With two games left in the regular season, here’s a look at who’s in and who still has work to do to qualify for the Maryland high school football playoffs.
Maryland 4A West
In: Quince Orchard (7-1)
Skinny: Quince Orchard has clinched its ninth straight postseason berth and would earn the top seed with wins against Gaithersburg (2-6) and Magruder (1-7). Northwest still plays Sherwood (6-2) and at Richard Montgomery, so getting the win the Jaguars need to clinch is not a slam dunk. Churchill still has Wootton and Sherwood on its schedule. Richard Montgomery has the inside track to the final spot if it can beat Rockville (1-7) and Northwest, but B-CC would jump in with wins over Clarksburg (2-6) and Walter Johnson if a team ahead of the Barons falters. Wootton, Walter Johnson and Whitman all need help.
Maryland 4A South
Skinny: Wise is cruising toward the top seed and will clinch it with a win in either of its last two games against C.H. Flowers or Bladensburg (3-5). DuVal, making its first playoff appearance since 2007 and second since 1989, will lock up the No. 2 seed with wins over Laurel (1-7) and Parkdale (0-8). Suitland would be just about in with a win over Bowie (4-4) this week, but there are a couple of unlikely scenarios where they could still be out even with that victory. The winner of the Week 10 Suitland-Roosevelt game is in. Even if Roosevelt beats High Point (2-6) this week then loses to Suitland, C.H. Flowers would jump over them with wins over Wise and Laurel. Northwestern needs wins over Parkdale and Bowie, a loss by Flowers and at least one loss from Roosevelt to overcome its two losses by forfeit.
Maryland 4A East
In: Arundel (8-0)
In with a win: Old Mill (7-1)
Arundel has the most playoff points of any team in 4A and will clinch the top seed with a win over either Chesapeake or Southern (3-5). Defending state champion Old Mill looks like a dangerous No. 2 seed. Broadneck, South River and Meade all control their own chances. Broadneck and Meade will play in Week 10 in a game that could decide a playoff spot, while South River might have to beat Old Mill in Week 10 to keep its place. North Point and Chesapeake can get in with wins and help.
Maryland 4A North
In: Westminster (8-0)
In with a win: Sherwood (6-2)
Westminster can secure the top seed with one more win. Sherwood controls its fate for the No. 2 seed in its remaining games against Northwest (6-2) and Churchill (6-2). Blake will be in with wins over Springbrook and Einstein (4-4). Springbrook would need wins in its last two games against Blake and Clarksburg (2-6) and a lot of help to jump the Baltimore-area teams ahead of them.
Maryland 3A West
Still alive: South Hagerstown (8-0), North Hagerstown (7-1), Watkins Mill (6-2), Frederick (6-2), Urbana (5-3)
Skinny: This week’s game between Seneca Valley and Damascus will likely decide the top seed in this region and home-field advantage in a potential rematch in the region final three weeks later. The winner of the Week 10 game between South Hagerstown and North Hagerstown will almost certainly grab one of the two remaining spots, while the loser of that game may be in trouble. Watkins Mill would be in great shape for its first berth since 1999 if it earns a Week 10 win at Seneca Valley, but nobody has beaten the Screamin’ Eagles yet. Frederick and Urbana are lurking but need help.
Maryland 3A South
In with a win: Potomac (6-2)
Skinny: The top four teams in this region are all pretty safe. Potomac can clinch its third playoff trip in four years with a win against either Fairmont Heights (1-7) or Central (0-8) or with a Thomas Stone loss to either McDonough (7-1) or Huntingtown. Friendly will clinch the last spot with a win this week at Crossland (3-5) coupled with a Thomas Stone loss to McDonough. Stone and Northern aren’t mathematically eliminated yet, but their chances are pretty bleak.
Maryland 3A East
In with a win: Howard (5-3)
Skinny: River Hill and Atholton are far ahead of the pack in this region, and are on track to meet for the region title for the third time in four years. Howard will clinch a spot with a win this week at Mount Hebron, but the Lions will be in trouble if they lose because a potential-must-win date with River Hill would loom in Week 10. Mount Hebron would be almost certainly in with a win over Howard. Reservoir will jump ahead of the loser of the Howard-Mount Hebron game and clinch a playoff berth with wins in its last two games against Long Reach (2-6) and Oakland Mills (0-8). Wilde Lake, Hammond and Stephen Decatur need help.
Maryland 2A West
In: Middletown (8-0), Walkersville (8-0)
Skinny: Defending 2A champion Middletown and Walkersville are heavy favorites to meet in the region final. Their Week 10 game at Middletown will likely decide who earns the No. 1 seed. Poolesville is in with wins over Catoctin (3-5) and Rockville (1-7). South Carroll would hop over Poolesville into the No. 3 spot with wins over Francis Scott Key (1-7) and at Westminster (8-0), but a loss to Westminster would allow Wheaton to hop South Carroll to earn its first postseason berth since 1996 with wins against Kennedy (1-7) and Lackey (1-7).
Maryland 2A South
In with a win: Patuxent (7-1)
Skinny: This top-heavy region is always a battle. Four teams have only one loss, but none has clinched a spot so far. Patuxent can clinch a spot if it beats Calvert this week in Prince Frederick. McDonough will clinch with a win this week over Thomas Stone (4-4) and a Calvert loss to Patuxent. McDonough would also clinch a spot with a Week 10 win over Calvert. Calvert will qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2002 with wins over both Patuxent and McDonough — no easy task. Douglass and Gwynn Park can both clinch berths with wins in their final two games.
Maryland 1A South
In: Dunbar 7-1
In with a win: W.E.B. DuBois (6-1)
Skinny: Dunbar has won this region every year since it was established, but the other teams will still try to qualify for the postseason anyway. The Poets have clinched the top seed and will be heavy favorites in every game they play through the state final. Forestville will return to the postseason for the sixth time in seven years with a win this week over Gwynn Park (7-1) or a Southside loss to Reginald Lewis (7-1). Surrattsville has two tough games remaining against Douglass (7-1) and Gwynn Park, so the Hornets might have to back into their second straight postseason appearance.