Week 10 on the grid­iron is here

Foot­ball teams look to stay alive, lock up seeds for play­offs

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MASON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Sev­eral foot­ball teams in the South­ern Mary- land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence know their fate head­ing into the fi­nal week of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

Some teams have ei­ther clinched a play­off spot or are in the mix for a post- sea­son berth.

Tonight a lot is at stake as teams clash with hopes of se­cur­ing one of the top four reg­u­lar sea­son point av­er­ages, based on win points and bonus points (wins earned by de­feat- ed op­po­nents) di­vided by games played, in their re­spec­tive re­gions. Only the top four seeds in each re­gion clinch play­off berths.

It all comes down to Week 10.

The four teams are al­ready set in the Class 2A South Re­gion and will come to down to seed- ing af­ter tonight’s ac­tion con­cludes.

The mar­quee matchup in Week 10 will be for 2A South im­pli­ca­tions as the Lackey Charg­ers (8-1, 5-0 Ch­e­sa­peake) is sched­uled to host the Calvert Cava­liers (8-1, 4-1) in a SMAC Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion game at 7 p.m.

A win for Lackey over Calvert would give it the top seed and with it home field through­out its stay in the re­gional play­offs. The Cava­liers could then drop to the No. 4 spot, while Patux­ent and Gwynn Park of Prince Ge­orge’s County — if the teams were to win their Week 10 matchups — the se­cond and third seeds, re­spec­tively.

If Calvert were to win, it would open the door for

Patux­ent (8-1) to take the top seed in the re­gion if it were to fin­ish the reg­u­lar sea­son with a win over West­lake.

En­ter­ing the fi­nal week the race for the top spot in the 2A South is tight as Patux­ent leads with 81 points, one point ahead of Lackey. Calvert is in third with 79 points and Gwynn Park sits in the fi­nal spot with 74.40 points.

“We con­trol our own des­tiny. If we win, we out- right win the di­vi­sion ti­tle and get the top seed with a home play­off game,” said Lackey head coach John Lush, whose team is on a seven-game win streak. “If we lose, we have to go on the road, so it is a big game for us. Calvert is very tal­ented and well coached. Our strengths match up with their strengths.”

Calvert suf­fered a 27-21 set­back to Lackey in the fi­nal week of the reg­u­lar sea­son in 2015, but tonight will be look­ing for re­venge in a must-win sit­u­a­tion to have a home play­off game.

A win for the Cava­liers also means that Calvert, Lackey and Patux­ent would share the Ch­esa- peake Di­vi­sion crown.

“This is a very im­por­tant game. We have the op­por­tu­nity to play at home. It is a lot eas­ier when you play in your back­yard,” said Calvert head coach Rick Sneade, whose team has won three straight. “Lackey is a good team and it is go­ing to be very phys­i­cal on both sides.”

With both teams fea­tur­ing sim­i­lar run-heavy of- fenses, Lackey will be led by the area’s se­cond-lead- ing rusher in Ma­lik Burns, who has rushed for 1,956 yards and 22 touch­downs this sea­son. The Charg­ers’ de­fense has been just as strong, hav­ing al­lowed 80 points through nine weeks.

“Our five horses up front has done a great job of cre­at­ing lanes for Ma­lik to keep the chains mov­ing,” Lush said. “It has been hard for of­fenses to move the ball on us. Our de­fense is very strong.”

Calvert, which is aver- ag­ing al­most 26 points a game, has a bal­anced rush­ing at­tack that is led by se­nior quar­ter­back Jack Lan­ham and se­nior run­ning backs Levi Brick- ner and Shamar Gray. Gray leads the backs with 938 yards along with nine touch­downs, while Lan- ham has rushed for over 500 yards and 11 touch­downs. Brick­ner has scored six touch­downs on the sea­son.

The Cava­liers de­fense has also been stout with 26 take­aways on the sea­son.

Patux­ent will host West­lake (5-4) in an­other SMAC Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion matchup that is sched­uled for 7 p.m. It is av­er­ag­ing 33 points per game, while its de­fense has al­lowed just 59 points all sea­son and sur­ren­dered dou­ble dig­its in just one game this sea­son.

Ju­nior quar­ter­back Reese Crounse has thrown for over 1,600 yards this sea­son and will lead a lethal air at­tack.

North Point (8-1, 5-0 Po­tomac), which has al- ready clinched its post- sea­son berth in the 4A East, will travel to North­ern tonight in a SMAC Po­tomac Di­vi­sion game. Win or lose, the Ea­gles will head to the play­offs in the re­gion’s third spot where they would travel to meet the loser of this week’s Old Mill-Annapolis matchup.

The Ea­gles, who cur- rently boast a six-game win streak, will be led by ju­nior dual threat quar- ter­back Jemichael Jones, who has passed for 1,888 yards and 19 touch­downs. He also leads the team in rush­ing with 884 yards and 12 touch­downs.

McDonough (2-7) is still alive in the 1A North Re­gion and must win to clinch the fourth and fi- nal play­off spot as it hosts La Plata (2-7) at 7 p.m. A loss for the Rams would elim­i­nate them from con­tention.

In St. Mary’s County, Chop­ti­con (7-2) plays at Great Mills (3-6) at 6 tonight with play­off im­plica- tions for both teams. The win­ner es­sen­tially will need a mir­a­cle from other re­sults around the state to climb into the top four in their re­spec­tive re­gions.

The Braves sit in sixth spot in the 4A East stand­ings with 62 points, while Anne Arun­del’s Broad­neck and Arun­del hold down the fourth and five spots with 69 and 64 points, re­spec­tively.

The Hor­nets are in sixth in the 3A South stand­ings with 27 points, with Mont­gomery County’s Wheaton and Rockville in fourth and fifth with 35 and 33 points, re­spec­tively.

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