Commentary

Some program will get its first 2A title

Updated: November 11, 2009, 10:24 AM ET
By Mike Loveday & Sheldon Shealer | ESPNRISE.com

Shifts in student enrollment have left Class 2A devoid of any perennial state title contenders. In fact, Edmondson, a non-playoff team this year, is the only school currently in Class 2A that has a 2A state title to its credit in the past 13 seasons.

Playoff Coverage

MDVarsity.com covers all four classifications from the pre-snap to the post game press conference for the 2009 maryland high school playoffs.

Here are a few more facts that should further demonstrate how wide-open this tournament could be in 2009:

Not a single one of the 16 2A playoff teams have ever won a 2A state title;

The 16 playoff teams have a combined four state titles - three by McDonough, one by Gwynn Park, and all in what is now Class 3A [side note, McDonough and Gwynn Park play in the first round this week];

The combined postseason record of the 16 playoff teams is 80-109, and that drops to 55-93 when removing Gwynn Park and McDonough from the mix.

The two postseason favorites are Gwynn Park and Queen Anne's, and history is working against both programs. Only one Prince George's County school (Potomac in 2004 and 2005) has won a state title, and no Bayside school has won a 2A crown since J.M. Bennett in 1982.

Most Dangerous No. 3 Seed: Century. Last year's West region champ is riding a seven-game win streak after an 0-3 start. It certainly helps that the 2A West is a region that is up for grabs with no clear favorite.

Most Dangerous No. 4 Seed: McDonough. The Rams draw Gwynn Park in the first round, but if any No. 4 seed could pull off the upset in 2A, it would be McDonough, which is better than its 7-3 record indicates given its losses are to 4A and 3A schools that are ranked in the state Top 25.

Tough Break: City College. The Knights went 3-0 against 2A schools, but its losses to 1A power Dunbar, 4A playoff team Patterson and 3A playoff team Poly keeps City at home despite a 7-3 record.

West

No. 4 Middletown (6-4) at No. 1 Rockville (8-1)
Details: Friday at Rockville, 7 p.m.

Rockville
Sheila Carmines for ESPNRise.comCrusoe Gongbay has rushed for more than 1,500 yards this season.
Most Recent Meeting: Programs have never met
Middletown Playoff History: 14-16 in 16 playoff appearances. Middletown's best showings are a trio of state runner-up finishes (1981, 1991, 2002). The Knights are making their fifth straight playoff appearance and the team has never lost a region semifinal contest.
Rockville Playoff History: 0-2 in two playoff appearances.
Game Notes: On paper it looks like an easy win for 8-1 Rockville over 6-4 Middletown, but one look at the quality of Middletown's losses gives another perspective. The Knights' only losses this season are to four playoff teams (Linganore, Catoctin, Tuscarora and Thomas Johnson), and that list includes two No. 1 seeds. Middletown lost to Catoctin and Tuscarora on last-minute touchdowns after holding fourth-quarter leads. Rockville did not play a playoff-bound team this season, but are led by junior running back Crusoe Gongbay. Gongbay rushed for 1,518 yards and 22 touchdowns in seven games this season. Middletown defeated Clarksburg in the 2A region semifinals last season are led by quarterback Sam Glushakow.

No. 3 Century (7-3) at No. 2 South Carroll (8-2)
Details: Friday at South Carroll, 7 p.m.
Most Recent Meeting: 2009, Century won 26-6
Century Playoff History: 2-1 in one playoff appearance. Century went 10-0 last season, won the 2A west region before losing in the state semifinals in its first playoff appearance.
South Carroll Playoff History: 7-6 in six playoff appearances. South Carroll was the state runner-up in 2005. Odd years seem to be good years for the Cavaliers. South Carroll won region titles in 2003, 2005 and 2007. The team did not make the playoffs in 2002, 2004, 2006 or 2008.
Game Notes: After three games it appeared that Century, then 0-3, was doomed after a semifinal appearance in 2008. Seven straight wins have the Knights in the Class 2A playoffs and two more victories would send this team back to the semifinals. Led by Boston College-bound quarterback Josh Bordner (1,920 yards, 17 touchdowns), Century has not lost a game to a Carroll County team since Nov. 9, 2007, against Liberty. South Carroll looks to avenge its 26-6 loss to Century in Week 5. Quarterback Alex Terpening leads an offense that averages 18.5 points per game.

