Rivalry Week heralds end of regular season
After nine weeks of trial, of rain, of postponements, and of battles, the Bayside Conference has finally arrived at the season finale for football: Week 10.
As is the case every year, the regularseason finales mark Rivalry Week, too, with longtime foes squaring off in many games. Battles will take place for county bragging rights in Caroline, Queen Anne’s, Wicomico, and Worcester.
Though there are a couple of games that matter a lot, and every game has meaning for the playoffs, even for the teams not in them, the biggest one this week has to be the oldest one: Cambridge vs. Easton.
The Warriors visit CambridgeSouth Dorchester on Friday night in a battle that dates back to the days of the Theodore Roosevelt administration, and as is almost always the case, someone has the chance to mess up something for its opponent.
This year, though Easton will not make the playoffs, the team has a chance to put a real crimp in C-SD’s postseason hopes with a victory.
The Vikings, who would lock down the No. 2 seed with a victory, need to win because it’s the difference between hosting a first-round playoff game and playing on the road throughout the entire postseason.
A Viking loss means the team is at the mercy of several games they’re not playing in, such as Bohemia Manor’s battle with Perryville, and Kent County’s contest in Bel Air against Patterson Mill High.
The playoff-point system is simple: you get Win points for a victory: a Class 1A school is worth five, a 2A worth six, a 3A gives you seven, and beating a 4A earns eight points. For every game that vanquished foe wins throughout the season, you get a bonus point. So the wins usually comprise the biggest part of a team’s point total, while the bonus points reflect the strength of your team’s schedule.
Right now, C-SD is second behind top-seeded Havre de Grace (who can’t be overtaken) in the Class 1A East playoff field, and to keep from typing a quarter of a page of explanatory math, if the Vikings win, it’ll put them at No. 2 and uncatchable as well.
Colonel Richardson needs to either beat undefeated North Caroline (whom they haven’t bested since 2006), or for Bohemia Manor to top Perryville, and Kent County to win at Patterson Mill, to get one last bonus point which would give Colonel a tiebreaker win over Perryville for the fourth playoff spot.
“We really shot ourselves in the foot,” Colonel head coach Dan Mangum said after his team’s Wek 8 loss at Northampton, Va., a 45-43 overtime defeat his team led, 37-21, with just under six minutes left in regulation. “If we won this, we’re in the playoffs, basically. Now, we’re waiting to see what happens in other games.”
If Colonel makes the playoffs as a result of the Eagles defeating Perryville and Kent County topping the Huskies, it’ll give us the same four-team playoff field we had last year in the 1A East. The only difference is, in 2018, C-SD will host Bohemia Manor instead of riding nearly two hours north to face them.
In the Class 2A East it’s a little simpler.
North Caroline, at 9-0 and uncatchable in points, will host playoff games through at least the regional final, if the team makes it that far. Harford Tech and Elkton, right now, look to be the second and third seeds, while Parkside is in control of its own destiny at No. 4, and plays 1-8 Washington on Friday.
Wi-Hi, now 6-3 and still mathematically alive in the playoff hunt, can close the gap a lot on Parkside with a win over city rival James M. Bennett (a 7-2, Class 3A team thereby worth 14 points, but one the Indians haven’t beaten since 2014), but ironically, a WiHi win would also help Parkside a little bit. The Rams, who beat Wi-Hi in Week 4, would gain a bonus point from that win, while a Bennett win would lock the Rams in at No. 4.
Wi-Hi has to beat Bennett, and Washington has to beat Parkside, for Wi-Hi to make the playoffs, by my math. At least one of those things ain’t happening.
Thus, Parkside, a 20-0 loser to North Caroline, in Salisbury, in Week 1, will most likely go to Ridgely on Nov. 9 for a first-round playoff game. Elkton will travel to defending regional champ Harford Tech the same night, and the winners will play Nov. 16, probably at North Caroline, unless I miss my guess.
For the first time in 15 years, nobody in Queen Anne’s County, either the eponymous high school there, or Kent Island, will make the playoffs. Also for the first time since 2003, neither team will have a winning season, as Friday night’s winner will improve to just 5-5 overall.
In the Class 3A East, Bennett has locked in a playoff spot for the third time in four years. However, it’s been at least 16 years since the Clippers a playoff game.
Since I began doing this in 2003, I’ve not seen Bennett win in