Five MPSSAA Football Games to Watch: Week 4

Chopticon (3-0) at Northern-Calvert (3-0)

The winner of this Southern Maryland Athletic Conference tilt will be the lone unbeaten team in the 3A South region.

Chopticon has topped Oxon Hill, La Plata and Thomas Stone to get to this point. Senior quarterback AJ Hunt has played a big role in the team's two most recent wins, throwing four touchdowns and rushing for another while tossing just one interception. Senior wide receiver Vontae Hoffert has also been an explosive force for the Braves in numerous ways- he leads the team with 490 all-purpose yards. Hoffert has also scored five touchdowns.

The Steve Crounse era has begun with a bang at Northern from Calvert County. The Patriots have outscored opponents 116-36, and Crounse's son, Reese, has had a lot to do with it. A senior quarterback, Reese Crounse has thrown 10 touchdowns without throwing an interception. His top targets have been a trio of seniors- Karon Stevenson, Xavier Harris and Conlon Schlaeppi. Seth Cranford leads Northern's defense with 48 tackles.

Kickoff for this contest is scheduled for 7 PM this Friday.

Parkdale (2-1) at DuVal (2-1)

Upstart Parkdale travels to DuVal in an all Prince George's County encounter.

Parkdale has been one of the surprise teams so far this season. The Panthers have recorded one win in each of the last two seasons, but already have two this season after beating Fairmont Heights and Friendly. Brice Tekim's 26 tackles leads the team, while Ziyah Jones leads the team in all-purpose yards with 275. Raymond Jenkins has thrown for 215 yards and Reece Thompson has four touchdowns.

DuVal has reached the playoffs the last five seasons, and appear capable of managing it again. The Tigers all out rushing attack has proved effective, with senior David Dupree proving the linchpin to the whole operation. Dupree has rushed for 445 yards and 67 attempts, scoring six times in the process.

DuVal hosts Parkdale this Saturday at 2 PM.

Manchester Valley (2-1) at Westminster (2-1)

Manchester Valley will attempt to win its third straight contest when it takes the short drive to Westminster this weekend.

The Mavericks opened the season with a tough 12-7 defeat away to Williamsport, but has jumped above .500 on the back of its defense. Manchester Valley shut out North Hagerstown in Week 2, then beat Southern-AA 14-6. Adam Melville has been the standout for the Mavericks' defense- he leads the team in tackles, and also has four interceptions.

Westminster meanwhile is looking to get back to winning ways this weekend. The Owls beat Urbana and South Hagerstown to open 2017, but lost to Linganore in Week 3. It's early in the season but the Owls have already been bit by the injury bug- top running back Jaden Louis couldn't play last Friday because of an injury, while wide receiver Logan Nave played minimal time as well. Louis is expected to return this week, and his 5.7 yards per rushing attempt will be happily welcomed back into the fold. Wide receivers Zane Lewis and Roman Hawkins are looking to continue their strong starts to the season- Lewis has 193 yards receiving while Hawkins has 131. Both have scored two touchdowns.

Manchester Valley travels to Westminster this Friday at 7 PM.

Havre de Grace (3-0) at Aberdeen (2-1)

Havre de Grace puts its undefeated mark on the line when it travels to face Aberdeen in Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference action.

Havre de Grace has outscored its opponents 129-6. The Warriors getting off to a fast start is not surprising- Havre de Grace has reached the last two MPSSAA 1A state championships. Havre de Grace appears to appears to have a defense to go that far again, as the Warriors already have two shutouts this season. That group is led by linebacker Sean Greeley, an All-County selection that led the UCBAC in tackles last season. Defensive tackle Reggie Marks is also having a standout season, while kicker Clay Harris is ranked as the 31st best kicker in the country according to Korn Blue Kicking.

Aberdeen will present an interesting test for Havre de Grace though. The Eagles have beaten Havre de Grace the last two seasons by a combined score 62-22. This season, Aberdeen is 2-1 with its wins coming against Thomas Johnson and Northeast. Much of the offense runs through senior running back Joshua Maxwell, who also plays linebacker. Maxwell has 705 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. Freshman Jaheim Wilson-Jones has also had an explosive start to his high school football career, leading the Eagles in interceptions with three.

Aberdeen hosts Havre de Grace this Friday at 7 PM.

Mervo (3-0) at Dunbar (2-1)

Two of Baltimore City's top teams go at it at Dunbar in Week 4.

Mervo is looking to repeat a fantastic campaign from 2016. The Mustangs finished the regular season 8-2, which was enough to qualify for the state playoffs as the final seed in the 4A North region. Mervo then proceeded to upset top seeded Sherwood 30-20 in the first round, giving the Mustangs their first playoff win since 2000, before falling in the next round to Howard. This year, Mervo is 3-0 tallying wins against, Dulaney, Poly and William Penn from Delaware.

Dunbar improved as the season went on in 2016. The group started 0-2, with the second loss being a 19-17 defeat at the hands of Mervo. After that loss though, Dunbar's season completely changed. The Poets reeled off seven wins in the next eight regular season contests to reach the playoffs. Dunbar then topped Randallstown and Hereford to reach the state semifinal round, where the group lost to eventual 2A state champion, Walkersville, 12-7 in a tightly contested contest. Like last year, Dunbar opened with a loss to Allegany this season, but has bounced back, Potomac and Baltimore City College to enter this game with a 2-1 mark.

Dunbar hosts Mervo this Saturday at 1 PM.
September 19th, 2017By: Wick Eisenberg

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