Halfway through the season, the top three (Linganore, Urbana, Oakdale) has further established itself, while the three-time defending state champion in Class 2A, Middletown, continues to fight for its playoff life.
The Knights (3-2) have faced and passed gut checks in each of the last two weeks. First, it was surviving a final-minute 2-point conversion attempt in a one-point road win at Walkersville. Then, last Thursday, they played a great second half to pull a roller-coaster home game with Tuscarora out of the fire, 38-35. Middletown scored 29 points in the second half to overcome a 21-9 halftime deficit. Had the Knights not come back, their run of consecutive playoff appearances (9) and state titles would essentially be over. They are still playing with no margin for error against a formidable upcoming schedule (a home game against Urbana and road games against Oakdale and Linganore). But until they are done and buried for good, the Knights are still a major factor (and this season a bit of a wild card) in the playoff chase. Their resilience against a good Tuscarora (3-2) team is to be admired.
Overall, there weren’t a lot of competitive games last week. Maybe the short week (playing games on Thursday instead of Friday) had something to do with last week. Linganore (5-0) beat Frederick (2-3), 62-6, after scoring more than 50 points in the first half. Urbana (4-1) cruised past Walkersville (3-2), 48-7. Oakdale (4-1) got off to a fast start and then, after hitting a little lull, pulled away from visiting Thomas Johnson (2-3), 28-9. And under-manned Brunswick (3-2) was blown out at home by Boonsboro, 49-13.
Linganore, the lone unbeaten team in Frederick County, will travel to Oakdale on Friday to play one of the area’s most-anticipated games this season. It pits, perhaps, the best and deepest offense in the county (Oakdale, 186 points scored) against the best defense (Linganore, 38 points allowed). A win would keep Linganore in the driver’s seat for one of the top seeds in a very competitive region (the 3A West) or put Oakdale in very good shape to earn a playoff spot in the 2A West.
Catoctin deserves a lot of credit for beating Poolesville on the road, 30-13, and avoiding its first 0-5 start since 1972. Despite very few things going their way this season, the Cougars have hung in there. They posted their season-high for points on the strength of 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Shawn Herman and 116 yards and a touchdown on 7-for-10 passing from quarterback Ben Dewees. In its four previous games, Catoctin had only scored 26 points. The Cougars (1-4) hope to make it two in a row Friday at home against Williamsport.
While Linganore is the only team in Frederick County without a loss, every team in the county now has a win.
In private-school play Friday, Maryland School for the Deaf (4-2) hung on for a 28-23 home win over Florida School for the Deaf and Blind with freshman fullback John Werner providing a lift (41 yards on six carries). St. John’s Catholic Prep, meanwhile, turned the ball over three times in the steady rain and fell to 2-4 overall with a 31-20 loss to Annapolis Area Christian at McCurdy Field.