Clip­pers visit Bull­dogs in Week 8’s big game

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Now that fall has made its ap­pear­ance (our elec­tric bill for Septem­ber was higher than July’s, so I’m glad for that!), it’s time to make some real guesses as to who’ll be ap­pear­ing in the play­offs in high school foot­ball.

In the Class 3A bracket, James M. Ben­nett looks to be on the fast track for the post­sea­son. But un­like last year, when 7-3 was good enough for a top seed in the 3A East, this year’s Clip­pers will prob­a­bly go in as a No. 4, which would mean they’d play on the road as long as they’re still alive.

The 2As are led again this year by North Caro­line (7-0), which hosts Ben­nett (6-1) on Thurs­day in what must be our Bay­side Con­fer­ence Game of the Week. The Bull­dogs will lock down a post­sea­son berth with a win, and from there, the last two weeks will de­ter­mine if they play at home or on the road. Pro­jec­tions by peo­ple wiser than my­self claim North Caro­line will run the ta­ble, but that’s eas­ier said than done, with Ben­nett, Kent Is­land (4-3), and Colonel Richard­son (4-3) left on the sched­ule.

Park­side (5-2) looks to be a play­off team as well in the 2As, and early guesses have the Rams play­ing in the first round at North Caro­line. The Bull­dogs routed Park­side, 20-0, in Sal­is­bury in Week 2, and it could’ve been even more lop­sided but for a turnover on downs and two fum­bles lost by North Caro­line in Ram ter­ri­tory.

The play­offs are a funny thing, though. Just ask Kent County’s 2016 team.

Sad­dled with a 20-year los­ing streak against Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester, and hav­ing lost to it ear­lier in that sea­son, the Tro­jans made the 90-minute drive to Cam­bridge and came out win­ners in the 1A East ti­tle game, end­ing the streak and mak­ing his­tory.

Can Park­side cap­ture that same magic in the post­sea­son? Well, if the Rams get there, we’ll see.

In the 1A bracket, C-SD looks to be the Bay­side team to beat, with Colonel on an in­side track for its sec­ond straight post­sea­son ap­pear­ance. This is big be­cause, un­til last Novem­ber, Colonel had only made the play­offs once in foot­ball in the 50-plus-year his­tory of the school, a shutout loss to Snow Hill in 2004.

As the math looks right now, Colonel would be a third-seed and visit No. 2 C-SD in the first round, Nov. 9. Colonel gave the Vik­ings a fit in Week 4, but lost by one score. Dress­ing just 18 play­ers last week in a 40-0 win at Nan­dua, Va., Colonel is play­ing pretty good foot­ball right now.

In my 17 sea­sons of high school foot­ball, I’d never seen a team make three straight two-point con­ver­sions af­ter a touch­down. Colonel went 5 for 5 last Satur­day af­ter­noon, and played lock­down de­fense. They’ll need to do the same thing again this week, as they drive half an hour or so fur­ther south to Eastville, Va., to play Northamp­ton.

Colonel blew the Yel­low Jack­ets out last year, but “we were a bet­ter team, I think, last year than this year,” Colonel head coach Dan Mangum said.

Maybe, maybe not. The Colonels shut Nan­dua out in 2017, 450, then beat Northamp­ton 43-0. But both of those games were at Colonel, and Northamp­ton boasts al­most as many se­niors on its team this year (17) as Colonel will dress Fri­day (19, give or take one).

On the play­off bub­ble is Wi­comico. Get­ting thumped 35-8 on open­ing night, the In­di­ans have made a re­mark­able turn­around, and I think head coach Brian Han­son de­serves con­sid­er­a­tion for the con­fer­ence’s Coach of the Year. But I don’t vote for con­fer­encewide honors; the coaches do that (hint, hint).

The In­di­ans still have Queen Anne’s, Eas­ton, and Ben­nett left on their sched­ule. They’re ca­pa­ble of win­ning all three games, which would give them, as it stands right now, 41 play­off points and throw them into a third-seeded po­si­tion (at Har­ford Tech, the way the num­bers look right now, in the first round).

But again, that is eas­ier said than ac­com­plished. The In­di­ans are largely in con­trol of their own des­tiny, and a play­off ap­pear­ance — the pro­gram’s first in six sea­sons — would ice the cake for them this year, es­pe­cially af­ter los­ing their first game by four touch­downs.

Kent Is­land and Kent County still have play­off chances that aren’t un­re­al­is­tic, but be­yond that, it’s a dooms­day sce­nario for any­one left in the Bay­side. The chance to play spoiler, or to knock a team out of a first-round home game, is still there for sev­eral teams (I’m look­ing at you, Kent Is­land in Week 9 against North Caro­line, and Eas­ton against C-SD for Week 10!).

The week be­gins with two Thurs­day games. This is due largely to the tim­ing of an­nual state teacher’s con­ven­tion, which can’t be held over the sum­mer when no­body’s go­ing to miss school, be­cause that would make too much sense.

En­joy Week 8. It’s time for play­off teams mean it.

Thurs­day’s Games Game of the Week James M. Ben­nett (6-1) at North Caro­line (7-0)

Will the Clip­pers’ ex­plo­sive po­ten­tial be enough to out­last the grind-you-down North Caro­line team, which has been de­vel­op­ing a new, not-so-se­cret weapon named J.B. Brown?

— Bull­dogs, 21-14.

De­catur (2-5) at Park­side (5-2)

Park­side’s got a very for­mi­da­ble line on both sides of the ball, and the Sea­hawks have strug­gled of­fen­sively of late.

— Rams, 35-7.

Fri­day’s Games

Kent Is­land (4-3) at Eas­ton (3-4)

Eas­ton hasn’t beaten the Buc­ca­neers since Oct. 13, 2006 — 4,389 days ago as of Fri­day night. But the gnomes in my base­ment say... — War­riors, 21-20.

Kent County (2-5) at Cam­bridge-SD (4-3)

A Tro­jan win here could flip-flop the Vik­ings with Colonel in the




they first play­off round. But be a tall or­der.

— Vik­ings, 35-23.

Col. Richard­son (4-3) at Northamp­ton, Va. (6-1) Colonel’s banged up, play­ing with their backup quar­ter­back more than two hours from home, and fac­ing a team with twice as many guys on the ros­ter, with a bet­ter record. But that’s on pa­per. — Colonels, 27-23.

Wi­comico (5-2) at Queen Anne’s (3-4)

If the Lions lose, they’ll have their first non-win­ning sea­son since go­ing 2-8 15 years ago.

— In­di­ans, 27-20.

Mon­day’s Game

Snow Hill (0-7) at Wash­ing­ton (0-7)

This game got moved back due to the pre­vi­ous week’s Jaguars game be­ing post­poned by the ar­rival of rem­nants of Hur­ri­cane Michael on Oct. 11.

— Jaguars, 38-30.

Week 7: 8-0.

Sea­son: 44-6 (.880).

Ca­reer: 962-195 (.831).

it’s gonna

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