Previewing the state high school football regional finals
13 local teams are involved in 7 regional championships around the Baltimore area this weekend
Sherwood (9-2) at No. 4 Westminster (11-0)
Region: 4A North
Coaches: Mike Bonavia, Sherwood; Brad Wilson, Westminster
Last meeting: First meeting
Outlook: The Owls, who are looking for their first state title, meet a Sherwood team that won the last of its three titles in 2008. In last week's semifinal, the Warriors used a strong running game and big plays to get past Catonsville, 26-7, in a game that was 13-7 with eight minutes left. The Owls have relied on their passing game led by Deryk Kern, who has thrown for 3,304 yards and 55 touchdowns — one shy of the state record. In last week's 51-7 win over Blake, the Owls ran for three touchdowns for the first time this season.
No. 7 Meade (9-2) at No. 6 Old Miill (9-2)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Region: 4A East
Coaches: Rich Holzer, Meade; Chad McCormick, Old Mill
Last meeting: Old Mill won, 28-18, on Sept. 29
Outlook: The Mustangs pulled off the biggest surprise of the regional semifinals when they stunned previously unbeaten and Class 4A East No. 1 seed Arundel, 36-28. That came a week after a 14-0 upset of No. 15 Broadneck to clinch a regional playoff berth. Now the Mustangs will try to complete the Anne Arundel County upset triangle against the defending state champion. The Patriots, who have won two of the past three Class 4A titles, rebounded from a 36-35 loss to South River in the regular-season finale with a 21-7 win last week over the Seahawks with a strong ground game led by Shane Brown, who carried the ball 40 times for 225 yards and two touchdowns.
No. 12 Atholton (10-1) at No. 3 River Hill (11-0)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Region: 3A East
Coaches: Kyle Schmitt, Atholton; Brian Van Deusen, River Hill
Last meeting: River Hill won, 21-12, last year
Outlook: The most anticipated matchup in Howard County football in recent years had to wait for the playoffs, because in the county's scheduling rotation, they did not meet during the regular season. They last met a year ago in the regional final, where the Hawks avenged an early season 14-0 loss and went on to win their third state championship in five years. The Raiders are still looking for their first crown. The Hawks have beaten the Raiders in two of the last three regional finals and have won eight of the last 10 meetings, with Atholton's only wins coming in the previous two regular seasons.