Four weeks of football are already in the books, and Carroll County has a handful of football teams in the playoff hunt with five games left in the regular season.

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association shortened the regular season to nine games to expand the postseason to give more teams an opportunity to make the playoffs. The top eight teams in each classification based on point average advance to the state tournament. If a tie exists after the final regular season game, tie-breaking procedures will be determined.

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Liberty (2-2) and Century (2-2) are fifth and sixth in Class 2A West, followed by Winters Mill (2-2) in eighth. Manchester Valley (4-0) is second in 3A East behind Marriotts Ridge, and Westminster (2-2) is fifth. Francis Scott Key (1-3) currently sits in fifth in the 1A North standings.

Century hosts Francis Scott Key this week, and the Knights are coming off a 28-7 Carroll County Athletic League victory over Winters Mill. Junior running back Landon Bruce leads the county with 445 rushing yards, and had three touchdowns. He found the end zone twice to help the Knights defeat Winters Mill in Week 4.

The Knights improved to 13-4 in the all-time series against WM, and the Falcons have not beaten Century since 2011.

Francis Scott Key suffered a 35-15 loss at home against Liberty last week and are winless through two county games this fall.

Senior Joe Redman leads the Eagles’ running game with 307 yards and four touchdowns. He also leads the team with 21 tackles on defense.

Winters Mill has three of Carroll’s top receiving leaders in Andrew Buzzeo, Cayden Beard, and Cam Vogel. Quarterback Matheo Cuenca leads the county with 693 yards and six touchdowns. The Falcons host Liberty, and the Lions are in sight of their third straight county victory.

The Lions boast speedy running back Tommy Nelson, who leads the team with 313 yards and two touchdowns. Senior McClain Butler commands the Lions’ defense, and the county, with 60.5 tackles, while quarterback Nate Kent has thrown for 535 yards and three scores this year.

The Mavericks defeated the Cavaliers for the first time in program history last week, and they travel to Westminster with hopes to remain unbeaten. The Owls have won their last two games after dropping the first two contests of the season against South River and Linganore.

They routed South Carroll in Week 3 and came from behind to defeat Glenelg 36-29, thanks to a game-winning touchdown in the final minute from junior running back Erick Stranko. Stranko leads the Owls in rushing with 324 yards and six touchdowns — he’s also one of the team’s tackles leaders with 30.5.

Ethan Zepp leads Westminster with 31.5 tackles.

Man Valley had solid performances from senior quarterback Garrett Deltuva and senior running back Nathaniel Costley against the Cavaliers last week. Deltuva and Stranko share the county scoring lead with six rushing touchdowns to account for 36 points.

South Carroll (0-4) hosts Poolesville for this week’s non-county clash. The Cavaliers are looking for their first win of the season, and hope to bounce back after last week’s defeat at Man Valley. Sam Lape leads the team’s rushing game with 167 yards, and Zach Bass’ 30 tackles is a team high.

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