We wanted an upset, and we got it. Bubble-team Long Reach pulled off an improbable, 15-14, win over reeling Atholton to shake up the rankings, and now it's time to sort things out. It was very difficult to figure out which team replaces Long Reach on the bubble, because there are five teams with one win or less and four of them could finish the season with four or five wins.
On the other end of the spectrum, River Hill, Glenelg and Howard have separated themselves from the pack.
In a treat for the fans, Howard and Glenelg will square off Friday night in the Game of the Week.
(Last week's ranking in parentheses, all games are Friday at 7 p.m.)
1. (1.) River Hill (4-0, 126 points scored-16 points allowed)
Some (including myself) wondered if River Hill was going through growing pains after a close Week 1 victory at Glenelg, but one month later there is no questioning who the top dog in Howard County is. The Hawks have outscored their opponents by more than 100 points and they have the league's top offense and defense.
Last week: beat Centennial (3-1), 42-7. This week: at Mt. Hebron (0-4).
Wins: G (7-3), MR (49-0), A (28-6), C (42-7). Losses: NA.
2. (2.) Glenelg (3-1, 76-22)
Not only have the Gladiators shined in the first part of the season, they've done it against a very tough gauntlet of opponents. They haven't allowed more than seven points in a single game yet this season, and the seven points came against River Hill. Any high school football fan should be very excited for Friday night's match-up.
Last week: beat Hammond (3-1), 35-3. This week: home against Howard (4-0).
W: WL (14-6), Re (24-6), Ha (35-3). L: RH (7-3).
3. (4.) Howard (4-0, 123-49)
I had to give the Lions a boost once they became one of only two 4-0 teams in the league, along with No. 1 River Hill. Their plus-74 scoring differential is second best in the league. They haven't had the toughest schedule so far, but they have a chance to show something Friday night at Glenelg.
Last week: beat Mt. Hebron (0-4), 35-13. This week: at Glenelg (3-1).
W: WL (13-10), A (40-16), MR (35-10), MH (35-13). L: NA.
4. (3.) Hammond (3-1, 101-57)
Just a minor adjustment here as the Golden Bears had a few weaknesses exposed in a 35-3 loss to Glenelg. This team has an excellent coaching staff and you can bet that those issues will be addressed prior to this week's game against a solid Reservoir squad.
Last week: lost to Glenelg (3-1), 35-3. This week: at Reservoir (2-2).
W: MH (27-0), LR (41-8), OM (30-14). L: G (35-3).
5. (5.) Wilde Lake (2-2, 73-41)
Old steady Wilde Lake. The third-ranked defense hasn't let any game get out of hand, and the offense has gotten progressively better as the season has advanced. Their two losses are against two of the top three teams in the league.
Last week: beat Marriotts Ridge (1-3), 28-7. This week: at Atholton (0-4).
W: LR (29-7), MR (28-7). L: Ho (13-10), G (14-6).
6. (6.) Centennial (3-1, 122-90)
The Eagles don't lose any points for losing to River Hill without two of their best defensive players, but they'll need to bounce back quickly to overcome a Long Reach team on the rise.
Last week: lost to River Hill (4-0), 42-7. This week: home against Long Reach (1-3).
W: Re (28-7), OM (59-20), MH (28-21). L: RH (42-7).
7. (8.) Reservoir (2-2, 98-87)
The Gators gave their point differential a huge boost with last week's 49-21 win, and now they can make a big jump in the rankings if they can manage to upset the visiting Golden Bears.
Last week: beat Oakland Mills (1-3), 49-21. This week: home against Hammond (3-1).
W: MH (36-14), OM (49-21). L: C (28-7), G (24-6).
8. (9.) Mt. Hebron (0-4, 48-126)
The Vikings are a good 0-4 team, if that's any consolation? They've been in every game but unfortunately the schedule doesn't get any easier this week...
Last week: lost to Howard (4-0), 35-13. This week: home against River Hill (4-0).
W: NA. L: Ha (27-0), Re (36-14), C (28-21), Ho (35-13).
9. (10.) Oakland Mills (1-3, 99-144)
The season started off with great promise, as the Scorpions scored 64 points in their first two games, including a 44-6 win over Long Reach. But the defense has allowed 138 points in the last three games, which isn't good.
Last week: lost to Reservoir (2-2), 49-21. This week: at Marriotts Ridge (1-3).
W: LR (44-6). L: C (59-20), Ha (30-14), Re (49-21).
10. (NA) Long Reach (1-3, 36-128)
The Lightning's season was on the brink until 15 unanswered second half points against Atholton gave them a jolt of life. Time will tell how that momentum carries over into a tough road contest against a Centennial team hungry for a bounce back victory.
Last week: beat Atholton (0-4), 15-14; This week: at Centennial (3-1).
W: A (15-14). L: OM (44-6), Ha (41-8), WL (29-7).
On the bubble: Atholton (0-4, 71-90); Marriotts Ridge (1-3, 24-147).
<noscript><a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/7445508/">What should be the Football GOW (Oct. 11)?</a></noscript>
River Hill, 126
Oakland Mills, 99
Wilde Lake, 73
Mt. Hebron, 48
Long Reach, 36
Marriotts Ridge, 24
River Hill, 16
Wilde Lake, 41
Mt. Hebron, 126
Oakland Mills, 144
Marriotts Ridge, 147
River Hill, +110
Wilde Lake, +32
Oakland Mills, -45
Mt. Hebron, -78
Long Reach, -92
Marriotts Ridge, -123