Last week's upset extravaganza was exciting for high school football fans, because three of the six games saw lower-ranked teams win — No. 8 Mt. Hebron over No. 7 Wilde Lake, No. 5 Howard over No. 3 Centennial, and, of course, No. 6 Hammond over No. 1 River Hill to end a 30-game winning steak — but it made things difficult for anyone trying to find some kind of order among all of these teams.
And hey, I'm a fan at heart, too -- I just can't root for the teams I cover. I'm excited to see what happens with the Glenelg at Centennial, Howard at Hammond and Reservoir at Wilde Lake games tonight. Even Saturday's games — Long Reach at Marriotts Ridge and Mt. Hebron at Atholton — are intriguing.
Even the Oakland Mills at River Hill game is worth keeping an eye on. After all, Hammond did pass for 440 yards against a formidable Hawks defense, and Oakland Mills can air it out pretty good with quarterback David Pindell and his receiving corps: Dershone Hayman, Rashawn Curbeam and Kaiyon Stanfield.With only three weeks left in the regular season, let's take a look at the playoff picture. Even after Howard's big win over Centennial, the Lions are still sitting in fifth place in the 4A North behind Paint Branch, Perry Hall, Sherwood and Kenwood. They'll likely need to win out against Hammond, River Hill and Long Reach to get in.
The 3A East, on the other hand, is looking good for Howard County. Glenelg and River Hill are in the top two spots with City and Digital Harbor mixing it up with Reservoir and Centennial for the last two. All six of those teams are either 6-1 or 5-2, though, so the last three weeks are important.
Finally, Hammond's stunning win last week propelled the Golden Bears into the fourth spot in the 2A South, but with two undefeated teams occupying the top two spots — Patuxent and Gwynn Park — Hammond probably will need to win out against Howard, Wilde Lake and Centennial to secure a trip to the postseason.
As for the county championship, Glenelg can put itself in position for at least a share of the title with a win over Centennial tonight. Glenelg's final two opponents — Atholton and Long Reach — have combined to win one game.
But if Centennial wins, things get even more interesting. With half of the league — Glenelg (6-1), River Hill (6-1), Centennial (5-2), Hammond (5-2), Howard (5-2) and Reservoir (5-2) — within one game of the top spot, it really is up for grabs.
Don't forget to follow us on Instagram at HoCoTimesSports for lots of outstanding HoCoSports photos, and check me out on Twitter @ACHoCoSports for live updates from around the league now that my brother's wedding is done. Congratulations, Phillip and Sarah!
1. (2.) Glenelg (6-1, 197 points scored-59 points allowed)
Glenelg is the big winner from all of last week's surprises. The Gladiators are solid in all facets of the game, and have won six in a row, averaging almost 40 points per game in the last four. If they can survive tonight's game at Centennial, they would be in good position for at least a share of the county title and a top seed in the playoffs. It's a good time to be a Glenelg football fan.
Last week: beat Marriotts Ridge (1-6), 37-9. This week: at Centennial (5-2), Friday at 7 p.m.
W: WL (14-6), Re (24-6), Ha (35-3), Ho (35-20), OM (49-8), MR (37-9). L: RH (7-3).
2. (1.) River Hill (6-1, 239-71)
Last week, I wrote: "The Hawks haven't allowed more than a touchdown in any game this season, but they'll see some good offenses in the second half. Can any team end their winning streak, which is now at 30 games?" One could question if River Hill should fall further back after the loss to Hammond, but let's not go crazy. I still think they'll finish the regular season 9-1.
Last week: lost to Hammond (5-2), 47-38. This week: home against Oakland Mills (3-4), Friday at 7 p.m.
W: G (7-3), MR (49-0), A (28-6), C (42-7), MH (42-8), WL (33-0). L: Ha (47-38).
3. (4.) Reservoir (5-2, 181-134)