A Class 4A football playoff berth is at stake tonight at 7:30 as Annapolis (7-2) and Severna Park (6-3) meet for the 35th time in the county's oldest rivalry.
Neither team can win the county 4A title nor the 4A East Region. North County, which plays at 3A Broadneck (6-3) at 7:30 p.m., already has clinched both. Annapolis would finish at 6-1 in the county to tie North County, but the Knights took the head-to-head meeting, 40-6.
The Baltimore Sun's 12th-ranked Annapolis hopes to join No. 6 North County (8-1) and No. 7 Southern (8-1, Class 2A) in the state playoffs by knocking off the Falcons. Annapolis would be a definite, but if Severna Park wins, the Falcons hope to slip in and take the eighth seed.
Severna Park stands 13th in the state 4A rankings with 68 points and a playoff points average of 7.55. A victory over Annapolis would be worth 15 points -- eight for a Class 4A team and seven bonus points.
The Falcons could gain five additional bonus points if Queen Anne's, Thomas Stone, Springbrook, Chesapeake and either Glen Burnie or Old Mill win their final games.
What helps Severna Park is that South Region-leading Largo (7-2) plays Oxon Hill (7-2) and the loser is out. The four region winners automatically qualify.
Severna Park could nose out three other teams currently ahead of it -- Woodlawn, Northern and Lake Clifton -- with a little help from their opponents.
Annapolis and Severna Park don't really need anything to play for, but usually something is at stake when these two traditionally run-oriented teams clash.
The host Fighting Panthers lead the series 17-14-3 and took last year's game, 21-0, but the Falcons have won five of the past seven.
Panthers coach Roy Brown (36-16) is 2-2 against the Falcons and coach Andy Borland (118-93), who is 8-13 lifetime against Annapolis. Borland lost his first six games to Annapolis, but won two in a row in 1979 and 1980 with the latter being quite a show.
Severna Park won, 29-25, in 1980 at home as Jeff Sanders' three touchdowns overcame a school-record 279 yards rushing and two touchdowns by Donald "Turkey" Brown, who went on to play at Oklahoma, the University of Maryland and briefly in the NFL.
Brown appeared to have won the game with a 64-yard run in the final minute, but it was called back for a clipping penalty.
The reason I mention this is that the two teams have backs with such game-breaking capabilities in Kenny Boyd of Annapolis and Mark Frye of Severna Park.
Boyd, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior, leads the county and metro area in rushing with a school-record 1,291 yards (the old record was 1,114 by Shawn Taylor last year) on 203 attempts (6.4 average) and county-leading totals of 17 touchdowns and 108 points.
Frye is averaging 8.0 yards with 893 yards on 111 attempts, and the 6-0, 170-pound junior has scored 10 touchdowns.
Several county and state records could fall this final week of the regular season, which matches archrivals.
At Broadneck, Bruins junior end Jason Smith, who tied the county record for receiving yards (1,002), set by Tommy Butz of Brooklyn Park in 1988, can break a county record for receptions with two more tonight.
North County's Mike Quarles set the record with 67 receptions last year. The state record is 72, by Tom Montenayor of John Carroll in 1968.
Knights quarterback Justin Rice has 25 touchdown passes. The county/state record is 28 set last year by Eric Howard of North County and Jason Boseck of Pallotti.
Finally, St. Mary's (6-2) plays host to St. Joseph's of New Jersey (5-1) at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Weems Whelan, and the Saints' premier place-kicker, Mark Kiefer, needs two field goals to tie the county season record of nine set by Old Mill's Steve Oliver in 1991.
Kiefer owns the county career record for field goals with 14, and his county-leading punting average of 46.3 is a tad behind the county record of 47.1, set by another Saint in Gerard Shanley in 1985.