The Gators did lose to Centennial in Week 1, but more recently they've dealt losses to Hammond and Howard to earn this spot. Plus, their hard-charging offense, behind sturdy running back Avian White, is well suited for the onset of cold weather.

Last week: beat Long Reach (1-6), 46-20. This week: at Wilde Lake (3-4), Friday at 7 p.m.

W: MH (36-14), OM (49-21), Ha (24-21), Ho (13-6), LR (46-20). L: C (28-7), G (24-6).


4. (6.) Hammond (5-2, 213-133)

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For those who wonder if the Golden Bears deserve to be No. 1 after knocking off River Hill, it's not  that simple. Hammond has two losses with three more tough games ahead. I see them finishing 7-3, but if they do get to the postseason, they've proven that they can beat anyone.

Last week: beat River Hill (6-1), 47-38. This week: home against Howard (5-2), Friday at 7 p.m.

W: MH (27-0), LR (41-8), OM (30-14), MR (44-14), RH (47-38). L: G (35-3), Re (24-21).


5. (5.) Howard (5-2, 178-123)

The Lions have a tough road ahead to get to the 4A North playoffs, but the win over Centennial was a good start and earns them this spot.

Last week: beat Centennial (5-2), 29-26. This week: at Hammond (5-2), Friday at 7 p.m.

W: WL (13-10), A (40-16), MR (35-10), MH (35-13), C (29-26). L: G (35-20), Re (13-6).


6. (3.) Centennial (5-2, 213-126)

This 3-4-5-6 group is difficult to sort out and one team has to sit in the No. 6 spot. If the Eagles knock off Glenelg tonight, everything changes again.

Last week: lost to Howard (5-2), 29-26. This week: home against Glenelg (6-1), Friday at 7 p.m.

W: Re (28-7), OM (59-20), MH (28-21), LR (34-7), A (31-0). L: RH (42-7), Ho (29-26).


7. (8.) Mt. Hebron (2-5, 90-188)

After starting the season 0-5, the Vikings have shown signs of life, winning two games in a row by a touchdown. Their home stretch is favorable, and with playmaker Zach Nicholas on the field, the Vikings have a  chance to finish .500.