Fans will have a chance to see two of the county's better early season football games tomorrow night, when Francis Scott Key plays host to Middletown and Westminster plays host to Calvert Hall.
The first game is critical for the Eagles, who will take on the preseason favorites to repeat in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League. A win would establish Key (1-0) as a prime title contender.
The task, however, won't be easy. Middletown (1-0) has won five MVAL championships in six years and opened with a blowout win over Thomas Johnson. Knights running back Josh Kinney ran for 1,823 yards and 24 touchdowns last season for coach Tim Ambrose, in his 29th season.
"They're pretty solid this year," said new Key coach John Baugher, whose team opened with a 24-0 win over North Carroll. "This will be a pretty good indicator of where we are. We made a lot of mistakes the other night, and hopefully, we'll correct a lot of them. We're going to have to."
In Westminster, No. 3 Calvert Hall will come calling against the Owls, who lost their opener to No. 11 Long Reach, 12-0.
This game could present an even stiffer challenge.
The Cardinals (2-0) return seven starters on offense and six on defense from a team that went 7-3 last season against some of the Baltimore-area's top competition. They've opened this season with consecutive blowout wins over St. John's and Fallston, averaging more than 38 points a game.
Both games kick off at 7 p.m.
Tomko steps up in OT
Blanketed by a pair of defenders throughout Monday's 3-3 tie against No. 8 Franklin, North Carroll midfielder Heather Tomko said she became a bit frustrated. In overtime, however, the senior let those frustrations out, nearly setting up two goals and almost scoring another, helping the Panthers to dominate the extra frames against a Class 3A state finalist.
"I kept on trying to change sides and get them off ... me, but they would just follow me around the field," Tomko said. "It's kind of hard to do stuff when there are people like gnats all over you."
In overtime, Tomko barely missed setting up a pair of potential game-winners - one on a cross to the middle that no one could get a foot on and another minutes later, feeding Emily Trainor, whose chest-high shot was saved. Tomko also had a chance to score in the second overtime, but about 10 yards from the goalmouth, Franklin's Kendall Thrift came from the left side to slide-tackle the ball out of bounds, preserving the tie.
"I think this was a good test," Tomko said. "Mentally, it's going to help us throughout the season. I think a lot of people are underestimating our team this year. I think we're a great team. We've worked really hard, and we're starting to click really well together."
Century field hockey
Century's field hockey team has found that the varsity game is tougher than JV. The Knights, 6-2-2 last year at the JV level, have lost their first three varsity games by a combined score of 7-0.
However, coach Heather Arnold is very pleased with how the Knights have played. After losing to North Carroll (3-0) and Long Reach (1-0) last week, Century fell to South Carroll, 3-0, on Monday. Regardless of the scores, Arnold said she likes how her team has consistently improved.
"I asked the girls to go out and improve from one game to the next," Arnold said. "If we improve each game, I'll be happy."
The Knights controlled play for long stretches early against South Carroll (2-0), forcing Cavaliers coach Erin Soulen to call a timeout about 15 minutes into the game. Arnold has gotten good play from juniors Kelly Waterman and Lauren Bair, as well as sophomore Jordan Holler.
Jeff Seidel contributed to this article.