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Howard County 2021 football power rankings | First edition

The first two weeks of the 2021 Howard County football season have produced some upsets and narrow victories. Now, there are more questions than answers. Is there a changing of the guard in the county? Or will the traditional powers bounce back to end the season atop the standings? We'll have to wait to learn the answers to those questions. But in the meantime, let's try to sort out the county's football scene. Here's a ranking of the 12 Howard County football teams heading into Week 3.
(Doug Kapustin/Baltimore Sun Media Group)
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Every Sunday of each week, reporter Jacob Meyer will rank the football teams in Howard County. You can tweet at him @jcalvinmeyer or email him at jameyer@baltsun.com with comments or questions about the rankings.
(Jacob Calvin Meyer)
Howard County 2021 football power rankings | First edition
The first two weeks of the 2021 Howard County football season have produced some upsets and narrow victories. Now, there are more questions than answers. Is there a changing of the guard in the county? Or will the traditional powers bounce back to end the season atop the standings? We'll have to wait to learn the answers to those questions. But in the meantime, let's try to sort out the county's football scene. Here's a ranking of the 12 Howard County football teams heading into Week 3.
The first two weeks of the 2021 Howard County football season have produced some upsets and narrow victories. Now, there are more questions than answers. Is there a changing of the guard in the county? Or will the traditional powers bounce back to end the season atop the standings? We'll have to wait to learn the answers to those questions. But in the meantime, let's try to sort out the county's football scene. Here's a ranking of the 12 Howard County football teams heading into Week 3. (Doug Kapustin/Baltimore Sun Media Group)
12. Reservoir (0-2)
After opening the season with a 7-6 loss to Mt. Hebron, the Gators fell to Long Reach 48-0 in Week 2. Reservoir has lost 16 of its last 17 games dating back to the 2018 season. Up next: vs. Howard, Sept. 17.
After opening the season with a 7-6 loss to Mt. Hebron, the Gators fell to Long Reach 48-0 in Week 2. Reservoir has lost 16 of its last 17 games dating back to the 2018 season. Up next: vs. Howard, Sept. 17. (Photo courtesy of Israel Carunungan)
11. Centennial (0-2)
The Eagles were blown out in both games so far this season, losing 36-7 to Oakland Mills in Week 1 and 26-7 to Hammond in Week 2. Centennial, led by one of the top running backs in the county in Praise Bright, is coming off a spring 2021 season that was the best campaign for the program since 2013. Up next: vs. Atholton, Sept. 17.
The Eagles were blown out in both games so far this season, losing 36-7 to Oakland Mills in Week 1 and 26-7 to Hammond in Week 2. Centennial, led by one of the top running backs in the county in Praise Bright, is coming off a spring 2021 season that was the best campaign for the program since 2013. Up next: vs. Atholton, Sept. 17. (Photo courtesy of Israel Carunungan)
10. Marriotts Ridge (0-2)
The Mustangs brought back only five starters from this past spring, and their youth has been on display this fall. After being one of the top programs in the county the last few seasons, including earning a share of the county championship in 2019, the Mustangs have opened this fall with losses to Howard (23-0) and Mt. Hebron (42-21). Up next: vs. River Hill, Sept. 17.
The Mustangs brought back only five starters from this past spring, and their youth has been on display this fall. After being one of the top programs in the county the last few seasons, including earning a share of the county championship in 2019, the Mustangs have opened this fall with losses to Howard (23-0) and Mt. Hebron (42-21). Up next: vs. River Hill, Sept. 17. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Pung)
9. Mt. Hebron (2-0)
The Vikings are enjoying one of their best starts to a season in the last 15 years. Only one other time since 2007 has Mt. Hebron started a campaign 2-0, which was the 2012 season in which the Vikes opened 5-0. After earning a thrilling 7-6 triumph over Reservoir in Week 1, Hebron won in convincing fashion over Marriotts Ridge, 42-21. Up next: vs. Long Reach, Sept. 17.
The Vikings are enjoying one of their best starts to a season in the last 15 years. Only one other time since 2007 has Mt. Hebron started a campaign 2-0, which was the 2012 season in which the Vikes opened 5-0. After earning a thrilling 7-6 triumph over Reservoir in Week 1, Hebron won in convincing fashion over Marriotts Ridge, 42-21. Up next: vs. Long Reach, Sept. 17. (Karl Merton Ferron)
8. Hammond (1-1)
After a season-opening loss to Glenelg (35-14), the Golden Bears beat Centennial 26-7 on Sept. 10. Hammond has several tests over the next few weeks that can determine how far it could move up in the rankings. Up next: vs. Oakland Mills, Sept. 17.
After a season-opening loss to Glenelg (35-14), the Golden Bears beat Centennial 26-7 on Sept. 10. Hammond has several tests over the next few weeks that can determine how far it could move up in the rankings. Up next: vs. Oakland Mills, Sept. 17. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Lamb)
7. Wilde Lake (0-2)
While the Wildecats are 0-2, both of their losses are by one point to teams that are now 2-0. Wilde Lake lost to Atholton 7-6 in Week 1 and to Oakland Mills 21-20 this past Friday. Up next: vs. Glenelg, Sept. 17.
