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Previewing the MIAA football championships at Towson University

MIAA championships

At Johnny Unitas Stadium, Towson University

A Conference

No. 1 Gilman (8-2) vs. No. 2 Calvert Hall (8-2)

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Coaches: Biff Poggi, Gilman; Donald Davis, Calvert Hall

Last meeting: Gilman won, 24-14, Oct. 21

Outlook: The A Conference playoffs are only 2 years old and for the second time, the title game features the same No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown. The defending champion Greyhounds are looking for their 11th MIAA title, while the 2010 champion Cardinals go after their second. Gilman has won three straight against the Cardinals but had to rally from 14 points down to win last month. That game was originally canceled by thunderstorms but MIAA officials said it had to be played, so the teams met on a Monday. This time, everything is in order leading up to the game. Last week in the semifinals, the Greyhounds ground out a 20-8 win over McDonogh, while the Cardinals mixed it up in a 34-11 win over Mount St. Joseph, a team they beat in double overtime during the regular season. Against Gilman, however, the Cardinals will have to come up with a way to sustain their offense against a defense allowing 8.3 points per game to its A Conference foes.

B Conference

No. 9 St. Paul's (10-0) vs. John Carroll (9-2)

When: Saturday, noon

Coaches: Paul Bernstorf, St. Paul's; Rich Stichel, John Carroll

Last meeting: St. Paul's won, 34-0, Oct. 12

Outlook: The Crusaders have rolled through the B Conference this fall by an average of 30 points and no team has come within 22. St. Paul's RB Dale Harris powered much of the early offense, but QB Anthony Pino has come on to make the passing game lethal, too. The offensive line has been critical to controlling the line of scrimmage and putting the Crusaders in good position to take their first title since 2003. The Patriots also won their last title in 2003, but in the C Conference, and they run a versatile offense in the triple option behind QB Brandon Lewis. St. Paul's has won eight of the past nine meetings, with the Patriots winning two years ago for their only recent victory in the series.

C Conference

St. Frances (10-0) vs. Severn (8-3)

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Coaches: Messay Hailemariam, St. Frances; Chris Kirchenheiter, Severn

Last meeting: St. Frances won, 52-31, Oct. 13

Outlook: The Admirals were the last team to beat the defending champion Panthers — 33-0 last year during the regular season — but the Panthers avenged that loss with a 44-17 win in title game. Severn is the only C Conference team that hasn't been completely overwhelmed this fall by the Panthers, who averaged a state-best 53.75 points in the eight games they have completed and have requested to move to the A Conference next fall. Last week's conference semifinal against Mount Carmel was halted in the second quarter with the Panthers leading 34-0. Mount Carmel had forfeited the regular-season finale to the Panthers the week before. The Admirals defeated St. John's Catholic Prep, 31-8, in their semifinal. In October, Severn had a 31-22 lead on St. Frances late in the third quarter before the Panthers scored the final 30 points to win the regular-season matchup.

Katherine Dunn

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