Westminster's Jalen Bradford, left, eludes pressure from South River's Dominic Marick on his way to a second quarter touchdown during a football game at Westminster High School on Friday, September 6.
Westminster's Jalen Bradford, left, eludes pressure from South River's Dominic Marick on his way to a second quarter touchdown during a football game at Westminster High School on Friday, September 6. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

Carroll County Athletic League play begins for Carroll’s football teams in Week 3 with a wrinkle in this year’s schedule.

It’s also rivalry week for six of the county’s seven schools. These games were played toward the end of the season in years past, but changes were made to accommodate the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association new nine-game schedule.

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Liberty (0-2) hosts Century in the 19th meeting between the crosstown rivals — the Knights lead the series 11-7, but the Lions have won the last three matchups. The teams met twice in 2008, once in Week 10 and again in the regional semifinals. The Knights won both of those meetings en route to a state semifinal berth.

The Lions defeated Century 7-0 last year to cap the program’s first 10-0 regular-season record and retain the Freedom Bell, the annual award given to the winner in the all-time series.

Liberty suffered a 27-7 loss at Walkersville last week, and the Lions are 0-2. Century lost in Week 1, but defeated Poolesville 22-6 to even its record.

Century (1-1) has the county’s leading rusher in junior Landon Bruce, who has 223 yards (5.3 per carry) and two touchdowns. Liberty counters with sophomore Tommy Nelson who averages six yards per carry (127) and one touchdown.

“We have to be a complete football team,” Lions coach Larry Luthe said in a text message. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to play Century. They are a very good football team, and we will have to play better than we have over the past two games. Our kids are excited, and we had a great week of practice.”

Francis Scott Key (1-1) hosts Winters Mill (1-1) in the Ravens RISE High School Football Showdown this week — it is also the Eagles’ third straight home game this season.

A current or former Ravens player will be in attendance for a pregame visit with each team to help direct the opening coin toss and mingle with fans in and around the stadium. Ravens cheerleaders and the team’s mascot are also scheduled to be in attendance. Each school receives a donation from the Ravens to help support its athletic programs.

This is the second of five Ravens RISE showdowns this season, and FSK and WM enter the matchup with 1-1 records. Last year, the teams played in Week 10 and the Eagles defeated the Falcons 44-8.

The teams each dropped their season openers, but prevailed in Week 2. The Eagles cruised past Centennial 43-6 and the Falcons beat Pikesville 10-6.

FSK has five players among the county’s top 10 scoring leaders. Ryan Bennett, Joe Redman, Ryan Rill, Reese Sauter, and Bryce Zepp all have two touchdowns apiece for the Eagles. Redman’s 137 rushing yards is second most in the county.

Falcons receiver Cam Vogel leads the county with 129 yards, and he averages 12.9 yards per catch — teammate Andrew Buzzeo is tied with Vogel for 10 catches.

South Carroll hosts Westminster in the 52nd meeting of Carroll’s oldest football rivalry. The series dates back to 1968, and the Owls hold a 32-19 advantage over the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers and Owls are both 0-2, and both squads are looking for their first win of the season. SC fell to C. Milton Wright and Bel Air and Westminster suffered losses against South River and Linganore, a perennial Class 3A contender.

SC’s Seamus Kearney’s 120 receiving yards is the second highest in the county. Jalen Bradford, the Owls’ new quarterback, leads Carroll with 350 passing yards through two weeks. The junior has also rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns.

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Manchester Valley is 2-0 for the first time since 2015 and the Mavericks will look to extend that streak against Southern. Mavericks senior Josh Chanaud leads the county in scoring and has eight catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. He also has two interceptions on defense.

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