W: WL (14-12 OT), Re (28-25), Ho (35-34), C (25-0), OM (48-6), MH (34-14), Ha (20-18). L: LR (13-12).

3. (4.) Reservoir (4-4, 150-154)

So Reservoir gets shut out by River Hill, 41-0, and drops into a negative scoring differential, and I reward them by bumping them up one spot in the rankings? What the heck am I doing anyway? Well, there's really no right or easy way of sorting out these next four teams, and you could argue for the Gators to be ranked sixth. The reason I have them here is that the one knock against them among this group is that they lost to Mt. Hebron, but that was eight weeks ago. They shut out Glenelg, and they beat Howard by 11 points (to be fair, Howard lost its starting QB on the first drive of that game). Also, their scoring differential might not look pretty right now, but we have to take into account that they face the league's two worst ranked defenses in the next two weeks. There's a pretty good chance that each of these next four teams will finish 6-4, so take your pick.

Last week: lost to River Hill (8-0), 41-0. This week: at Long Reach (2-6).

W: Ha (21-20), G (24-0), C (38-14), Ho (29-18). L: MH (26-13), A (28-25), WL (7-0), RH (41-0).

4. (5.) Howard (5-3, 243-167)

The Lions ran into a rough patch from mid-September to mid-October, losing a one-point game to Atholton, dropping a game to Hammond that they feel like they should have won, and losing their starting QB (Austin Blair) to a broken leg in a loss to Reservoir two weeks ago. But with junior Neil Caruso starting to get more comfortable running the league's second-ranked offense (30 points per game), one of the best lines in the league, and a solid defense, Howard has weathered the storm and is poised to make the playoffs. Friday night's game at Mt. Hebron is going to be critical, though.

Last week: beat Wilde Lake (4-4), 14-7. This week: at Mt. Hebron (5-3).

W: G (28-14), MR (38-7), C (21-7), LR (62-29), WL (14-7). L: A (35-34), Ha (39-28), Re (29-18).

5. (6.) Glenelg (5-3, 172-119)

Preseason darling Glenelg lost some luster after starting the season 2-3, but they've been gaining a lot of momentum lately, winning their last three games by a combined 90-26 (that stretch did include Marriotts Ridge and Oakland Mills, to be fair). They've now got the league's third-ranked defense, but unfortunately, the 2A South has four 7-1 teams, so their playoff hopes are fading. We all got to see what this team is capable of last week, though, when the Gladiators rushed for 296 yards and four touchdowns in a 29-12 win over Mt. Hebron.

Last week: beat Mt. Hebron (5-3), 29-12. This week: home against Centennial (3-5), Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

W: Ha (21-8), LR (34-6), MR (27-7), OM (34-7), MH (29-12). L: Ho (28-14), Re (24-0), RH (27-13).

6. (3.) Mt. Hebron (5-3, 189-158)

You knew that Mt. Hebron's second half schedule was tough, but yikes! After starting the season 5-0, they've now been outscored in three losses, 100-26, and they still have tough games against Howard and Hammond. The funny thing is that while it may seem like the sky is falling, if they manage to win their last two games, which isn't a stretch considering the talent they have (QB Malik Gilmore, ATH Zach Nicholas, WR Dillan Solo, RB Jackson Porter, etc.), they can secure the No. 3 seed in the 3A East regional semifinals. Right now, the Vikings just need a little push in the right direction.

Last week: lost to Glenelg (5-3), 29-12. This week: home against Howard (5-3).

W: Re (26-13), LR (32-26 OT), WL (41-6), MR (35-13), OM (29-0). L: RH (37-0), A (34-14), G (29-12).

7. (7.) Wilde Lake (4-4, 140-112)

It's hard to give Wilde Lake too many demerits for a hard-fought 14-7 loss against a very good Howard team last Friday (and Saturday), but the lack of scoring continues to be a concern. Their offense (17 points per game) has slipped to ninth in the league, and they've now lost three games by a touchdown or less. The defense (14 points allowed per game, second only to River Hill) is excellent, though. And if Wilde Lake can somehow shock River Hill this Friday, they could still be headed for the playoffs.

Last week: lost to Howard (5-3), 14-7. This week: at River Hill (8-0).