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by MoCoFootball Staff on 10/22/10

Mike Cornejo for

What isn't a crucial game this week? The 4A West region is still up for grabs with no team clinching a playoff berth just yet. Blair, RM, Northwest, and Wootton are out but the nine others- Gaithersburg, Sherwood, Springbrook, Whitman, B-CC, Churchill, Paint Branch, WJ, and Magruder are still capable of making it to the second season.

In the 3A only undefeated Damascus has clinched a playoff berth. They are guaranteed four games including tonight. Quince Orchard and Seneca Valley looks to be in the running for the two spots and a fourth may go to Fred Co's Linganore. Clarksburg and- check this- Watkins Mill AND Northwood still have a chance to make it to the playoffs. Blake, Einstein, and Kennedy are out.

MoCo 2A's only hope is the 5-2 Rockville Rams. They basically need to win on out to secure a playoff spot. Poolesville and Wheaton are eliminated from playoff contention.

Game of the Week #1

#2 Quince Orchard (6-1) at #4 Seneca Valley (6-1): I find it funny that Quince Orchard is the favorite to win in this game against Seneca Valley. I thought the only time this was possible was in 1991 but since Mencarini has taken over, Quince Orchard vs Seneca Valley has become interesting. Mencarini was an assistant to Seneca Valley's Fred Kim when Coach Kim was the head man at Quince Orchard in 2002 and 2003. Kim's two-year tenure at Quince Orchard had the Cougars having their first winning seasons since Ernie Ceccato left after the 1996 season. Mencarini had taken it to a whole new level and their winning percentage improved year after year until winning it all in 2007 (check out their record of the past 11 years; it looks like a really good cell phone reception

Seneca Valley is Seneca Valley; they are a consistent winner every year and they are hovering in the top of the rankings like they always have. They share a common defeat to Damascus, and the winner of tonight's game is going to be for huge bonus points in the tough 3A West.

Seneca Valley hold a huge series lead winning 10 of the 13 matchups between these two teams.

The first time Quince Orchard beat Seneca Valley was in 1991 by a score of 21-20. The Cougars went on to win their first state title in only their third year of existence. Seneca Valley won and won big in a lot of the games versus QO icluding four shutout wins. QO's 27-0 win versus SV in 2009 is QO's first and only shutout victory over the Screamin' Eagles.

Game of the Week #2

#7 Whitman (5-2) at #6 Springbrook (6-1)

This is the Whitman Defense vs Devon Pestano show. A lot of the rankers dropped Whitman below Springbrook but I still think Whitman is the better team between the two. Springbrook has been a consistent #6/#7/#8 team. An indication of our rankers believing they are good but not that good. Yes, I think a Springbrook-Rockville match would actually be a close game. Can't really blame it all on Springbrook, it doesn't help them that they've been fed with some ice cream in the first seven weeks (except Damascus). Whitman comes in as a jawbreaker compared to most of what the Blue Devils have faced. Still, Springbrook's defense is one of the toughest in MoCo. They've allowed as many points as Quince Orchard has. They are stingy and are capable of frustrating Henry Kuhn and company.

The others...

B-CC (5-2) at Watkins Mill (4-3): Both teams still capable of earning a playoff berth. Both teams started the season 3-0 before falling into some hard times but are still scratching. Both teams' head coaches should at least earn honorable mention coach of the year awards because of what they've done to their respective programs.

#1 Damascus (7-0) at Northwood (3-4): After starting the season 0-3, the Gladiators have gone 3-1 in the past four weeks. Their four loses are to teams over .500. They're facing, well, DAMASCUS tonight. A nothing-to-lose Hornets team could be just what Northwood needs; plus a lot of prayer to the Holy Trinity, Buddha, Allah, the Lucky Charms guy, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

#5 Gaithersburg (6-1) at Magruder (3-4): Both teams must win. The Trojans needs it to secure a spot; the Colonels need it to keep alive. Gaithersburg is strong but Magruder is tough.

Paint Branch (4-3) at Clarksburg (4-3): Either team have been under the radar and are in need of a win. Last year, Paint Branch finished 9-3 while Clarksburg finished 7-3. Clarksburg misses Andrew Veith and Paint Branch misses Ivan Tagoe... and a home stadium. A defeat tonight would definitely be a downgrade from last year.

#3 Sherwood (7-1) at Churchill (4-3): The Bulldogs were shutdown in the first two weeks before dishing out a pair of shutouts themselves thereafter.  Since then they've gone 2-1 since, losing last week in a multi-overtime game to rival Wootton giving them their first win of the season. They're playoff hope hotline still beats and they host a Sherwood team coming off their only blemish in the record.

#8 Walter Johnson (4-3) at Blair: Homecoming night at Blair and they face WJ. I think WJ will give Blair a reminder that this isn't your older brother's WJ team. Blair is tough, but WJ is at a whole new level.

