Roy Collins and his North Carroll Titans don't have a football game this weekend. The Carroll County Football League's regular season is over.

The 22 kids on the Titans 13-under team can relax and await the outcome of the this weekend's Damascus-Clarksburg first round playoff game. Next Saturday, they play the winner of that contest between the division's two lowest-seeded teams.


While Collins doesn't mind his players relaxing a bit and re-charging their batteries. the head coach does not want them letting down too much. Such can result in a disastrous end to an utterly spectacular season.

If anybody looks unbeatable in this postseason, it's the Titans. They went 8-0 in the division; no Carroll County youth football team did better. They shut out their final five opponents by a combined 210-0. The Titans' 298 points led the CCFL's 13-u division and the 41 points scored against them were second-lowest.

On top of that, this team is a two-time defending CCFL Super Bowl champion. It won the ages 9-11 title in 2015 and the 10-12 crown last year.

A lot of of last year's champs are back for one more crack at a title before moving on to high school next fall. There are eight new players on the 22-player roster. However four of them are actually returners. They left last year after playing on the championship Titans of the year before.

All four are linemen, and they're back because of the CCFL's new rule that linemen playing tackle-to-tackle in the 13-under division aren't governed by a weight limit. Collins explained that league officers realized that many of them will play high school football next year and need a place to play.

Those returning linemen have been a bonanza for Collins. Those four "really big boys" as he calls them, clear the way for a powerful running game that has been hard for opponents to stop. North Carroll's strategy on offense is quite simple.

"We are a physical team. We ground and pound and beat and beat and wear the other team out," he said.

This year though, Collins and his assistants have complicated things even more for their beleaguered opponents. They've electrified their passing game. A strong-armed quarterback and fast receivers comprise this new offensive dimension.

"Our speed is phenomenal. We have three of the fastest kids in the county," Collins said.

He explained that in the county's annual track and field meet for seventh graders, three players from his team were in the top four finishing positions in some of the dash and relay events.

The have transferred those track skills to football.

The Titans opened the season with two wins. Then on Sept. 23, they traveled to Olney. There, North Carroll found itself in a dogfight with the Montgomery County team.

"We knew they would be good.And it would be tough playing on the hottest day of the year," Collins recalled.

It was a back-and-forth game with each side gaining and losing the lead a couple of times. Leading 16-14, the locals made a big goal line stand just before halftime in which they stopped the Bears on four plays from inside their 2-yard line.


That stop became bigger and bigger as the clock ticked on.

"We weren't ready for them. But (the players) learned in that game that you can't take anybody for granted. You have to play 110 percent on every play. You can't take time off," Collins said.

His troops rallied in the final moments.Trailing 20-16, they got the ball back with 1:30 left in the game, and they scored the winning touchdown with but 29 seconds remaining.

The boys took that lesson about the dangers of being unprepared to heart with a vengeance after that. They simply demolished everybody else they played.

Collins says he sets goals for his players in each game such as scoring a certain number of points by a certain time.

The idea is to keep them focused and playing hard, although that can also be hard on the other team.

Collins thinks that staying focused is key to his players maintaining their momentum heading into the postseason.And that means during practice, too.

"You have to prepare and work hard in practice. In every practice you have to try to get better. That's what we tell the kids," he said. "It doesn't matter if you are undefeated. You need to train harder than ever if you want to go to the Super Bowl."

But if recent history is any indication, these kids will take his words to heart. And they will wind up there yet again this year.