Sprint­ing to the fin­ish in 2018

Foot­ball teams jockey for po­si­tion as reg­u­lar sea­son reaches end

The Enterprise - - Sports - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com

In the mo­ments fol­low­ing his team’s 21-19 vic­tory against Thomas Stone last Satur­day, West­lake head foot­ball coach Tony Zac­carelli didn’t need to think about any sce­nar­ios his team would need to meet in or­der to earn a berth in the up­com­ing play­offs. As far as he was con­cerned, the play­offs started a long time ago.

“We have to be more fo­cused go­ing into next week. We played a play­off game to­day and have a play­off game next week,” he said. “I’ve been telling the guys that all year long. It’s a play­off game ev­ery week. Y’all lose, you go home. There are some things we need to clean up, penal­ties, fin­ish­ing drives, but over­all we’re right there where we need to be.”

Where the Wolver­ines will be tonight is Calvert, while they will bat­tle the Cava­liers in what amounts to an elim­i­na­tion game as the pro­grams vie for a spot in the Class 2A South Re­gion play­off field.

West­lake (7-2 over­all) en­ters the fi­nal week of the reg­u­lar sea­son sit­ting in the third spot in the re­gion, and with a win could po­ten­tially move up to the No. 2 spot and host a firstround game.

Calvert (6-3) en­ters the fi­nal week out­side of the top four, but a win against West­lake would most likely se­cure its spot in the post­sea­son. Howard County pro­grams Glenelg and River Hill have se­cured spots, with Glenelg the re­gion’s top seed, while Howard County’s Oak­land Mills and Wilde Lake re­main in the mix. Re­gard­less, only one of Calvert or West­lake will be part of the post­sea­son dance.

“We’ve got a game next week that’s ba­si­cally for all the mar­bles,” Calvert head coach Rick Sneade said in the af­ter­math of his team’s 43-0 loss to North Point last Fri­day. “It starts the play­offs next week. We win we play the next week. If we lose, we’re not. We’re play­ing a good foot­ball team next week, so we ob­vi­ously have some work to do to get ready.”

Calvert lost two of three to open the sea­son, but then had reeled off five straight wins in dom­i­nant fash­ion be­fore run­ning into North Point. West­lake, mean­while, has won six in a row af­ter drop­ping back-to-back de­ci­sions to North Point and St. Charles in Weeks 2 and 3.

The play­off im­pli­ca­tions are not quite so dra­matic around the other fields in South­ern Mary­land as the 2018 SMAC sea­son comes to a close. Only two Week 10 matchups — West­lake at Calvert and St. Charles at Hunt­ing­town — are sched­uled to play at 7 tonight at press time, as the rest of the slate was moved to Thurs­day to avoid play­ing on a po­ten­tially rainy night.

Lackey (6-3) was to host McDonough (2-7) on Thurs­day night. Lackey will be the No. 2 seed in the 1A South Re­gion and will host Dou­glass of Prince Ge­orge’s County — its op­po­nent in last year’s re­gional fi­nal — in the first round. Fair­mont Heights of Prince Ge­orge’s will be the re­gion’s top seed, while Largo of Prince Ge­orge’s en­ters the fi­nal week in po­si­tion to nail down the fourth and fi­nal spot bar­ring a McDonough up­set of Lackey

The 3A South play­off field is set, with Hunt­ing­town (8-1), St. Charles (7-2), Po­tomac (6-3) and North­ern (6-3) all in.

Hunt­ing­town, the cur­rent top seed, is slated to host St. Charles, the sec­ond seed head­ing into the sea­son’s fi­nal week, at 7 tonight. A win by Hunt­ing­town, which is re­turn­ing to the post­sea­son for the first time since 2014, would seal the No. 1 seed for the Hur­ri­canes.

A Spar­tans’ up­set could vault the young pro­gram, which qual­i­fied for the post­sea­son for the first time ever with this year’s berth, into the top spot, de­pend­ing on if Po­tomac of Prince Ge­orge’s County is able to pull its own up­set against Eleanor Roo­sevelt, also of Prince Ge­orge’s on Satur­day.

North­ern, which capped its reg­u­lar sea­son at Chop­ti­con on Thurs­day, will be the No. 4 seed, with a first-round show­down with county ri­val Hunt­ing­town a likely sce­nario. Last Fri­day, the Hur­ri­canes shut out the Pa­tri­ots, 14-0.

In the 4A East, North Point’s place among the top four is se­cure with the Ea­gles (9-0) likely the re­gion’s No. 2 seed bar­ring an Annapolis up­set of top-seeded Anne Arun­del County’s Broad­neck (9-0).

As­sum­ing North Point closed out an un­beaten reg­u­lar sea­son last night when it hosted Great Mills (3-6) and Broad­neck wins its fi­nale, the Ea­gles would host Arun­del (8-1) in the first round of the play­offs.

Hav­ing en­joyed tremen­dous reg­u­lar-sea­son suc­cess through­out the pro­gram’s his­tory, North Point fi­nally got the re­gional mon­key off its back last year when it claimed its first re­gional cham­pi­onship. With a team that looked a bit dif­fer­ent on pa­per, and maybe even on the field, as the sea­son opened, there were ques­tions sur­round­ing the Ea­gles. But as the sea­son un­folded North Point de­liv­ered an­other un­beaten reg­u­lar sea­son in which the team was more dom­i­nant in each suc­ces­sive week.

“I said early in the year that they were a team in tran­si­tion and they have been, I don’t think a lot of peo­ple had high ex­pec­ta­tions for them,” North Point head coach Tom Pe­tre said af­ter the team’s Week 9 win against Calvert. “In-house, the sta­tus quo was the sta­tus quo. We do what we do and the kids worked hard. I think they had a lit­tle chip on their shoul- der this year and some­thing to prove. They’re look­ing to fin­ish out next week and have a good se­nior week and fin­ish the reg­u­lar sea­son strong and hope­fully make some moves in the play­offs.”

SMR head­ing to WCAC play­offs

De­spite suf­fer­ing a 2724 set­back to Paul VI (Va.) last week­end, the Knights are headed to the play­offs in the Wash­ing­ton Catholic Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Metro Di­vi­sion and can se­cure a first-round home game with a vic­tory over Arch­bishop Car­roll of Wash­ing­ton, D.C., tonight. Kick­off is at 7 p.m.

St. Mary’s Ryken (7-2 over­all, 2-1 in the WCAC Metro) had opened the league di­vi­sion sched­ule with a 42-6 vic­tory over O’Con­nell (Va.) (2-7, 1-3) and then a 61-0 trounc­ing of Ire­ton (Va.) (1-8, 0-3) be­fore fall­ing to Paul VI (7- 2, 3-0) in a game that will de­ter­mine the top seed in the di­vi­sion play­offs.

St. Mary’s Ryken and Car­roll (3-6, 2-1) will bat­tle for sole pos­ses­sion of sec­ond place in the di­vi­sion this week­end with the win­ner host­ing the other team in the open­ing round.

This fall, the WCAC foot­ball sched­ule was di­vided into two di­vi­sions, with peren­nial na­tional pow­ers St. John’s (D.C.), DeMatha of Prince Ge­orge’s County, Good Coun­sel of Mont­gomery County and Gon­zaga (D.C.), along with McNa­mara of Prince Ge­orge’s County, com­pris­ing the Cap­i­tal Di­vi­sion.

St. John’s will head into that play­off bracket as the top seed hav­ing al­ready de­feated DeMatha, Good Coun­sel and McNa­mara while pre­par­ing to face Gon­zaga this week­end.

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