While the Wildecats are 0-2, both of their losses are by one point to teams that are now 2-0. Wilde Lake lost to Atholton 7-6 in Week 1 and to Oakland Mills 21-20 this past Friday. Up next: vs. Glenelg, Sept. 17. (Brian Krista/Baltimore Sun Media)
6. Oakland Mills (2-0)
The Scorpions' run-heavy offense has been successful so far this season, scoring 57 points in two games. Oakland Mills beat Centennial 36-7 in Week 1 and came back from down 14-0 at halftime to top Wilde Lake in Week 2. Up next: at Hammond, Sept. 17.
The Scorpions' run-heavy offense has been successful so far this season, scoring 57 points in two games. Oakland Mills beat Centennial 36-7 in Week 1 and came back from down 14-0 at halftime to top Wilde Lake in Week 2. Up next: at Hammond, Sept. 17. (Karl Merton Ferron)
5. Howard (1-1)
No team in the county entered this fall with fewer returning starters than the Lions. After a Week 1 win over Marriotts Ridge (23-0), Howard was worn down by River Hill's run game on Sept. 10 in a 16-0 loss. Up next: at Reservoir, Sept. 17.
No team in the county entered this fall with fewer returning starters than the Lions. After a Week 1 win over Marriotts Ridge (23-0), Howard was worn down by River Hill's run game on Sept. 10 in a 16-0 loss. Up next: at Reservoir, Sept. 17. (Jeffrey F. Bill/Baltimore Sun Media)
4. Long Reach (2-0)
The gap between the top four squads is razor thin, so having any team at No. 4 is unfair. The Lightning, led by running back Julius Saunders, opened their season with a stunning 14-7 upset of River Hill and then crushed Reservoir 48-0 in Week 2. A win is a win, no matter what, but Long Reach's victory over River Hill was aided by five Hawks turnovers, including two in the red zone, and a few other debilitating mistakes. The Lightning have finished outright in the top three in the county once in the last 15 years (2016). Up next: at Mt. Hebron, Sept. 17.
The gap between the top four squads is razor thin, so having any team at No. 4 is unfair. The Lightning, led by running back Julius Saunders, opened their season with a stunning 14-7 upset of River Hill and then crushed Reservoir 48-0 in Week 2. A win is a win, no matter what, but Long Reach's victory over River Hill was aided by five Hawks turnovers, including two in the red zone, and a few other debilitating mistakes. The Lightning have finished outright in the top three in the county once in the last 15 years (2016). Up next: at Mt. Hebron, Sept. 17. (Daniel Kucin, Jr. / For Baltimore Sun Media)
3. Glenelg (1-1)
The Gladiators lost to Atholton 26-24 this past Friday after beating Hammond 35-14 in Week 1. Glenelg graduated the majority of its starters from this past spring, but the Gladiators have one of the best quarterbacks in the county in senior Bisi Owens. Since 2012, Glenelg has finished outside the top three in the official standings just once. Up next: at Wilde Lake, Sept. 17.
The Gladiators lost to Atholton 26-24 this past Friday after beating Hammond 35-14 in Week 1. Glenelg graduated the majority of its starters from this past spring, but the Gladiators have one of the best quarterbacks in the county in senior Bisi Owens. Since 2012, Glenelg has finished outside the top three in the official standings just once. Up next: at Wilde Lake, Sept. 17. (Photo courtesy of Israel Carunungan)
2. Atholton (2-0)
Entering the season, the county's coaches believed the Raiders would take the next step as a program. Returning 13 starters from this past spring, Atholton opened the season with a 7-6 win over Wilde Lake and then followed that up with a 26-24 victory over Glenelg. Since 2009, the Raiders have been below .500 only three times but have finished the season in first only once (2011). Up next: at Centennial, Sept. 17.
Entering the season, the county's coaches believed the Raiders would take the next step as a program. Returning 13 starters from this past spring, Atholton opened the season with a 7-6 win over Wilde Lake and then followed that up with a 26-24 victory over Glenelg. Since 2009, the Raiders have been below .500 only three times but have finished the season in first only once (2011). Up next: at Centennial, Sept. 17. (Brian Krista/Baltimore Sun Media)
1. River Hill (1-1)
Having the Hawks atop the rankings through two weeks is more about the program's history than it is about the small sample size of two games this fall. River Hill has finished first (or tied for first) in the county standings eight times in the past 14 years. After the Week 1 loss to Atholton, in which the Hawks committed five turnovers, Brian Van Deusen's squad earned a dominant victory over Howard on Sept. 10 by rushing for 355 yards and shutting out the Lions' offense. Up next: at Marriotts Ridge, Sept. 17.
Having the Hawks atop the rankings through two weeks is more about the program's history than it is about the small sample size of two games this fall. River Hill has finished first (or tied for first) in the county standings eight times in the past 14 years. After the Week 1 loss to Atholton, in which the Hawks committed five turnovers, Brian Van Deusen's squad earned a dominant victory over Howard on Sept. 10 by rushing for 355 yards and shutting out the Lions' offense. Up next: at Marriotts Ridge, Sept. 17. (Jeffrey F. Bill/Baltimore Sun Media)
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