Five MPSSAA Football Games to Watch: Week 1

The Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association football season gets underway with a full slate of games this Friday! Here are five games that promise to be exciting contests to watch this opening weekend!

Glenelg vs. Howard

Two state semifinalists open against each other this Friday in Howard County.

Howard will look to win its second county regular season contest in a row, dating back to last season. That streak is a lot shorter than the win streak the Lions had going in 2016, which reached 32 games before getting snapped by Glenelg on the Gladiators' senior night in Week 9. It was a back and forth physical contest which saw Glenelg score the lone points of the fourth quarter through running back Wande Owens, which gave the Gladiators a 25-20 advantage for good. The Glenelg win avenged a 2015 contest that saw Howard beat the Gladiators 26-7.

Both squads found success in the postseason last year as Howard beat Bel Air and Mervo en route to to the 4A North crown. Glenelg got past Wilde Lake and River Hill to win the 3A East championship. It was the second regional title in three years for both teams.

Howard hosts Glenelg this Saturday at 7 PM.

Arundel vs. Perry Hall

Two programs known for having very potent offenses square off in what could turn into a wild contest.

Perry Hall missed the playoffs in 2016. The Gators started the year brightly with a 5-1 record, but struggled down the stretch, and finished with a 6-3 mark. Despite not reaching the postseason Perry Hall's offense still had a strong campaign, averaging just under 28 points per game. This is Perry Hall's lone contest outside of Baltimore County play.

Arundel also narrowly missed the playoffs in 2016, finishing with a 7-3 record. The Wildcats struggled in the middle of the season, dropping contests to Old Mill, Annapolis and Broadneck, all of which made the playoffs, from Weeks 4-6. Much like Perry Hall though, Arundel had a superb year on offense, averaging just under 42 points per game.

Arundel travels to Perry Hall this Friday at 6:30 PM.

Oxon Hill vs. Chopticon

Oxon Hill looks to start 2017 with a victory when it travels to St. Mary's County to face Chopticon.

2016 was an exciting season for Oxon Hill, which went 10-0 in the regular season and picked up a postseason win against Rockville. The Clippers' season in the regional final against Potomac though in an overtime contest that finished 34-32. Despite the frustrating finish, Oxon Hill's year could only be deemed a success as the Clippers bounced back from a losing record in 2015, and beat fellow Prince George's County playoff teams Eleanor Roosevelt, DuVal and CH Flowers.

Chopticon also had a strong season in 2016. The Braves finished 8-2, but still missed the playoffs in the 4A East despite having a better record than one of the postseason entrants, Broadneck. Chopticon had a strong defense in 2016, holding opponents to under 10 points six different times. The Braves also excelled against St. Mary's County opponents, topping Leonardtown and Great Mills by a combined score of 77-6.

Kickoff for this game is scheduled for this Saturday at 1 PM.

Woodlawn vs. Franklin

This contest features one of Baltimore County's perennial powerhouses, as well as one of the county's upcoming groups.

Franklin has been the team to beat in Baltimore County in recent seasons. The Indians have reached the playoffs every season since 2011, and even won 3A state championships in 2013 and 2014. Last year, Franklin reached the 3A state championship, but fell to Damascus 14-12. Franklin returns the bulk of last year's squad, and is one of the favorites for the 3A championship again this season.

Woodlawn has not reached the playoffs since 2009, but has a lot of excitement around the team this season because of new coach Elwood Townsend. Townsend has been successful everywhere he's gone, turning two programs into consistent winners- he coached at Frederick Douglass for seven seasons, leading the Ducks to 1A state title appearances in 2013 and 2014. Last year he coached Lewis to 11 wins.

Franklin hosts Woodlawn this Friday at 7 PM.

Dunbar vs. Allegany

Dunbar will travel roughly two and a half hours from Baltimore to Cumberland to open its season against Allegany.

Dunbar started 2016 with losses to Gilman and Mervo, but bounced back to win seven of its remaining eight regular season contests to reach the 2A state playoffs. The Poets then topped Randallstown and Hereford to reach the state semifinals, where the team's season ended against eventual state champion, Walkersville. This year will be a different challenge for Dunbar, as the team will compete in the 1A classification for the first time since 2012, which is also the last time the Poets won a state title.

2016 was another standout year for Allegany, which has reached the 1A state playoffs four of the past five seasons. The Campers finished with a 10-2 record, which included wins against Keyser (WV), Mountain Ridge and an overtime decision against Boonsboro in the first round of the state playoffs. Allegany could not figure out a way to beat Fort Hill, which has won the last four 1A state titles. The Campers did play the closest game with Fort Hill last season though- a 26-14 decision in the 1A West regional final.

Dunbar and Allegany kick off the new season at 7 PM on Friday.
August 28th, 2017By: Wick Eisenberg

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