Wootton (1-6) at NW (0-7): The Week 7 MoCoFootball Team of the Week faces a Northwest team that is coming off a shutout defeat to Walter Johnson. This is Northwest's best chance of winning a game this season and it's going to have to be to the first team that ever beat them in school history. Northwest haven't lost to Wootton since 1998. Personally, by 9:30pm , I'm praying I can still say that.

Wheaton at Richard Montgomery (0-7): Both of these teams used to be the talk of the town with Brace/Branthover at Wheaton and Lester/Bonavia at RM. They've his some tough times as of recent. Wheaton (loving the Branthover-era helmet shells) has one of the DMV's best running backs in Rayshawn Taylor. RM is looking for its first win since October 10, 2008.

Blake (1-6) at Einstein (2-5): Titans started the season 2-0 then got destroyed by Seneca Valley in week 3, then lost to Poolesville in overtime the following week on homecoming week. It's been rough in Titansville. It's been rougher for Blake; a team that has only experience two non-losing seasons in over a decade. 84% of MoCo Pick'Em players has the Titans winning this one.

Poolesville (1-6) at Potomac School (6-0): Poolesville, I'll be rooting for y'all. But Potomac is coming off a 48-0 shutout win last week and are 6-0. A win-one-for-the-Gipper speech is inevitable.

PLAYOFFS - Who's in and who's out (by forum member "Neutral Observer")

IN = Has already qualified
CD = Controls destiny. Will definitely qualify if they win their last 3 games
SA = Still alive. May, or may not, qualify even if they win their last 3 games
OUT = Have already been eliminated

4A West
IN : None
CD : Gaithersburg, Sherwood, Springbrook, Whitman, BCC, Churchill
SA : Paint Branch, Walter Johnson, Magruder
OUT : Wootton, Blair, Northwest, Richard Montgomery

3A West
IN : Damascus
CD : Linganore, Quince Orchard, Seneca Valley
SA : Clarksburg, Watkins Mill, Tuscarora, South Hagerstown, Northwood
OUT : Einstein, Frederick, Blake, Kennedy

2A West
IN : None
CD : Middletown, South Carroll, Walkersville
SA : Rockville, Century, Winters Mill, Liberty, North Hagerstown, North Carroll
Out : Wheaton, Poolesville, FSK

Mike Cornejo's personal Week 8 rankings:

#1 Damascus (7-0) - proved the best in all of MoCo with a big win over MoCo 4A's last standing undefeated team. Disciplined and star-studded. Frazier, Ross, and Phelps are among the state's best at what they do.

#2 Quince Orchard (6-1) - Lone loss is to Damascus; it was their 2nd regular season loss in 35 regular season games. The proud sore loser Dave Mencarini is determined to win it all. A dominating win over SV could mean talks about QO as arguably MoCo's #1.

#3 Gaithersburg (6-1) - Left no doubt they are one of the county elite with a dominant performance against a strong Whitman team. Only a few mistakes away from greatness. They may still be bitter about losign to Sherwood.

#4  Seneca Valley (6-1) - Montgomery County's highest scoring and most dominant team faces a good ol' 90's rival tonight. They dropped in my rankings simply because

#5 Sherwood (6-1) - Close game against Damascus. Can drive real well but had difficulty getting into the end zone. Shoots themselves in the foot but bounces back from that better than any other team in the state.

#6 Whitman (5-2) - ran into a tall and talented Gaithersburg squad that is making its way back to respectability. They are still one of the toughest defensive teams in the county and will be put to a test when they face one of the DMV's best running backs with Springbrook's Pestano.

#7 Springbrook (6-1) - One of the best running teams in the entire state of Maryland also has one of the county's easiest schedules around. Only defeat was to Damascus- the only team they've faced with a record over .500. Now they have another when Whitman visits this Saturday. Whitman is tried and tested and defensive minded. I see a homecoming upset.

#8 Walter Johnson (4-3) - These doggone bammas shutout my Jags last Friday. Jon Kadi I hate you right now but there's no doubt you are the best thing that has happened to Wildcat country in over 10 years. I'm dubbing the green-and-black the Spartans (their former mascot) because they are underestimated yet inspiringly punching people in the mouths week in and week out. They are sitting with a 4-3 record and facing some under .500 teams for the next three weeks. I saw this team capable of finishing 8-2 but at 7-3... that is still very, very impressive. The last time the Wildcats finished over .500 was in 1998. 2010 will be the Spartans' 4th winning record in 36 years. A 7-3 finish will tie the number of wins the program has had in the last six years. Oh and yes, Walter Johnson is still capable of making the playoffs.

Paint Branch
Seneca Valley
Watkins Mill
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