It was a bad weekend for Baltimore County schools in the state football quarterfinal round.
Parkville, seeded third in the Class 4A final eight, was beaten by sixth-seeded Old Mill 34-13. The Knights entered the game undefeated and had easily won their first two playoff games, beating Wheaton 49-0 and Einstein 48-9 as the top seed in the Class 4A North region.
The Knights were the only one of the top four seeds in Class 4A to not advance to the state semifinals.
It was still a great season for Parkville, which reached the playoffs for the first time since 2006 and won the first postseason games in school history. Crushing two Montgomery County schools along the way is a sweet bonus.
Defending Class 3A state champ Franklin fell at Damascus, 30-13, as the fifth seed. Not a huge surprise; the Swarmin’ Hornets won three straight state titles before falling in the Class 2A regional round last year.
Did expect it to be a closer game, however. All four top seeds advanced in Class 3A.
In Class 1A, sixth-seeded Randallstown was knocked out by third-seeded Fort Hill in the quarterfinals, 53-14.
Back in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, Baltimore County football was widely mocked by the rest of the state, with our best teams routinely whipped in the state playoffs.
Randallstown was the savior of Baltimore County pride back then, winning state titles in 1984 and 1990 (Milford Mill also snagged a state title in 1987). The Rams program declined a bit in the 2000’s, but looks like they’re back.
Problem is, Fort Hill is a juggernaut.
(Bit of trivia: Randallstown won those state titles in 1984 and 1990 as a Class 4A school. Now they’re in Class 1A. Quite a shift in school population.)
Milford Mill, seeded forth in the Class 2A quarterfinals, lost to fifth-seeded Potomac 33-26. That wasn’t the shocker of Class 2A; but first, a brief digression.
Dundalk hosted Douglass of Prince Georges County back in the fourth week of the season, and lost convincingly. Later, I learned members of the Douglass program expressed disbelief that the Owls were considered a good team in Baltimore County and wouldn’t stand a chance in P.G. County.
Well, Douglass (11-0) was the top seed in the Class 2A state quarterfinals. Note the use of the past tense.
The Eagles were stunned by eighth-seeded New Town, 3-0.
This downright amazing upset gave Baltimore County its sole representative in the state semifinals. And it couldn’t have come against a more deserving opponent.
The Titans entered the playoffs with a 6-3 record, losing a two-point game to Milford Mill (understandable), a four-point game to Overlea (kinda surprising; the Falcons finished 5-4, won at new Town), and a forfeit to Sparrows Point after beating the Pointers 33-0 on the field (sloppiness by playing someone who had been ejected from the previous game).
New Town will play at Potomac on Friday in the state semis. The winner will face either Middletown or Elkton in the state final at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
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Thanks to the expanded state football playoffs, increasing the number of qualifiers from each region to eight, 16 of the 23 football-playing schools in Baltimore County (Carver A&T does not have a team) reached the postseason.
They posted a record of 16-15 (with New Town, obviously, still playing). Only six of those 15 teams failed to win a playoff game; two of those six, Overlea and Eastern Tech, lost to fellow county schools Owings Mills and New Town, respectively.
Five schools, as noted, reached the state quarterfinals. Franklin beat Dundalk to get there in Class 3A, while Milford Mill beat Owings Mills and New Town defeated Hereford in Class 2A.
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The Class 3A quarterfinals also saw the end of Wilde Lake’s run. Entering the playoffs with a 2-7 record, the Wildecats (Howard County) stunned top-seeded River Hill 14-10 in the first round, then advanced to the state quarterfinals with a 22-0 win over fourth-seeded Manchester Valley.
Top-seeded Huntingtown brought Wilde Lake back to reality, 35-0.
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Wilde Lake was the success story of the expanded playoffs, a a bottom seed with a 2-7 record reaching the state quarterfinals.
In Class 4A, the top four seeds in each region all won their first-round games. Seven of the top two seeds reached the state quarterfinals; the only upset was fourth-seeded Arundel upsetting top-seeded South River in the East region, 47-34.
The quarterfinals saw three of the top four seeds advance, sixth-seeded Old Mill taking down Parkville.
In Class 3A, the top four seeds all won their first-round games, with previously-mentioned Wilde Lake knocking out top-seeded River Hill.
Six of the eight top two seeds advanced to the quarterfinals. In addition to Wilde Lake, third-seeded North Point knocked off second-seeded Oxon Hill.
All four top seeds won their quarterfinal games.
In Class 2A, 14 of the 16 top four seeds won their first-round games. Fifth-seeded Walkersville beat fourth-seeded Oakdale in 2A West, 28-27, and No. 7 Calvert upset No. 2 Lackey 13-7 in 2A South.
Six of the eight top-two seeds advanced to the quarterfinals. Third-seeded Liberty beat second-seeded Glenelg in 2A West 35-28, and as mentioned, the second seed in 2A South did not reach the second round.
The quarterfinal round in Class 2A was the wildest of the four classifications. In addition to new Town eliminating the top seed, sixth-seeded Middletown beat third-seeded North Caroline 28-14, and fifth-seeded Potomac kocked off fourth-seeded Milford Mill.
Elkton (No. 2) is the only one of the top four seeds still playing, after crushing seventh-seeded Liberty 47-14.
Class 1A saw the most upsets in the first round, with four of the 16 top four seeds losing: third-seeded Northern (Garrett) in 1A West; third-seeded Reginald Lewis in 1A North; and second-seeded Patterson Mill and fourth-seeded Colonel Richardson in 1A East.
Still, three top seeds and three second seeds advanced to the state quarterfinals. The only top seed to fall in the second round was Loch Raven, a 27-13 loser to fourth-seeded Fairmont Heights.
There was one upset in the state quarterfinals, with fourth-seeded Edmondson losing to fifth-seeded Cambridge-South Dorchester 36-26.
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In all, 37 of the 128 playoff teams had losing records. They went 5-32 in the first round, 1-4 in the second round, and 0-1 in the third round.
(Football is the only MPSSAA team sport that doesn’t have an open playoff system in which every team advances to the playoffs.)
Class 4A had 12 teams with losing records reach the playoffs; Class 3A and 2A each had six teams, while Class 1A had 13 teams with losing records qualify.
No team which entered the playoffs seeded fifth or lower has reached the state semifinals.
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So, was expanding the football playoffs from 64 teams to 128 teams a good idea?
Did you just skim over the column? Sixteen Baltimore County schools reached the postseason. I miss the 10-game regular season (shortened to nine to accommodate the extra round of playoffs), but I’ll take it.