The 2013 Howard County football season has hit the halfway point, and we're starting to see which teams have a shot at the playoffs and which teams, in the immortal words of Jim Mora, are just trying to "win a game, another game."
Last week was eventful, as Reservoir upset Hammond, 24-21, in a wild game that shakes up these rankings. As a result, one 4-1 team gets a significant (and some will say overdue) boost. River Hill and Glenelg remain the class of the county, and it's not too early to start looking forward to a mid-November 3A East playoff showdown between the two.
After Week 5, Howard is in a battle to make the 4A North regional semifinals; River Hill, Glenelg and Centennial are in good shape in the 3A East (though Centennial has difficult games ahead against Howard and Glenelg), and Hammond is hanging tough in the 2A South, but a very tough second-half schedule is ahead for the Golden Bears.
It's impressive that Howard has potential playoff teams in three different classifications at the season's halfway point.
From my perspective, the most difficult cluster of teams to sort out is the Wilde Lake-Reservoir-Hammond trifecta, but that will take care of itself in the next few weeks.
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1. (1.) River Hill (5-0, 168 points scored-24 points allowed)
Kalonji Moore has rushed for 552 yards and four touchdowns in the last four games. The Hawks go for their 30th consecutive win Friday night at Wilde Lake.
Last week: beat Mt. Hebron (0-5), 42-8. This week: at Wilde Lake (3-2), Friday at 7 p.m.
Wins: G (7-3), MR (49-0), A (28-6), C (42-7), MH (42-8). Losses: NA.
2. (2.) Glenelg (4-1, 111-42)
The Gladiators might have had the toughest first-half schedule of any team in the league, and they made it through in impressive fashion. This team is for real.
Last week: beat Howard (4-1), 35-20. This week: at Oakland Mills (2-3), Friday at 7 p.m.
W: WL (14-6), Re (24-6), Ha (35-3), Ho (35-20). L: RH (7-3).
3. (3.) Howard (4-1, 143-84)
Last Friday didn't go exactly as the Lions had planned, but this is still an excellent football team with a shot to become Howard County's first 4A playoff team. They've got another big challenge this week at Reservoir.
Last week: lost to Glenelg (4-1), 35-20. This week: at Reservoir (3-2), Friday at 7 p.m.
W: WL (13-10), A (40-16), MR (35-10), MH (35-13). L: G (35-20).
4. (6.) Centennial (4-1, 156-97)
I probably should have made this move sooner, but it's done. Centennial has beaten Reservoir, which has beaten Hammond, so Centennial and Reservoir move ahead of Hammond. That is logic in action. I have a feeling, though, that more shuffling will be done by season's end.
Last week: beat Long Reach (1-4), 34-7. This week: home against Atholton (0-5), Saturday at 1 p.m.
W: Re (28-7), OM (59-20), MH (28-21), LR (34-7). L: RH (42-7).
5. (5.) Wilde Lake (3-2, 96-53)
You might look at Wilde Lake's wins against three teams with two combined wins and be unimpressed, but keep in mind that the Wildecats have also held heavyweights Glenelg and Howard to a combined 27 points in their two losses. If they can limit River Hill to only two touchdowns, who knows what might happen.
Last week: beat Atholton (0-5), 23-12. This week: home against River Hill, Friday at 7 p.m.
W: LR (29-7), MR (28-7), A (23-12). L: Ho (13-10), G (14-6).
6. (7.) Reservoir (3-2, 122-108)
The Gators got off to a rough start in 2013 with a 28-7 loss to Centennial, but as it turns out, the Eagles are good. I foresee a strong second half for Reservoir.
Last week: beat Hammond (3-2), 24-21. This week: home against Howard (4-1), Friday at 7 p.m.
W: MH (36-14), OM (49-21), Ha (24-21). L: C (28-7), G (24-6).
7. (4.) Hammond (3-2, 122-81)
Two losses in a row for the Golden Bears, who have outscored their opponents by 41 points. They'll try to get back on track in a homecoming game against Marriotts Ridge before traveling to River Hill on Oct. 18.
Last week: lost to Reservoir (3-2), 24-21. This week: home against Marriotts Ridge (1-4), Saturday at noon.
W: MH (27-0), LR (41-8), OM (30-14). L: G (35-3), Re (24-21).
8. (8.) Mt. Hebron (0-5, 56-168)
The 2012 regional semifinalists are still seeking their first win in 2013. They've had a tough first-half schedule, but they've lost 10 of their last 11 games, dating back to last season.
Last week: lost to River Hill (5-0), 42-8. This week: at Long Reach (1-4), Friday at 7 p.m.
W: NA. L: Ha (27-0), Re (36-14), C (28-21), Ho (35-13), RH (42-8).
9. (9.) Oakland Mills (2-3, 151-165)
The Scorpions have quietly averaged more than 30 points per game (third-best offense in the league) after scoring only 64 points all of last season.
Last week: beat Marriotts Ridge (1-4), 52-21. This week: home against Glenelg (4-1), Friday at 7 p.m.
W: LR (44-6), MR (52-21). L: C (59-20), Ha (30-14), Re (49-21).
10. (10.) Long Reach (1-4, 43-162)
The Lightning offense hasn't gotten going in 2013, scoring a league-worst 8.6 points per game. But they beat Atholton, so they deserve this spot.
Last week: lost to Centennial (4-1), 34-7. This week: home against Mt. Hebron (0-5), Friday at 7 p.m.
W: A (15-14). L: OM (44-6), Ha (41-8), WL (29-7), C (34-7).
On the bubble: Atholton (0-5, 83-113); Marriotts Ridge (1-4, 45-199).
River Hill, 168
Oakland Mills, 151
Wilde Lake, 96
Mt. Hebron, 56
Marriotts Ridge, 45
Long Reach, 43
River Hill, 24
Wilde Lake, 53
Long Reach, 162
Oakland Mills, 165
Mt. Hebron, 168
Marriotts Ridge, 199
River Hill, +144
Wilde Lake, +43
Oakland Mills, -14
Mt. Hebron, -112
Long Reach, -119
Marriotts Ridge, -154