The final regular-season weekend of high school football means it’s rivalry week for some of the oldest traditional private and public school gridiron meetings. Here’s a look at four of the longest-running traditions in Baltimore-area football.
St. Paul’s (5-3) at Boys’ Latin (4-5)
Friday, 2:30 p.m.
Coaches: Ritchie Schell, Boys’ Latin; Scott Ripley, St. Paul’s
About the rivalry: The Crusaders won last year’s Alumni Cup Challenge, 34-14, to end a three-year Boys’ Latin run. St. Paul’s leads the series 41-22-1 although the Lakers have won 10 of the past 17 games. Their rivalry began in 1933, but after seven years, St. Paul’s moved to the A Conference and two years later Boys’ Latin switched to six-man football, interrupting the rivalry for 22 years before they resumed play in 1961.
Players to watch: Boys’ Latin senior free safety Giovanni Biggers, who is headed to North Carolina, has 71 tackles, two interceptions and five pass breakups. St. Paul’s senior dual-threat quarterback Leo Kelly, who has thrown for 1,108 yards and nine touchdowns this fall, threw for 283 yards and had a hand in four touchdowns in last year’s Crusaders win.
About the game: Both teams have been eliminated from the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference playoffs, making this game perhaps even more important as a season finale. St. Paul’s has allowed fewer points than any other team in the conference and has a strong rushing game to go with Kelly’s passing ability. The Lakers suffered their two conference losses by a total of eight points.
City (2-7) vs. Poly (2-7)
Friday, 6 p.m.
At Morgan State
Coaches: Michael Hamilton, City; Marquise O’Neal, Poly
About the rivalry: The oldest high school football rivalry in Baltimore is believed to be the second-longest continuous public school rivalry in the nation. City won its sixth straight game with last year’s 22-18 victory. The Knights can tie the series with a win this year. Poly leads 62-61-6.
Players to watch: City senior dual-threat quarterback Michael Bond has scored game-winning touchdowns in the past two rivalry games, which were decided by a total of six points. He might also see time at receiver. Engineers dual-threat quarterback Mervyn Thomas-Crawford will be a key to leading a young Poly team.
About the game: For one of the rare times in recent history, both City and Poly have been eliminated from playoff contention, but winning the season finale for bragging rights is just as important in this rivalry. The game will be played at Morgan State this year, because the Ravens have a game Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium and the grass field could not recover in time.
Chesapeake-AA (7-2) at Northeast (6-3)
Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Coaches: Rob Elliott, Chesapeake; Brian Baublitz, Northeast
About the rivalry: Chesapeake has won six of the past seven Dena Bowls between these two Anne Arundel County schools just six miles apart. The Cougars’ 17-0 victory last season avenged a 28-22 loss to Northeast in 2016.The series was tied through 2010, but Chesapeake’s run of five wins from 2011 to 2015 put the Cougars ahead and they now lead 23-18.
Players to watch: Chesapeake senior Russell Tongue has 27 receptions for 631 yards and seven touchdowns while doubling as a defensive back with four interceptions. For the Eagles, senior Joshua Krcik has run for 826 yards and has 1,400 all-purpose yards for a team averaging 326 yards per game.
About the game: Both teams have clinched berths in the Class 3A East regions, so it’s possible they could meet again in the playoffs, but that takes nothing away from the rivalry game. Look for a clash between Chesapeake’s high-powered passing attack and the Eagles’ steady running game.
McDonogh (2-6) at Gilman (1-8)
Saturday, 2:30 p.m.
Coaches: Hakeem Sule, McDonogh; Nick Bach, Gilman
About the rivalry: Unranked Gilman stunned No. 4 McDonogh with one of the biggest upsets of last season, running up a 17-0 lead en route to winning the Price Trophy, 24-21. The teams have traded wins over the past four years, but Gilman leads the series, 61-36-5.
Players to watch: McDonogh senior running back Jabriel Johnson has run for 1,057 yards and scored 10 touchdowns, including one passing. Gilman’s 6-foot-5, 284-pound offensive tackle Zachary Franks is a top-20 player in Maryland’s Class of 2019 and has committed to Northwestern.
About the game: Records don’t mean a lot in these rivalry games, but for McDonogh and Gilman, a win would put a positive finish on a challenging season. Both teams graduated a lot of talent after last season and are rebuilding with new coaches. Neither team has a win over an A Conference opponent and there will be no playoffs this fall, so a win in the season finale would mean a lot.