to this week's rankings -- a listing of each team's wins and losses with scores in each capsule. There are also lists ranking all 12 teams by points scored, points allowed and point differential.

Now, check out the new rankings:

(Last week’s ranking in parentheses)

1. (3.) Atholton (2-1, 81-7)

The Raiders seem to get stronger every week, and they’re taking on the look of a juggernaut. They can’t afford a let-up against a good Reservoir team, but I really don’t see that happening after how thoroughly they beat River Hill.

Wins: Howard (28-7), River Hill (14-0); Losses: Glenelg (FF).
Last week: Beat River Hill, 14-0. This week: home against Reservoir, Friday at 7 p.m.

2. (2.) Hammond (3-0, 86-32)

You could argue for Hammond in the top spot, but let’s see how it does against River Hill first.

W: Wilde Lake (16-12), Mt. Hebron (36-13), Centennial (34-7); L: None.
Last week: Beat Centennial, 34-7. This week: home against River Hill, Friday at 7 p.m.

3. (1.) River Hill (2-1, 63-35)

Ouch. Apparently losing running back Aaron Wells to a knee injury in Week 1 has thrown the Hawks off course. Although I don’t know if Wells or anyone else would have made a difference the way Atholton was busting through the line last week. It doesn’t sound as if Wells will be back anytime soon, so the Hawks are going to need to develop a Plan B fast.

W: Reservoir (28-7), Long Reach (35-14); L: Atholton (14-0).
Last week: Lost to Atholton, 14-0. This week: at Hammond, Friday at 7 p.m.

4. (6.) Long Reach (2-1, 101-69)

Long Reach has scored 15 points more than any other team in the county through three weeks, and while the Lightning would like to cut down on the 23-points-a-game they’re giving up, they haven’t had a cake-walk through the first month of the season. We'll see how they hold up against Howard.

W: Marriotts Ridge (55-14), Reservoir (32-20); L: River Hill (35-14).
Last week: Beat Reservoir, 32-20. This week: at Howard, Saturday at 1 p.m.

5. (7.) Howard (2-1, 83-35)

The Lions have been well balanced on offense and defense. They won't be run off the field by anyone.

W: Centennial (41-0), Mt. Hebron (35-7); L: Atholton (28-7).
Last week: Beat Mt. Hebron (35-7). This week: home against Long Reach, Saturday at 1 p.m.

6. (8.) Glenelg (3-0, 62-47)

A number of 5-foot-7, 140-pound playmakers have helped the Gladiators get off to a strong start.

W: Atholton (FF), Centennial (34-0), Wilde Lake (28-8); L: None.
Last week: Beat Wilde Lake, 28-8. This week: home against Oakland Mills, Friday at 7 p.m.

7. (4.) Wilde Lake (1-2, 60-51)

The Wildecats take a precipitous fall after losing by 20 to the Gladiators. I don’t think many people, even on the Glenelg sideline, could have predicted that outcome. Wilde Lake could get Antoine Barnes back in the near future, so this might be a hiccup. With River Hill and Atholton still on the schedule, though, the defending state champs can’t afford any more slip-ups.

W: Oakland Mills (40-7); L: Hammond (16-12), Glenelg (28-8).
Last week: Lost to Glenelg, 28-8. This week: at Marriotts Ridge, Friday at 7 p.m.

8. (5.) Reservoir (1-2, 76-66)

The Gators missed a golden opportunity to be among the one-loss teams in the county, but Long Reach took advantage instead. Things don’t get any easier this week at Atholton, but it wouldn’t be the first or last upset of 2011.

W: Marriotts Ridge (49-6); L: River Hill (28-7), Long Reach (32-20).
Last week: Lost to Long Reach, 32-20. This week: at Atholton, Friday at 7 p.m.

9. (9.) Mt. Hebron (1-2, 46-71)

A win over Howard would have been nice, but if the Vikings take care of business against Centennial, then win a few more, they'll set themselves up for a return to contention in 2012.

W: Oakland Mills (26-0); L: Hammond (36-13), Howard (35-7).
Last week: Lost to Howard, 35-7. This week: home against Centennial, Friday at 7 p.m.

10. (10.) Oakland Mills (1-2, 7-66)

The Scorpions broke out in a major way by quadrupling their season output to separate themselves from the basement. But can they keep it up against a tough Glenelg defense?

W: Marriotts Ridge (27-20); L: Mt. Hebron (26-0), Wilde Lake (40-7).
Last week: Beat Marriotts Ridge, 27-20. This week: at Glenelg, Friday at 7 p.m..

On the bubble: Centennial (0-3, 34-86), Marriotts Ridge (0-3, 40-131).

Offense
1. Long Reach, 101 points scored
2. Hammond, 86
3. Howard, 83
4. Atholton, 81
5. Reservoir, 76
6. River Hill, 63
7. Glenelg, 62
8. Wilde Lake, 60
9. Mt. Hebron, 46
10. Marriotts Ridge, 40
11. Oakland Mills, 34
12. Centennial, 7

Defense
1. Atholton, 7 points allowed
2. Hammond, 32
3. Howard, 35
4. River Hill, 35
5. Glenelg, 47
6. Wilde Lake, 51
7. Reservoir, 66
8. Long Reach, 69
9. Mt. Hebron, 71
10. Oakland Mills, 86
11. Centennial, 109
12. Marriotts Ridge, 131

Differential
1. Atholton, +74
2. Hammond, +54
3. Howard, +48
4. Long Reach, +32
5. River Hill, +28
6. Glenelg, +15
7. Reservoir, +10
8. Wilde Lake, +9
9. Mt. Hebron, -25
10. Oakland Mills, -52
11. Marriotts Ridge, -91
12. Centennial, -102

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