North

No. 4 Dundalk (7-3) at No. 1 Chesapeake-BC (9-1)
Details: Friday at CCBC-Dundalk, 7 p.m.
Most Recent Meeting: 2009, Chesapeake won, 20-7
Dundalk Playoff History: 0-3 in three playoff appearances. Dundalk is making its first postseason appearance since 2003.
Chesapeake-BC Playoff History: 0-7 in seven playoff appearances. Chesapeake-BC is making its third straight postseason appearance, but its first in Class 2A since 1992. Although Chesapeake has never won a playoff contest, its best finish is a 1984 state semifinal appearance in the era of the four-team playoffs.
Game Notes: One thing is certain when Chesapeake and Dundalk match up this weekend - one team will earn its first playoff victory. The teams combine for an 0-10 playoff record, but both teams have a compelling resume for a playoff run. Chesapeake's only loss this season was to Caravel Academy (Del.) and already has a victory over Dundalk - a 20-7 win in Week 3. Dundalk is led by running back Tavon Henley, a transfer from Joppatowne who has more than 900 yards rushing, and tight end John Bynaker, who has six touchdown receptions and returned two interceptions for touchdowns. Dundalk head coach Mike Downes said the team's first, second and third choice is to run the ball, but quarterback Alvin Thomas threw 90-yard and 85-yard touchdowns in the win over Sparrows Point when the defense filled the box with 10 players. Dundalk has wins over playoff teams New Towns and Sparrows Point. In addition to its win over Dundalk, Chesapeake has wins over Eastern Tech, Sparrows Point and Catonsville.

No. 3 Lake Clifton at No. 2 Eastern Tech
Details: Friday at CCBC-Essex, 7 p.m.
Most Recent Meeting: Programs have never met
Lake Clifton Playoff History: 1-6 in six playoff appearances. Lake Clifton is making its first postseason appearance since 2005. The team's only playoff win came in 1996.
Eastern Tech Playoff History: 11-10 in 10 playoff appearances. Eastern Tech is making its seventh straight playoff appearance and ninths this decade. The mavericks have finished as the state runner-up the past two seasons, matching the program's best finish.
Game Notes: This game is a tale of two programs. Lake Clifton has one playoff win in school history while Eastern Tech has reached the Class 2A state finals in each of the past two seasons. The Mavericks have rushed for 2,743 yards this season and have five players with at least 300 yards rushing this season. Three-year starter Emmanuel Gbor leads the team in touchdowns with 12 while Zach Burkhardt has rushed for 453 yards, thrown for 403 and combined for 15 touchdowns. Lake Clifton will rely on its defense led by junior Troy Anderson who has seven interceptions - returning four for touchdowns. The Lakers run a varied offense led by Dewayne Washington at quarterback and will use five different players to run the ball.

South

No. 4 McDonough (7-3) at No. 1 Gwynn Park (10-0)
Details: Saturday at Gwynn Park, 1 p.m.

[+] EnlargeKhalek Sheperd
Mike Loveday Shepherd committed to Virginia earlier this month.
Most Recent Meeting: Programs have never met
McDonough Playoff History: 14-7 in 10 playoff appearances. McDonough was a state power under thecoach Larry Johnson, currently on staff at Penn State. The Rams won state titles in 1983, 1985 and 1990. The programs has returned to SMAC prominence in recent years and is making its fifth playoff appearance in six years, missing only during the 2008 season.
Gwynn Park Playoff History: 11-9 in 10 playoff appearances. Gwynn Park's lone state title came in 2005. The Yellow Jackets are making their ninth playoff appearance this decade, missing only in 2007 when it had to forfeit its season.
Game Notes: It is strength versus strength in this PG/SMAC game. Gwynn Park's offense averages 34 points per game and has not scored less than 27 points in any game this season. McDonough only allows an average of 9.7 points per game and has not allowed more than 14 points in any game this season. On display will be some of the better athletes in Maryland. Virginia commit Khalek Shepherd (1,288 yards, 15 touchdowns) leads Gwynn Park while McDonough is led by quarterback Byron Campbell (1,177 yards) and receivers Devante Stamps and Javarrus King. Gwynn Park and McDonough have two common opponents this season, Chopticon and Potomac. The score differentials are comparable which should mean a close game on Saturday.

