As the playoffs begin, here's a look back at the best the 2004 regular season had to offer.

Best Game: Seneca Valley 36, Northwest 35.

There were four lead changes and four ties, 1,025 yards of total offense, four touchdowns that covered 50 or more yards, a 60-yard trick play, an 80-yard punt return and a last-minute drive that fell short. It came in one of the area's top rivalry games. There could be a rematch in the playoffs. Need we say more?

Best Comeback: Damascus scores 22 unanswered points to beat Linganore, 29-22.

After Damascus cut Linganore's 14-0 lead in half in the third quarter, the Lancers' Matt Castor ran 80 yards for a score and a 22-7 lead. But behind the steady play of senior QB Jason Sprankle and the running of All-Met RB Matt Reidy, the Hornets scored three touchdowns in the last 12 minutes 38 seconds to capture a thrilling victory.

Best Comeback II: Al Thomas.

After seven years at Western Maryland College and one year away from the game, Thomas returned to the county. Already a Maryland High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame member after going 188-37 in 20 years at Seneca Valley and Damascus, Thomas led an inexperienced and undermanned Sherwood team to a 7-3 record.

Best Newcomer: Deontay Twyman, Sherwood.

The sophomore quarterback shattered virtually every school passing record. He completed 132 of 225 passes for 2,126 yards, 18 TDs and just six interceptions, and led the Warriors to a 7-3 mark.

Best Newcomer II: Matt Ray, Poolesville.

The sophomore took over at quarterback and led the Falcons to a second consecutive 10-0 regular season. He completed 45 of 88 pass attempts for 828 yards, 11 TDs and three interceptions, and he ran 69 times for 420 yards and nine TDs.

Best Performance on a Losing Team: Justin Carter, Watkins Mill.

Carter became one of the county's top rushers, running for more than 100 yards seven times. He gained 313 yards and scored all three touchdowns in the Wolverines' lone victory.

Best Revenge: Churchill.

The Bulldogs beat all five teams they lost to in 2003 -- Gaithersburg, Seneca Valley, Paint Branch, Springbrook and Whitman. Churchill's victory over Gaithersburg was its first against the Trojans since 1993; the win over Seneca Valley was its first since 1988.

Best Drive: Quince Orchard.

The Cougars went 80 yards in four plays late in the fourth quarter of their regular season finale against Gaithersburg to win 22-15 and secure a playoff berth.

Best Debut: Fred Kim, Seneca Valley.

Kim became the third coach ever at Seneca Valley, following Al Thomas (five state titles) and Terry Changuris (seven state titles), and he led the Screaming Eagles to a 9-1 mark.