Generally speaking, the bottom five spots in the Maryland High School Football State Poll are a revolving door -- teams enter, run into a state-ranked team, lose and then fall out to make way for the next new squad on the list.
This year, however, there's no clear cut order for those awaiting their chance in the Top 25 since teams are taking turns beating each other. The end result is an ever-growing list of "others receiving votes" as the number of quality one-loss teams increases. In fact, the SMAC conference has four 6-1 teams. At 7-0, any of them would have been a lock for the Top 15. But at 6-1, it leaves voters wondering which team -- if any -- deserves a Top 25 spot. There's a similar situation playing out in Frederick County, which generally has two to four teams in the Top 25. Right now, there's only one that can be justified.
Three new teams joined this week's rankings -- No. 25 Archbishop Spalding, No. 23 Fort Hill and No. 21 Huntingtown, which beat former No. 16 Patuxent. Spalding is returning to the Top 25 for the second time this season.
The Top 10 remained largely intact with Good Counsel, Gilman, Quince Orchard, Calvert Hall and Eleanor Roosevelt leading the way. The only newcomer to this elite group is Atholton, thanks for a loss by McDonogh.
One good fact about the level of parity that is setting in this high school season, it tends to lead to an entertaining postseason since there are few teams with a "state title favorite" label. It also means, the Top 25 likely will continue to get a new look each week.
Others Receiving Votes:
North Point (6-1, 19), Loyola (3-3, 16), Middletown (6-1, 16), Perry Hall (6-1, 14), Churchill (6-1, 10), Westlake (6-1, 10), Mount St. Joseph (3-3, 7), Urbana (4-3, 7), Fallston (7-0, 6), Thomas Johnson (5-2, 5), Kent Island (7-0, 1), Mountain Ridge (7-0, 1).