South Carroll and Francis Scott Key High schools swept the first place awards in their divisions in marching band competition Saturday night at Frederick County's Middletown High School's "A Knight in the Valley" regional tournament.
The South Carroll Cavaliers took the four specialty awards -- best drum major, band front (flag bearers), music and percussion -- with a score of 86.55, defeating three other bands in Group III, which includes those with 56 to 80 musicians.
Brad Collins, South Carroll's band director, said the group put more emphasis on individual marching and musicianship than on ensemble work.
"We had a good week of rehearsals, and that was the key to it," he said.
The score was the highest the band has ever attained this early in the season, he said. Among the 12 bands in competition, South Carroll was second only to North Hagerstown, a Group IV band, which includes those with 81 musicians or more.
The North Carroll High School Panthers came in third in Group III with a score of 70.55. Other Group III finishers were Walkersville, second with 74.65, and New Oxford, Pa., fourth with 69.55.
The Francis Scott Key High School Eagles took the best music, band front and percussion awards with its score of 76.15, beating the Fairfield, Pa., score of 65.15 in Group I, those with 35 or fewer musicians. Fairfield won the best drum major award.
The Liberty High School Lion's Pride Marching Band also competed this weekend, earning second place out of four bands in Group III at the "Echoes in the Valley" regional tournament sponsored by Cumberland Valley High School.
Jim Lauber, the Band Boosters historian, said the Lions scored 84.85 and took the best percussion award. Other finishers were Red Land, Pa., District, first with 87.4; Salem, Pa., third with 84.25; and Middletown, Pa., fourth with 76.8.
For the second week in a row, the bands marched in rain that made the fields muddy and slippery.
"We were real pleased -- we thought we did a little better than we did, but nobody slipped or fell," Mr. Lauber said.
The Westminster High School Owls did not have a competition this weekend.