Carroll County’s high school teams haven’t played since November of 2019, but the 2020 season is about to begin ― in March of 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out high school athletics in the fall, and rearranged the seasons going forward. Carroll was the lone county in Maryland that completed a full six-week winter sports season, which started Jan. 4 and ended Feb. 13. Now it’s onto six weeks of fall sports as spring looms on the calendar and winter weather still lingers.
Six county football teams begin their seasons starting Friday, with Carroll looking at six weeks worth of games. The openers are taking place at Western Regional Park in Woodbine ― Liberty and Westminster face off Friday at 4:30 p.m., followed by Century playing Manchester Valley. South Carroll and Winters Mill have a game scheduled for Saturday, March 6 at 6 p.m., also at Western Regional.
Each team has a “open date” throughout the season, and Francis Scott Key takes its by week during Week 1.
Friday’s temperatures aren’t expected to reach 40 degrees, with a low of 27.
Supervisor of athletics Michael Duffy took to Twitter this week to remind people that Carroll’s Week 1 football slate is being played under Howard County Recreation and Parks guidelines with Western Regional Park being the host site.
The games are not open to the general public, and no more than one parent per athlete may attend. The bleachers will not be accessible, face coverings are required for everyone in attendance, and social distancing must be followed.
“It is our hope that everyone will abide by these restrictions,” part of Duffy’s post read. “If the rules are not followed, we may be forced to immediately suspend (and ultimately cancel) the games, and it may jeopardize our ability to ever utilize these facilities in the future.”
Westminster is the reigning Carroll County Athletic League champion, and the Owls (9-3) played in the Class 4A state quarterfinals in 2019. Their Week 1 opponent also made it to the state playoffs a season ago ― Liberty went 8-4 and reached the 2A quarterfinals.
The Owls won the Carroll County Athletic League title in 2019 by outlasting Liberty in overtime, a 34-31 thriller.
Century (6-4) was another Carroll playoff team in 2019, as was Man Valley (6-5). The Mavericks enjoyed a 3A East postseason win, but lost to the Knights 27-14 during the regular season.
South Carroll (1-8) ended its 2019 campaign with a win in the season finale against FSK, and the Cavaliers battled Winters Mill before losing 21-14. The Falcons finished 4-5 in their most recent season.
Francis Scott Key (3-7) also qualified for the 2019 postseason in 1A North, and the Eagles get this season started March 12 at Winters Mill.