State championship games put off a week
Navy’s hosting AAC title game Saturday forced MPSSAA to make change
The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association made it official Sunday that the state football championships will be moved back one week to Dec. 8, 9 and 10 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.
Two local teams are still in the hunt for state titles: Franklin and Havre de Grace. Franklin will play Damascus for the Class 3A title Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.
Havre de Grace will meet Fort Hill for the 1A crown Dec. 10 at 3:30 p.m.
The championships, originally set for the first weekend in December, had to be moved because Navy will host the American Athletic Conference championship Saturday against Temple.
No. 5 Franklin (11-1) defeated Damascus in the 2014 Class 3A final to win the second of two straight championships. Damascus (13-0), however, is the defending champ, having beaten Dundalk in last year’s final. The Indians, who had no returning starters on offense, have won 11 straight games since falling to then-No. 1 McDonogh in the season opener.
Havre de Grace (10-2) faces a rematch of last year’s Class 1A title game against Fort Hill in the first of two Saturday games. The undefeated Sentinels are three-time defending champions and are aiming to take a sixth state championship home to Cumberland. Havre de Grace has won three state titles, but none since 1986.
Defending Class 4A champion Wise is going for its 28th straight victory when the Pumas meet Quince Orchard (12-1) on Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Wise advanced by defeating Howard in the semifinals while Quince Orchard beat Annapolis. Wise is aiming for a third state title since 2012. The Cougars are also looking for their third title, and their first since 2007.
In Class 2A, Walkersville (13-0) and Elkton (12-1) will square off in the tournament finale Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. The Lions, who are in the final for the second straight year, defeated Dunbar in the semifinal. They won their only championship in 1987. The Elks won their only championship in 2000.
The state football championships were moved from M&T Bank Stadium to Navy this year after the Ravens installed a natural grass field that likely could not withstand the effect of four high school games and be in good shape for the Ravens to play that Sunday. Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium has artificial turf.
The contingency plan was made before Navy earned the right to host the AAC championship with its win over Southern Methodist on Saturday and the correct series of other outcomes within the conference.
Andy Warner, executive director of the MPSSAA, said Navy’s hosting its conference championship was always a possibility that state officials had to consider. It won’t be the first time they have had to make adjustments to hold a state tournament at a college venue.
Ron Fritz, Senior Editor/Sports, 410-332-6421, fax: 410-783-2518, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Offensive coordinator Frank Reich (Maryland) and the Eagles will face the Packers tonight