No. 3 Douglass-PG (8-2) at No. 2 Glenelg (8-2)
Details: Friday at Glenelg, 7 p.m.
Most Recent Meeting: Programs have never met
Douglass-PG Playoff History: 10-14 in 14 playoff appearances. Douglass has qualified for the region playoffs every year since the format was enacted for the 2003 season. Interesting, its appearances have spanned three classes (3A in 2003 and 2004; 4A in 2005; 2A in 2006, 2007 and 2008).
Glenelg Playoff History: 2-10 in 10 playoff appearances. Glenelg is making its first postseason appearance since a four-year run between 2003-2006. The program's best finish is state semifinalist in 1977 (during the four-team playoff era) and 2000.
Game Notes: Douglass-PG has rebounded from a two-game losing streak to win its final two games of the year and give it momentum heading into the playoffs. Glenelg's only two losses of the season were to Class 3A River Hill and Atholton. Led by running back Shannon Maura and Colin Osborne, Glenelg averages 21.2 points per game. Douglass' two-game win streak coincides with the return of Richard Barber who missed games against Gwynn Park and Forestville (both losses). Barber has accounted for 918 yards and 14 touchdowns passing and 593 yards and eight touchdowns rushing.

East

No. 4 Wicomico (7-3) at No. 1 Queen Anne's (10-0)
Details: Friday at Queen Anne's, 7 p.m.
Most Recent Meeting: 2009, Queen Anne's won, 21-6
Wicomico Playoff History: 3-7 in seven playoff appearance. Wicomico returns to the playoffs after missing the postseason in 2008. The program was the Bayside power in the early-to-mid-2000s, finishing as a state runner-up in 2002 and making playoff appearances in 2004, 2006 and 2007.
Queen Anne's Playoff History: 4-7 in seven playoff appearances. Queen Anne's is making its sixth straight playoff appearance, and the program has a pair of region titles in the past five years.
Game Notes: Queen Anne quarterback Tyler German is coming off one of his best games of the season -- 132 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries and 107 yards and another touchdown passing in a 35-21 win over previously unbeaten Kent Island. Queen Anne already defeated Wicomico this season - a 21-6 victory in Week 1. The caveat with that victory is this looks to be a different Wicomico team then the one that lost. The Indians started the year 1-3, but won five of its last six games (they also received a forfeit victory) to finish the season. The Indians are led by senior Andrew Johnson who has rushed for 1,299 yards and 19 touchdowns this season. As a team, Wicomico averages 245 rushing yards per game and has allowed 163 points this season. Junior Tyjae Blackwell became the Indians single-season leader in interceptions with six this season.

No. 3 North Caroline (8-2) at No. 2 Kent Island (9-1)
Details: Friday at Kent Island, 7 p.m.
Most Recent Meeting: 2009, Kent Island won, 42-13
North Caroline Playoff History: 0-3 in three playoff appearances. North Caroline is making its first playoff appearance since the end of a three-run in 2003-05.
Kent Island Playoff History: 1-1 in one playoff appearance. Kent Island made its postseason debut and got the program's first playoff win last year.
Game Notes: Last year Kent Island made the playoffs for the first time in school history and reached the region final. This year they will be looking towards a possible rematch with the team that ended their season last year and ended their undefeated season this year - Queen Anne's. Joey Kirby has been the engine for Kent Island this year, rushing for 1,149 yards and 15 touchdowns and averaging 20 yards per catch and four touchdowns (21 catches, 452 yards). North Caroline makes it back to the playoffs under head coach James McCormick after making it to the postseason from 2003 to 2006 and will be looking to win the program's first playoff game.