Mervo one win away from a Bal­ti­more City Di­vi­sion I ti­tle

North Har­ford’s Dick­er­son ties Md. record for car­ries

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Kather­ine Dunn kather­ine.dunn@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/kdunnsun

This fall, Mervo’s foot­ball team was sup­posed to be re­build­ing, but after an up-and-down start, the Mus­tangs are just a win away from Bal­ti­more City’s Di­vi­sion I cham­pi­onship.

After beat­ing Pat­ter­son, 37-0, Fri­day, the Mus­tangs (6-2) are 5-1 in the di­vi­sion with four teams trail­ing them by a game and just two weeks re­main­ing in the reg­u­lar sea­son. They have one game left with one of those sec­ond-place teams — Poly — and if they win that game Fri­day night, the Mus­tangs will clinch the di­vi­sion ti­tle even if they drop their sea­son fi­nale against Dig­i­tal Har­bor.

The Mus­tangs have beaten the other three 4-2 teams — Dun­bar, City and Dou­glass — so a win over Poly would give them the head-to-head edge over ev­ery­body in the fi­nal stand­ings if there’s a tie.

If the Mus­tangs lose to Poly, sev­eral pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios come into play be­cause City, Dou­glass and Poly have two games re­main­ing against other 4-2 teams.

“We re­ally don’t want to get caught up in the ‘what-ifs,’ ” Mervo coach Pa­trick Nixon said. “If we lose, we’ll be caught up in whole bunch of ties, so we’re hop­ing we can han­dle busi­ness. Stay­ing fo­cused is re­ally the.key.” On a roll: Two area teams aim to keep lengthy league win­ning streaks go­ing as they head into the ninth week of the sea­son Fri­day night.

No. 5 Howard (8-0) has won 32 straight games in Howard County play and hasn’t lost to a county op­po­nent since fall­ing to Reser­voir, 13-6 on Oct. 11, 2013. Fri­day night, the Lions travel to Glenelg to com­pete for the El­gard Tro­phy. The Gla­di­a­tors have won eight of the past 12 meet­ings in the ri­valry, but the Lions have taken three of the past four, in­clud­ing the past two.

No. 6 Old Mill (8-0) has won 26 straight Anne Arun­del County league games. The Pa­tri­ots’ last league loss came Sept. 12, 2014, 14-7 against Arun­del. Un­like Howard, the Pa­tri­ots play Anne Arun­del op­po­nents in the play­offs and Old Mill lost to Broad­neck in last year’s Class 4A East re­gional opener, so their streak is only in league play.

This week, the Pa­tri­ots host Meade (5-4), which has had an up-and-down sea­son. Awin by Old Mill on Fri­day could set up a sea­son-fi­nale bat­tle of un­beat­ens with An­napo­lis for the county cham­pi­onship Nov. 4. That’s a record: North Har­ford run­ning back Cole Dick­er­son was side­lined by an in­jury dur­ing Fri­day’s game at Bel Air, but he did the work of two backs the pre­vi­ous week.

In the Hawks’ 35-34 win over Fall­ston on Oct. 14, Dick­er­son ran the ball 56 times, ty­ing the state record for most car­ries in a game. He gained 261 yards, scored four touch­downs and suf­fered the bruised knee that kept him out of the loss to Bel Air.

Hawks coach Gene Liebel usu­ally runs two backs, but on home­com­ing, JT Kidd was “un­avail­able,” the coach said, de­clin­ing to elab­o­rate.

“Cole said, ‘With JT out, I’ll carry the load for us,’ ” Liebel said. “It was home­com­ing, he wanted the ball, so we kept giving it to him.”

Dick­er­son said he had never car­ried the ball near that many times in a game.

“I knew I had to take the whole work­load on,” Dick­er­son said. “It was al­most un­be­liev­able. I knew it was a lot of car­ries, but I didn’t know it was that many.”

Dick­er­son tied the record set by Kent Is­land’s Evan Green­wood, also against Fall­ston, in a play­off game Nov. 22, 2013. By the num­bers: Here’s a look at a few of the key sta­tis­tics after Week 8.

3: Teams un­beaten in the MIAA A Con­fer­ence — Arch­bishop Spald­ing, St. Frances and Mount Saint Joseph.

5: Un­de­feated teams re­main­ing in the Bal­ti­more area — An­napo­lis, Old Mill, Howard, Here­ford and Regi­nald Lewis.

55: Yards of to­tal of­fense al­lowed by Cen­tury in a 46-6 win over Win­ters Mill.

268: Yards rush­ing by Arch­bishop Cur­ley’s Ty­rone Roper, who ran 23 times and scored twice in the Fri­ars’ 39-6 win over St. Paul’s.

368: Yards gained by Arch­bishop Spald­ing quar­ter­back Evan Focht­man — 206 pass­ing, 162 rush­ing — in a 31-16 win over McDonogh.

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