With three weeks remaining in the regular season, the playoff picture is becoming clearer as it relates to Frederick County teams.
Linganore (7-0) and Oakdale (6-1) are in good shape in the Class 3A West region, while Walkersville (5-2) is in good position in the 2A West.
The other fringe contenders are Tuscarora (4-3) in the 3A West and Middletown (4-3) in the 2A West. But both of those teams will likely need to win their final three games in the regular season and receive lots of help to have a chance. Tuscarora closes the regular season with a home game against Oakdale. Middletown, meanwhile, caps the regular season with a home game against Walkersville.
Tuscarora has shot itself in the foot by blowing leads in back-to-back losses. The Titans led South Hagerstown by 14 on their home field before falling 32-20 on Oct. 9. Then, they let a 14-7 lead slip through the cracks and missed a short field goal that would have won the game at Urbana (3-4) last week. Instead, the Hawks prevailed, 15-14, after finally catching a break. They were beaten by a pair of final-minute field goals earlier in the season, including a 45-yarder at Clarksburg that struck the crossbar twice before dribbling over, sealing a 9-7 win for the Coyotes. On this occasion, the ball flew their way.
Middletown, on the other hand, is beginning to surge after three consecutive blowout wins. The Knights will be tested this week at Urbana, however. A loss to the Hawks would likely end their chances of making the playoffs. Urbana, meanwhile, is trying to keep its hopes alive for a winning season. The Hawks have never finished with a losing record in 18 previous varsity seasons.
Linganore, which rolled to a 50-0 victory over Wottoon last week, currently holds the top seed in the 3A West standings. But it could be passed by defending regional champion Damascus because the Swarmin’ Hornets have a more formidable schedule down the stretch, including a road game against unbeaten regional rival Seneca Valley on Oct. 30.
If it wins out, Damascus is likely to be the top seed in the region with Linganore, as long as it stays unbeaten, as the No. 2 seed. Oakdale will likely be fighting with the loser of the Damascus-Seneca Valley game for the No. 3 seed. The Bears might not get it, even if they were to win their final three games against Thomas Johnson (3-4), Middletown and Tuscarora.
The only other teams with championship aspirations in the county are Maryland School for the Deaf (7-1) and St. John’s Catholic Prep (6-0-1).
The Vikings rolled to their sixth straight win last week at McCurdy Field with a 44-0 victory over Concordia Prep. They are 1-0-1 this season against their only other serious challenger for the MIAA C Conference championship, Annapolis Christian. Those teams will almost certainly meet in the mid-November conference championship game in Baltimore.
The Orioles, meanwhile, routed Hancock on the road last week, 44-0, and are vying for another national deaf prep championship.
The remaining teams in the county — Catoctin (3-4), TJ, Frederick (1-6) and Brunswick (0-7) — are all looking to close out their seasons on positive notes.