We introduced the Top 10 games to watch in Virginia high school football several weeks ago, and now we have a fresh batch of promising matchups to keep an eye on after the recent release of Maryland’s public high school football schedule.
There are important dates scattered across the fall calender, including key matchups on the final day of the regular season. One of the best days of the fall will come early, thanks to a stellar triple-header set on Sept. 7 at Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex, which will feature six of the best teams in the county.
Here’s our list of the Top 10 matchups in Maryland this fall, at least on paper.
10. Huntingtown at North Point, Oct. 25, 6:30 p.m.
North Point is coming off a 6-4 season in 2012, but is loaded with talent this fall. Temple-bound tight end Marquise Watts and running back Marquel Dickerson are back, and this late season test against the the defending 3A-state runner up Hurricanes will be an important litmus test for two teams with playoff hopes.
9. Damascus at Seneca Valley, Oct. 25, 6:30 p.m.
This would’ve been the 3A West region final last fall had Damascus not been upset by Urbana in the semifinals. Both squads will likely be impressive again in 2013; Seneca Valley lost talented running back Kevin Joppy, who transferred to Quince Orchard, but has a stable quarterback in senior Calvin Reighard and two productive linebackers in Austen Herbert and Daniel Appouh to lead the defense. This late-season matchup could have major playoff implications.
8. Eleanor Roosevelt vs. Gwynn Park, Sept. 7, 4 p.m. (at PG Sports and Learning Complex)
This is the middle game during the season opening triple-header featuring six of the county’s best teams, and make no mistake – this could be the best of the bunch. Roosevelt returns two key playmakers on offense in QB/RB/CB Elijah Liverette (five total touchdowns in 2012) and Mike Mofor (786 yards rushing and eight total TDs). Keep an eye out for Gwynn Park defensive back Anthony Chelsey, who has a few offers and solid interest from Maryland, according to Rivals.
7. Quince Orchard at Gaithersburg, Oct. 25, 6:30 p.m. (at Richard Montgomery)
The Trojans’ Solomon Vault has had back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons heading into his senior year (including 1,251 and 20 touchdowns in 2012), but the Northwestern commit was contained on the ground against the Cougars last season. He’ll get one more shot at what should be another dominant Quince Orchard defense in late October, when Gaithersburg’s playoff hopes could be hanging in the balance.
6. Huntingtown at Patuxent, Oct. 11, 6:30 p.m.
This rivalry should feature a terrific matchup between running backs in Huntingtown’s Arnez Bowens and Patuxent’s Rafiq Douglas,who rushed for 1,363 yards and scored 18 total touchdowns as a junior. Bowens, who piled up 1,369 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns, was dominant in this game a year ago and was a key ingredient in Huntingtown’s success down the stretch.
5. Meade at Arundel, Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m.
This season-finale could very well be the best matchup of the season in Anne Arundel County. Meade is loaded with a slew of Football Bowl Subdivision prospects, starting with quarterback Marcus Smith, who threw for 970 yards and rushed for another 787 last season. The only negative for Arundel is having to wait the entire year to exact revenge on the Mustangs. After drilling Meade 40-8 early last season, Arundel fell 36-28 in the rematch during the Maryland 4A East playoffs last season.
4. Suitland vs. Potomac, Sept. 7, 1 p.m. (at PG Sports and Learning Complex)
Suitland had an ugly exit to a strong 2012 campaign, and the Rams will be in position to make another run this fall, especially with multi-dimensional quarterback Wesley Wolfolk back (1,776 yards passing, seven touchdowns as a junior). Potomac will be among its stiffest opponents. Led by Tennessee-bound linebacker Jerome Dews, the Rams’ defense is littered with enough college prospects to carry the program further than its 8-3 record and early playoff loss to Westlake in the 3A playoffs last season.
3. River Hill at Atholton, Sept. 20, 7 p.m.
Aside from the 3A state title game win against Huntingtown, River Hill’s closest call during a 14-0 state championship run last season was against Atholton in the 3A East quarterfinals (the Hawks won 35-27). This game will likely feature two of Howard County’s best teams in 2013, and a win could set the tone in the 3A East.
2. Quince Orchard at Damascus, Sept. 20, 6:30 p.m.
Damascus wide receiver and cornerback Jalen Christian, arguably Montgomery County’s best player, goes against the county’s best team. Quince Orchard is reloaded for another state championship run, adding several transfers and developing its perimeter talent in players like Elliott Davis and Malcolm Brown. But this could be an interesting road test for the Cougars, especially if Christian can get a lot of touches. Remember Quince Orchard was stung last year, 12-7, on the road against 3A rival Seneca Valley.
1. Wise vs. Douglass, Sept. 7, 7 p.m. (at PG Sports and Learning Complex)
This game, in many ways, could end up being a de-facto Prince George’s County title game, pitting last year’s 4A state champ in Wise against 2A state runner up in Douglass. Both team’s possess wonderful talent again in 2013. The key for Douglass in this game will be finding ways to contain the Wise running game, led by Penn State-bound running back Marcus Allen. The Eagles will also have to replace Tennessee recruit Paul Harris at wide receiver, but Devin Butler should once again be one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the region this fall. It’s a unique, exciting matchup that will also be a strong early-season indicator of where these teams are at heading into 2013.
Did we miss a must-see game? Let us know in the comments below.
Previously: Top 10 matchups in Virginia