The top three seeds in the Class 3A North region football playoffs defeated the bottom three seeds by scores of 54-0, 54-0 and 33-0.

The only close game was fourth-seeded Towson beating fifth-seeded City 14-6.

Other first-round scores in Class 3A between high seeds and low seeds: Linganore (#1) 49, Frederick (#8) 14; Damascus (#2) 49, Magruder (#7) 7 (the west region is usually competitive); Huntingtown (#1) 48, Bennett (#8) 0;and North Point (#3) 55, Northeast (#6) 0.

The first year of the expanded football playoffs, increasing the number of teams qualifying from each region from four to eight, produced the expected fist-round blowouts.

So, is the new format just adding teams to the playoff field that don’t belong in the postseason (lots of teams qualified with losing records)? Well, let’s take a look at the Class 3A East Region first round.

Second-seeded Westminster beat seventh-seeded Long Reach 47-28; third-seeded Marriotts Ridge edged sixth-seeded Atholton 17-14; and fourth-seeded Manchester Valley beat fifth-seeded Hammond 14-6.

Oh, and the eighth seed, Wilde Lake, knocked off top-seeded River Hill 14-10.

That’s Wilde Lake, with a 2-7 record, beating 8-1 River Hill. That is, Wilde Lake, which lost to River Hill 41-7 during the regular season, managed a 38-point turnaround.

That game alone is a reason to keep the new expanded format.

No other top seed lost, although in Class 1A second-seeded Patterson Mill lost 26-10 to Joppatowne and a pair of third seeds lost to sixth seeds. A two and a three seed lost in Class 2A, while there were no upsets in Class 4A.

This, particularly the Wilde Lake upset of River Hill, is all relevant to Dundalk this week.

The Owls (7-3) play at Franklin (8-2) on Friday. The Indians are the defending Class 3A state champs and beat Dundalk 49-10 in the third week of the regular season.

But, you know, if a 2-7 Wilde Lake team can spring an upset on a team that beat them by 34 points during the regular season ...

And the last time Dundalk played a defending state champion Franklin team in the second round of the playoffs, at Franklin, after getting pounded in the regular season game (37-18), the Owls pulled off a stunning 20-14 victory en route to the Class 3A state championship game.

Sure, Franklin is loaded. This is a team that intentionally scheduled two losses this season (playing private school powers McDonogh and Mount. St. Joe) because it expected to win its other seven games and really didn’t care where it was seeded in the playoffs.

(And remember, the state quarterfinals will be re-seeded according to regular-season record. Franklin conceded the possibility of hosting a quarterfinal game, because it’s confident it can win on the road.)

Talking to people at Franklin High, they think this Indians squad is better than last season’s state champion team — which, after all, lost a regular season game to a public school county opponent (Milford Mill; and Franklin avenged that defeat in the postseason).

So, yeah, Franklin is the heavy favorite this week. It should win. Easily.

Bet that’s what they were thinking at River Hill when the playoff seedings were announced.

***

So, let’s check in on the Class 1A girls soccer state tournament, now that six-time defending champion Sparrows Point was moved up to Class 2A 9where it was upset in the regional finals).

The Class 1A state championship game features familiar Pointer finals opponent Patterson Mill ... which had a 3-9 record during the regular season ... versus Loch Raven and its 4-8 regular-season record (which included a 2-0 loss to Sparrows Point.

See, the growing student population at Sparrows Point is having an impact beyond straining the physical capacity of the building.

(Not to mention: Perry Hall, which lost to Sparrows Point 1-0, is playing for the Class 4A state title).

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