Heading into the final week of the regular season, here are our playoff projections: Who’s in, who needs a win and who needs some help to qualify for the postseason in Maryland.
Maryland 4A West
In with a win: Northwest (6-3)
Skinny: Quince Orchard has clinched the region’s top seed and will be favored to win its second straight region title. Churchill will clinch the second seed and a home game in the region semifinal with a win this week at Sherwood (7-2), but otherwise could still drop to third. Northwest can clinch its first playoff appearance since 2008 with a win at Richard Montgomery. Bethesda-Chevy Chase (hosting 3-6 Walter Johnson) and Richard Montgomery would both be in very good shape with a win, but berths would not be guaranteed.
Maryland 4A South
In with a win: Eleanor Roosevelt (7-2)
Still alive: Northwestern (6-3)
Skinny: Wise, which hasn’t allowed a point in more than a month, has clinched the top seed in this always entertaining region. DuVal, in for the first time since 2007 and second time since 1989, would likely earn the second seed and a home game with a win at Parkdale (0-9) this week. Suitland has clinched a spot for the 11th year in a row, but the loser of the Suitland vs. Eleanor Roosevelt game in Greenbelt this week will likely drop to fourth place and have to travel to Wise for its opening playoff game. Eleanor Roosevelt could still drop out altogether with a loss, a Northwestern win at Bowie (4-5) and three other results to fall Northwestern’s way.
Maryland 4A North
In with a win: Catonsville (6-3)
Still alive: Perry Hall (5-4), Mergenthaler (5-4)
Skinny: Westminster has outscored its opponents 389-109 so far, and will clinch the top seed in its first postseason appearance since 2008 with a win against South Carroll (6-3). Sherwood, back in the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years after missing out last year, would likely secure at least the second seed and a home game with a win over Churchill. Blake has clinched its first playoff berth in program history, and could still pass Sherwood for the No. 2 spot and its first home playoff game with a win this week against Einstein (5-4). Catonsville clinches a spot with a home win against Parkville (5-4).
Maryland 4A East
Skinny: Arundel has clinched the top seed in its 10th consecutive postseason appearance, and would have home field in a potential rematch with rival Old Mill in the region final. Old Mill will lock up the second seed with a win at South River; the Seahawks would clinch their second straight postseason berth after four seasons out with a win. Broadneck will be in with a home win against Meade, but could still qualify with a loss, while Meade would be in for the first time since 2001 with a win in that game. North Point needs a win against Westlake (7-2) and help to make its fifth straight appearance. Wins by Old Mill and Broadneck would give the Eagles a very strong chance.
Maryland 3A West
In with a win: North Hagerstown (8-1), Watkins Mill (7-2), South Hagerstown (8-1)
Still alive: Urbana (6-3), Frederick (6-3)
Skinny: Thanks to its thrilling head-to-head win last week, Damascus has the inside track on this region’s top seed ahead of Seneca Valley, and should clinch it with a 10th straight win this week at Northwood (1-7). Seneca Valley, making its state record 28th playoff appearance since 1976, will lock up a first-round home game with a home win against Watkins Mill. The Wolverines, meantime, would clinch their first postseason berth since 1999 and eliminate both Urbana and Frederick with a win in that game, while a loss would put them in serious trouble. The winner of the North Hagerstown-South Hagerstown game will also get in.
Maryland 3A South
Skinny: Only the seeding remains in doubt in this region, with some usual suspects already clinching the four spots. Three-time defending region champ Huntingtown is in for the sixth straight year, and would lock up the top seed with a win over Thomas Stone (4-5). The remaining places are hazier, but Potomac has the advantage in Week 10: The Wolverines host winless Central (0-9), while Westlake travels to desperate North Point (6-3) and Friendly visits defending 2A runner-up Douglass (8-1).
Maryland 3A East
Still alive: Reservoir (5-4)
Skinny: Defending state champion River Hill has won 19 straight games and would earn home field in this region with a 20th win this weekend at Howard. Atholton can’t finish lower than second, and remains in the hunt for the top seed with a win over Glenelg (6-3). Mount Hebron can clinch a return to the postseason for the first time since 2003 and second time since 1982 with a win over Hammond (4-5), which has just one win this season against a team with a winning record. Howard would be in for the second straight year with an upset win over River Hill, but otherwise the door would open for Reservoir, which would reach the postseason for the first time in school history regardless of the outcome of its game against Oakland Mills (0-9).
Maryland 2A West
In: Middletown (9-0), Walkersville (9-0), South Carroll (6-3), Poolesville (6-3)
Skinny: Another region with all four teams already decided, the 2A West will have only one local participant in Poolesville, who will make its first postseason appearance since 2005. The winner of this week’s Middletown vs. Walkersville game will wrap up the top seed, while the loser will be second. South Carroll would almost certainly finish ahead of Poolesville with a win this week over Westminster (9-0), while Poolesville would finish third with a South Carroll loss.
Maryland 2A South
Skinny: All four of these one-loss teams clinched a playoff berth last week, and they all could be 9-1 heading into what should be a tremendous region tournament. Each of these teams has played in a state championship game since 2001, with McDonough winning the 2A title in 2010 and Douglass losing in the state final to Middletown last year. Each of the four teams could finish anywhere from first to fourth, but Patuxent heads into the final week with the most points, and would be the top seed with a win at Leonardtown (4-5).
Maryland 1A South
In: Dunbar (8-1), W.E.B. DuBois (7-1)
Skinny: The last two spots in this region will come down to bonus points, and nothing is guaranteed. Surrattsville would be in a good position with an upset win at Gwynn Park (8-1), but the Hornets have not beaten the Yellow Jackets in the battle of menacing insects since 2007. Forestville – who lost 48-0 to Gwynn Park last week – has a more favorable matchup at home against Fairmont Heights (1-8). Dunbar – the nine-time defending region champ and two-time defending state champ – has clinched the region’s top seed, while W.E.B. DuBois is locked in at No. 2.