With 10 weeks of the high school football regular season completed, the top teams move on to the playoffs, and the schedule for next weekend's regional semifinals was announced Sunday morning.
Teams will play Friday or Saturday with the winners moving to the regional finals the following weekend. The four regional champions in each classification will be reseeded according to their regular-season points with the highest-seeded teams hosting the state semifinals the weekend after Thanksgiving.
The state finals will be at M&T Bank Stadium with Class 3A on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.; Class 4A on Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m.; and Class 1A on Dec. 6 at 3:30 p.m., followed by Class 2A at 7 p.m.
Franklin is one of three teams returning to defend its state championship. The Indians won their first state title last season, in Class 3A. Northwest will try to repeat in Class 4A and Fort Hill in Class 1A. Fort Hill has won 24 straight games, the longest active winning streak in Maryland.
Three-time defending Class 2A champion Middletown finished 4-6, missing the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.
The field includes 10 undefeated teams, including four from the Baltimore area -- Broadneck, Howard, Mervo and FAET. Class 3A West has three unbeaten teams -- Damsacus, Linganore and South Hagerstown. Class 4A North has two -- Howard and Mervo.
Three teams are headed to the playoffs for the first time -- Marriotts Ridge, Oakdale (Frederick County) and Blair (Montgomery County).
Twenty-nine of the remaining teams have won state championships in the past. Dunbar, with nine, has the most of any team in this year's field. Allegany has eight and Damascus, seven.
Two regions include four teams that have won previous state titles -- 4A South with Douglass-PG, Suitland, Eleanor Roosevelt and Wise; and 1A East with Havre de Grace, Cambridge-South Dorchester, Kent County and Bohemia Manor.
Class 3A West includes teams that have won 17 previous state titles -- Damascus with seven and Urbana and Linganore with five each. Urbana is the only team to win four consecutive championships, from 1998-2001.