Crunch time in Week 9

Foot­ball teams look to stay in post­sea­son hunt

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­

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.

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