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Carroll County Times
Carroll County High School Sports

Football: Trio of Carroll football teams prepare for second round of playoffs

Carroll County had five teams qualify for the postseason last week and of those five, three are still alive.

Liberty (7-3) travels to Glenelg (7-3) for a Class 2A West second-round matchup Friday. The Lions routed Oakland Mills 51-13 to advance, thanks to touchdowns from Nate Kent, Tommy Nelson, Peyton Scheufele, and Mike Spitz.

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It was the most points the Lions scored against an opponent all season, and Kent said after the game that the team’s effort on both sides of the football gave them a boost of confidence heading into this week’s game against the Gladiators.

Kent, Liberty’s senior quarterback, leads Carroll County with 1,794 passing yards and 19 touchdowns. He also leads the Lions on the ground with 740 rushing yards and eight TDs. Nelson, a sophomore, has 679 yards and six rushing touchdowns.

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Kent and Nelson each average 6.2 yards per carry in the Lions’ backfield.

Seniors Spitz and Scheufele lead the Lions on the receiving end — Spitz has 43 receptions for 743 yards and six touchdowns, and Scheufele has 31 for 461 yards and five TDs.

Senior linebacker McClain Butler is the county’s tackles leader for a third straight season and he has 132.5 through 10 games. Butler commands a defense that has held seven opponents to 15 points or less this fall.

Manchester Valley (6-4) gets a second straight home advantage when the Mavericks host Wilde Lake (3-7) on Friday in a 3A East second-round game.

The Mavs built an eight-point lead over Hammond in the first quarter last week and never lost it. The 14-6 score stood the rest of the way, thanks to a 59-yard touchdown run from senior running back Nathaniel Costley and a 19-yard reception from Zach Bowen.

Costley (6.3 yards per carry) leads the team’s offensive front with 861 rushing yards and six touchdowns through 10 games. Vince Smith leads Man Valley’s defense with 75 tackles, and the unit has held six opponents to 20 points or less in 2019.

Westminster defeated Long Reach 47-28 last week to capture its eighth straight win of the season. The Owls (8-2) dropped their first two games this fall, but haven’t looked back.

Since then, the Owls shut out three teams in three straight weeks — Man Valley, Francis Scott Key, and South Carroll — and captured their fifth county championship in nine seasons with a 34-31 overtime victory at Liberty on Oct. 25.

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Junior running back Erick Stranko leads the Owls on the ground with 1,056 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. Stranko averages 9.2 yards per carry and leads Carroll in rushing yards.

Senior Nate Mattingly, who punched in the game-winning touchdown to beat Liberty in Week 8, has 680 rushing yards and 11 TDs.

Stranko also leads the Owls with 94 tackles on defense and Ethan Zepp is close behind with 92. The Owls host Marriotts Ridge (8-2) in a 3A East second-round game Friday at Ruby Field.

The eight winners of the second-round region games qualify for the state quarterfinals on Friday, Nov. 22 or Saturday, Nov. 23. The eight teams in each classification will be re-seeded based on regular season point average with the higher-seeded teams earning home field advantage.

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The four winners of those games advance to the state semifinals slated for Thanksgiving weekend on Friday, Nov. 29 or Saturday, Nov. 30.

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