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Potential exists for chaotic final two week of football

So this week three golf teams from Carroll will vie for a state title. The next week at least one and as many as three local field hockey teams will likely do the same, on the exact day that a team or two from this county will go after championships at the state cross country meet. After that, a handful of county soccer teams will be going after state titles.

No Carroll football has ever won a state title. Given that every county team but one has suffered at least two losses this season, and that roadblocks are annually set up in Frederick and Allegany counties, it's unlikely any county team will change that this year. But, of course, that is why they hold playoffs in the first place.

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And, anyway, the final two weeks of the football regular season have the potential to be as interesting as any postseason anyway.

South Carroll, however, could make it far less so. The Cavaliers (6-2, 5-0 county) are on a roll, having won by a combined 73-0 the past two weeks. The lone team without a loss in county play, the Cavs can pull off a rare feat indeed by wrapping up the county title in Week 9 with a win over North Carroll on Friday night.

Then again, the Panthers (7-1, 4-1) also control their championship destiny. If they win their final two, over South Carroll and Manchester Valley, they are the county champs.

But there is another scenario that isn't all that far-fetched that could produce a chaotic and unprecedented finish with five teams tied atop the county standings.

OK, as dominant as South Carroll has been in winning six in a row by an average score of 41-8, shutting out county rivals the past two weeks, there's no real reason to think the Cavaliers could lose their next two.

But it isn't totally out of the question.

First, they get a North Carroll team that has the best overall record in Carroll. Then, they get a Westminster (4-4, 3-2) team that has had their number the past few years and will be playing its Super Bowl in Week 10 given that the Owls won't be a playoff team this year.

If North Carroll beats South Carroll, the Panthers are suddenly in control of the county race and would win it outright by beating Manchester a Valley in Week 10. But the Mavericks (5-3, 3-2) are pretty good this year, too, and have fared well over the years in the Battle of the Bypass, including a win last year.

So if South Carroll loses its last two, and North Carroll loses to the Mavs after beating the Cavs, and if Westminster beats Century, Liberty (5-3, 3-2) beats Winters Mill, and Man Valley beats Francis Scott Key in Week 9 — as they will all be favored to do — and then Liberty beats Century in Week 10, guess what happens?

That's right, a five-way tie. The Cavs, Panthers, Mavericks, Lions and Owls would all be 5-2 in county play including 2-2 against each other.

Did you follow all that?

Nothing like that has ever happened and, given all that must occur over the final two weeks, probably won't happen this year either. But in a season when Manchester Valley can whip Westminster, Westminster can beat Liberty and Liberty can rout Man Valley, or when Liberty can hand North Carroll its only loss of the season and then lose twice in a row, or when South Carroll can go from being outscored 70-13 in the first two weeks and then outscore it's opposition 245-54 over the next six, anything can happen.

A five-way tie would be a crazy, wacky, stunning end to the season.

And it wouldn't really be the end. If that scenario plays out there's a pretty decent chance Liberty and South Carroll would meet again in the playoffs, and it would be a virtual certainty that North Carroll and Man Valley would battle again in Week 11 for an immediate rematch.

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Pretty cool, huh? As much fun as it was to have three teams enjoy perfect regular seasons in a span of five years, it wasn't always interesting. Even casual fans knew exactly what was going to happen each week. This season may not be perfect, but it's been interesting. And the next few weeks have the potential to be even more so.

Bob Blubaugh is the Times' sports editor. His column appears every Sunday. Reach him at 410-857-7895 or bob.blubaugh@carrollcountytimes.com.

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