With two weeks remaining in the regular season, football teams in Maryland and Virginia are thinking playoffs. A handful of teams can virtually lock up postseason berths with victories this weekend.
Second-ranked Courtland (8-0 overall, 6-0 in the Commonwealth District) can capture a second-straight district title and a Virginia AAA playoff spot by winning at Fauquier (6-2, 5-2) tonight at 8 p.m.
Winner of 27 of its last 28 games, Courtland has been hampered by a rash of injuries, but has still been overpowering in district play, outscoring opponents, 187-44. Brian Culley leads the high-scoring Cougars with 12 touchdowns.
Fauquier, led by Carlton Raymond and Corey Foddrell, each of whom has scored six touchdowns, has played well all year. The Falcons have recorded three shutouts and both of their defeats, each by three points, came late in the games.
Fourth-ranked Marshall (7-0, 5-0) can gain at least a tie for the Great Falls District crown and wrap up the top seed in Division V by beating visiting Yorktown (6-2, 3-2) tonight at 8.
Ninth-ranked Oxon Hill (7-1, 6-1) can tie 13th-ranked Bowie (8-0, 7-0) for first place in the Prince George's AA League by beating the visiting Bulldogs Saturday at 1:30. A victory would almost assure Oxon Hill of a Maryland Class AA playoff berth.
Bowie, hardly overpowering, has been consistent all season. The smallish Bulldogs make very few mistakes and have benefited from opponents' mistakes for many of their points. Kevin Jackson and Nick Arbutina have handled the tailback duties, combining for 12 touchdowns.
In other key games, seventh-ranked Georgetown Prep (6-0) seeks its 20th consecutive victory today at St. Albans (4-2) in an Interstate Athletic Conference game at 3.
For a second straight season, Prep has relied on a stingy defense that has allowed 54 points, the leadership and throwing arm of Marc Richards, placekicking of Tripp Shreves and all-around play of Brian Haley, Chris Roa and Mike Green.
In two big Metro Conference games Saturday at 1:30, third-ranked DeMatha (8-0, 4-0) travels to 19th-ranked McNamara (6-2, 2-1) in quest of its 19th-straight triumph, and sixth-ranked Carroll (7-1, 3-0) travels to St. John's (5-2, 2-1).
Eighth-ranked Lackey (8-0, 6-0) shoots for its 23rd straight triumph Saturday at Calvert (4-4, 3-3) in a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference game at 1:30.