Five Football Games to Watch: Week 8

Long Reach at Howard

Howard County's remaining undefeated teams square off in a match up featuring two schools that are within a ten minute drive of each other.

Long Reach has been the surprise team in Howard County this year by starting the season 7-0. That's a stark contrast from 2015 when the Lightning finished 2-8. The team's defense has been excelling of late, not allowing an opponent to score more than 10 points in its past four games. The Lightning are coming off their most impressive win of the season yet, a 35-7 victory over Glenelg, which had entered that game with just one loss.

Howard on the other hand was expected to be Howard County's top team this season. The Lions went 13-1 last season and enter this game riding a 31 game win streak in Howard County play. Howard has had a dominant campaign, winning its games by an average of a 32.14 points. Since beating River Hill 28-7 in Week 3, the Lions' defense has recorded three shutouts in four games.

Howard hosts Long Reach this Friday at 7:00 PM.

North Harford at Bel Air

Bel Air looks to avoid consecutive losses when it hosts North Harford this weekend.

The Bobcats won their first six games this season by a combined score of 193-73, but were upset in Week 7 by Aberdeen, 22-15. Bel Air's offense will be looking to get back on track by enjoying a repeat of 2015, when the Bobcats beat North Harford 56-27. That equaled the most points Bel Air scored last season. The match up with North Harford starts a tough stretch of games for Bel Air to finish the season, with both Edgewood and Havre de Grace still to play.

North Harford bounced back from a loss against Havre de Grace by beating Fallston in a thriller last week, 35-34. The Hawks offense has scored at least 20 points in every game since Week 2, which includes a 44-36 win against Winters Mill in Week 4. North Harford currently holds the final playoff spot in the 3A North region because of a tiebreaker advantage over Douglass-BC, so a win against a 4A opponent with six wins would give the Hawks' playoff hopes a big boost.

North Harford travels to Bel Air this Thursdayat 7:00 PM.

Northern Garrett at Allegany

Two 7-0 Western Maryland powerhouses are set to do battle at Greenway Avenue Stadium this weekend.

With its 51-21 victory against Mountain Ridge last week, Northern Garrett eclipsed its win total from last season. The Huskies' offense has been electric this season, going north of 30 points the past six games. On the other side of the ball, Northern Garrett is limiting opponents to a little less than 10 points per game. With a bye on the schedule next week, this is the Huskies last game before facing their county rival, Southern Garrett.

A win this week would give Allegany the same amount of regular season wins it had in 2015 when it finished 8-2. The Campers come into this game well rested after winning last week via forfeit against Capitol Christian. Allegany dominated Frederick the last time it took the field, winning 76-7. That game marked the third time Allegany scored more than 40 points in a game this season.

The two teams are locked in a three way tie with Fort Hill atop the MPSSAA 1A West regional standings, which means whichever team loses this contest is more likely to start the playoffs on the road.

This game is scheduled for Friday at 4:00 PM.

Patuxent at Chopticon

Two SMAC teams locked in intense postseason chases square off when Patuxent travels to St. Mary's County this weekend.

Chopticon sits at 6-1 and rebounded from a Week 6 loss against North Point by beating Northern 48-20 last Friday. The Braves will need to win this one if it wants to stay in front of Broadneck in the MPSSAA 4A East standings. The two teams are currently tied with 51 accumulated points for the region's final playoff spot, even though Chopticon is 6-1 and Broadneck is 5-2. With Broadneck hosting undefeated Old Mill, this could be a good opportunity for the Braves to create some space between themselves and Broadneck.

Patuxent, which won the 2015 MPSSAA 2A state title, is also 6-1 and has reeled off back to back convincing wins against Calvert and McDonough. The most recent victory against McDonough finished 39-0, which continued the Panthers streak of not allowing an opponent to score more than eight points in a game all season. The Panthers currently hold the number three slot in the 2A South region, but they're in a four way tie with Lackey, Calvert and Gwynn Park. Much like North Harford, Patuxent's postseason hopes would be boosted with a win against a 4A team.

Chopticon hosts Patuxent this Friday at 6:00 PM.

Towson at Dulaney

These two Baltimore County schools square off in what is one of Maryland's oldest high school rivalries.

Dulaney has enjoyed a solid season in 2016, currently holding a 3-3 mark. The Lions' marquee win is a 48-35 road win against traditional Baltimore County power Catonsville. The team is looking to rebound from loosing a shootout against Perry Hall last week, 41-36. Although the team lost, it marked the fourth game this season in which the Lions scored more than 35 points.

Towson sits at 1-5, although the team's record doesn't indicate how different the team's season could have been. The Generals have made it a habit of losing close games this season, including overtime defeats against Patapsco and Kenwood. Combine that with an opening week 12-10 loss to Digital Harbor, and that makes three games Towson could have won. Towson's lone win was a 17-14 decision against Lansdowne in Week 4.

The last two contests between the teams have been split, with Towson beating Dulaney 31-6 in 2014, and the Lions winning 27-22 in 2015.

Dulaney hosts Towson this Saturday at 1:00 PM.
October 19th, 2016By: Wick Eisenberg

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