Crunch time in Week 9
Football teams look to stay in postseason hunt
The region football play- offs don’t begin for another three weeks, but the postseason has already started for several teams as the race for the play- offs is already heating up heading into Week 9 of the regular season.
According to the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association points standings, the Class 2A South Region has Southern Maryland Athletic Conference counterparts Lackey, Patuxent, Calvert along with Gwynn Park of Prince George’s County with identical records of 7-1, and they currently make up the four playoff spots entering tonight’s action.
Several key matchups involving SMAC squads could determine a team’s playoff fate.
Headlining the schedule tonight will be two Chesapeake Division games in Waldorf with Calvert tak- ing on Westlake (5-3) and Patuxent facing Thomas Stone (4-4). Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m.
After a 41-0 shutout of Stone last week at home, the Cavaliers could lock up a playoff spot with a win over the Wolverines.
Calvert is averaging 27 points per game and allowing a little over sev- en points per game. The Cavaliers’ rushing attack averages 258 yards per contest led by senior Shamar Gray, who is av- eraging almost 112 yards a game.
“The kids have a vision in the playoffs and Westlake is contender in our region and is not mathematically out yet,” said Calvert head coach Rick Sneade, whose lone loss was to Patuxent 23-8 in Week 6. “Their quarter- back [Chad Palmer] is very skilled with his arm and Westlake bring a lot of pressure up front, so we have to be ready.”
Westlake held off La Pla- ta 32-29 last week, snapping a two-game losing skid.
Patuxent has aver-
aged 31 points per game through eight games, while its stingy defense has given up just 6.6 points per game. It is an- chored by a passing at- tack led by junior quarter- back Reese Crounse, who has thrown for over 1,400 yards this season.
Lackey, who is atop the SMAC Chesapeake Di- vision at 4-0 and is two points ahead of Patuxent in the 2A South points standings, will be on the road versus La Plata (26). A win will assure the Chargers an automatic berth in the postseason where it did not make it last season due to a 6-4 record.
The Chargers, whose lone loss came to North Point 35-15 in Week 2, is on a six-game win streak and has been spearhead- ed by SMAC’s leading rusher Malik Burns, who has run for 1,749 yards and scored 19 touch- downs.
“If we win out these last couple weeks, we control our own destiny and get home field advantage in the playoffs,” said Lackey head coach John Lush, whose offense has rushed for 343.5 yards a game, while the defense has given up just nine points a contest. “We have some big guys up front that have been opening up holes for Malik, who has been hard to bring down. Our kicker Brett Culhane has did a great job and has not missed a
extra point or field goal all season.”
In the 4A East standings, North Point (7-1), which is atop the SMAC Potomac Division at 4-0, sits in third behind Anne Arundel County outfits Annapolis and Old Mill, which are both 8-0. The Eagles will host Hunting- town at 7 tonight and will keep its playoff spot intact with a win tonight. North Point features a balanced offense that is scoring 30 points a game, while the defense has allowed double
digits just three times with two shutouts.
Chopticon (6-2), which suffered a 29-21 setback to Patuxent last week, is currently on the outside looking in by being in sixth in the points stand- ings. The Braves host Leonardtown at 6 tonight as they look for wins and some help to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Over in 3A South, Great Mills (3-5) is in a mustwin situation tonight when it hosts St. Charles at 6 tonight. The Hornets
are currently fifth in the points standings, with the top four teams in each region making the playoffs.
Great Mills got back into the playoff discussion after receiving a forfeit win when an investigation by Calvert County Student Services found that Northern had used ineli- gible players.
“If we lose, we are out plain and simple,” Great Mills head coach Tyrone Bell said. “We have to find a way to get it done.”
McDonough (2-6), fifth in the 1A North standings, travels to Northern for a 7 p.m. kickoff as it looks to stay in the playoff hunt.
The Rams picked up a win by forfeit after St. Charles was found in violation of using an ineligible player in a 14-0 win over McDonough on Sept. 9. The MPSSAA made its ruling on Tuesday at a hearing in which St. Charles appealed. That appeal was denied Wednesday.