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And then there were five...

The ranks of unbeaten football teams dwindled by nearly half this week as Poly, Atholton and Chesapeake-Baltimore County suffered their first marks in the loss column.

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That leaves Arundel, River Hill, Joppatowne, Boys' Latin and Forest Park. Each is 9-0 and each can claim an undefeated regular-season title with a win this weekend.

Here's a look at how they remained perfect and who they must beat to stay that way.

No. 1 Arundel

All-Metro quarterback Billy Cosh threw for six touchdowns in a 62-21 route of Meade to boost his state career record for passing TDs to 100. He has 43 for the season. R.J. Harris caught two of those passes Friday night boosting his career total to 41 and setting a new state public school record. The Wildcats have scored 423 points this season, outscoring the opposition by an average of 47-11.

Next up: Southern (6-3) at home Friday at 6:45. If coach Chuck Markiewicz's Wildcats can get past the Bulldogs, they will clinch the Anne Arundel County title outright. A win would give the Wildcats 20 straight victories over county opponents. Their last loss came to Old Mill, 34-19 on Sept. 12, 2008. Old Mill's only loss this season has been to the Wildcats 34-27 in Week 1. No other team has come closer than within 22 points of Arundel.

No. 3 River Hill

The Hawks won their 37th straight game and clinched a seventh straight Howard County championship with Friday's 35-14 win over No. 14 and previously-unbeaten Atholton. Kevin Johnson ran 19 times for 120 yards and a touchdown, but the defense gets most of the credit for this one. The Hawks shut out the Raiders in the second half, holding them to just 38 yards of offense. Thomas Erdman had eight tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble while Johnson had three tackles. The Hawks defense has allowed an average of just 5.6 points this season.

Next up: at Centennial (4-5) Friday at 7 p.m. A win would give coach Brian van Deusen's Hawks a 43rd straight win against Howard County opponents and their fourth straight unbeaten season in the county. It would also give them great momentum going into the state playoffs, where they will go for a Class 3A crown after winning the last two in 2A.

No. 6 Joppatowne

The Mariners' defense allows just 5 points per game and no team has scored more than 10 on them his fall. Friday's 35-0 win over Havre de Grace was their fourth shutout and wrapped up the UCBAC Chesapeake Division championship. A 12-7 win over North Harford in Week 7 determined the title. Friday night Joel Scott ran eight times for 100 yards and one touchdown and returned an interception 53 yards for a touchdown. David Miller had four sacks. Three-year starter Jake McGinnis is the team's leading tackler.

Next up: At C. Milton Wright (3-6), Friday at 7 p.m. The Mariners hit the road for the first time in six weeks as they go for their 17th straight win against a UCBAC opponent (It would be many more if not for several forfeits for an ineligible player in 2007 and 2008). They haven't lost a game on the field to a UCBAC opponent since September 2006 to North Harford.No. 9 Boys' Latin

The Lakers had already earned a spot in the MIAA B Conference championship with their overwhelming performance against Archbishop Spalding a week earlier, but they were just as dominant in their 34-15 win over Archbishop Curley Friday. Patrick Steele ran for four touchdowns, carrying 20 times for 188 yards. Running behind blocking fullback Drew White and a punishing offensive line, Steele has 24 TDs for the season.

Next up: At St. Paul's Friday at 2:30 p.m. The Lakers last won a B Conference title in 2002, when the conference was divided in half and they took the Silver Division title. They shared C Conference titles in 2003 and 2004 but they will have to stop perhaps their fiercest rival (ala Calvert Hall-Loyola) to stay unbeaten. Coach Ritchie Schell's team has won four of the last five meetings, but St. Paul's won, 19-17, in the final 35 seconds a year ago.

Forest Park

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Quarterback Travis Fonseca threw for four touchdowns and Andrew Allen had three sacks Friday as the Foresters beat Douglass, 43-14, in their highest offensive output of the season. Forest Park, which has no big stars and relies on a complete team approach, has won three games by a touchdown or less. Their average margin of victory has been 12.6 points, but in the five games before Douglass, it was 7. That's been enough to turn the program around from last season's 2-8 finish.

Next up: Lake Clifton (7-2) at home Friday at 2 p.m. Coach Damon Bomar's Foresters can win the Baltimore City Division II championship outright with a win over the Lakers. A tie would make them co-champs, because the Lakers' loss to Southside has them coming into the game at 6-1 in the division.

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