Maryland State Playoffs Region Round 1
Bayside Conference Picks:
The Playoffs are here; every team now gets into the postseason as has been the case since 2021 and after 2020 when there was no season due to Covid. All the Bayside 2A teams are in the 2A East Region and all the Bayside 1A teams are in the 1A East Region. There are three Thursday games, and the rest are on Friday. All the games but one (Colonel at Bo Manor) are Bayside versus Bayside Conference matchups.
Our Overtime Live ‘Game of the Week’ presented by ‘Preston Ford’ can be heard on 94-3 WINX-FM on the Mid-Shore, on the WINX-FM App and streaming at forevermidshore.com…’The Roto Rooter Pre-Game Show’ is at 5:40pm with a kickoff at 6pm…The Friday Night Lights Game of the Week is:
#2/#2 North Caroline (8-1) hosting #7/#8 Wicomico (2-7)-6pm-These two teams met in Salisbury on a Thursday night in September with the Bulldogs escaping with a 14-7 victory. The first thing to remember is that the matchup was early in the season so both teams are not the same as they were then. Caroline came away knowing they needed to clean up some things including their backs blocking better. Both Caroline and WiHi like to run the ball and play strong defense. Wicomico has one of the best run defenses in the conference. The difference here is Caroline is more capable of scoring (on the ground and in the air) and with explosive plays where the Indians offense has struggled most of the year even though they did score the most points in a game that they have all regular season in a 21-7 win over James M. Bennett last week. But this is a much better Caroline defense. The Bulldogs are also at home in this one as compared to the last time. If there is a game that you would say going in has a potential upset alert written on it this would be this one. That said the Indians will have the full attention of the Bulldogs and I see North Caroline coming out the winner at home.
THURSDAY PLAYOFF GAMES:
(First number is Region Seeding, Second Number is OTL Ranking):
2A East Regional:
#4/#4 Queen Anne’s (5-4) hosting #5/#7 James M. Bennett (3-6)-6pm-The last time these two teams met was September 22nd at Bennett with Queen Anne’s winning 16-0, the game was 10-0 until a late score added the 6. That was one of the better games Bennett’s defense has played this season even though Queen Anne’s RB John Conley had over 200 yards rushing. Bennett HC Greg Lasinski said he thought his team matched QA’s physicality. The Lions at that stage were still working through their new offense and had a different QB in Sr. Devin Wright. So. Lance Arnold, who played a little at the end of the game has started the last several games due to Wright’s rib injury. Bennett is much improved this season and gets back QB/WR/Wing Zakai Smullen who had to sit out last week’s game after being ejected against Easton.
The Clippers offense should be able to challenge the Lions defense. The Clippers have an experienced and solid offensive line so the Lions defense, which is their strength, will get challenged again this week as they were last week against the Bucs. If Arnold goes at QB for Queen Anne’s, he will be making his first playoff start where Smullen played in the playoffs last season. The Lions still don’t seem to be where they want to be in their passing game so they will have to rely mostly on the run although I don’t think they will in anyway abandon the pass, but I think they may be more cautious at this point especially since it’s one and done. That will be an interesting area to watch. Even at this point I feel like I am still learning about these two teams. Queen Anne’s is coming off a tough 30-0 loss at home to rival Kent Island last week are back at home hosting this one. One would think they will be raring to go and looking to move on from last week’s loss in addition to the fact that given this was a close game the last time they played Bennett that they will not be overlooking the Clippers. It could be interesting again, but I think the Lions will have enough to defeat the Clippers again and advance.
1A East Regional:
#2/#5 Cambridge-SD (6-2) hosting #7/#13 Washington (0-8)-6pm-The last time these two teams met was two weeks ago in Cambridge on October 20th where the Vikings won 54-6. Both teams are in completely different places with Cambridge towards the top of the Bayside and Washington undergoing a complete overhaul. The Vikings, whose game was cut short against Easton last week midway through the 3rd Quarter (leading 13-0) should be able to win this one comfortably and continue to ride their momentum to the next round.
#3/#11 Snow Hill (5-4) hosting #6/#12 Kent County (1-7)-6pm-These two teams will face each other for the second week in a row except this time in Snow Hill. The Eagles won this game last week 47-6 in Worton. Snow Hill, who won the most games in the regular season since 2012, are hosting a playoff game for the first time since 2009. As evidenced last week the Eagles are the better team with a lot more experience on the roster. They were without their starting QB last week and we will have to see if he will be out again this week, but they did not cause any issues for them last week. Earlier in the season I said their matchup with Colonel was the biggest game for the program in over a decade in terms of importance if they were going to start to make themselves a presence again in the 1A. Overall this season despite losing to Colonel and Cambridge they have done that to an extent. Coming off a five-win regular season, setting the bar higher for expectations and hosting a home playoff game for the first time in 14 years this and potential future playoff games this season become the biggest for these kids and the program. That is unchartered territory for them. I know the Trojans will play fast, hard, and physical. The Eagles though should win this game, but they shouldn’t overlook Kent County.
#1/#1 Stephen Decatur (9-0) hosting #8/#10 Easton (1-7)-6pm-These two teams met on September 28th with Decatur winning 42-0. Easton has made strides since that game and should be able to be a little more competitive. That said the Seahawks are the best team in the Conference with a much more explosive offense and underrated defense. Easton will need to run the ball extremely well to keep Decatur’s offense off the field if they want to give themselves a chance to win. Easton HC Matt Griffith has talked about the defense giving up too many big chunk plays this season and the offense making enough mistakes that kill drives. They can’t have any of that in Berlin on Friday. Decatur should win comfortably and at home where they have built themselves a nice advantage.
#3/#3 Kent Island (7-2) hosting #6/#9 Parkside (3-6)-6pm-These two teams met in Week #1 of the regular season and Parkside gave Kent Island a game for half to two and a half quarters before it got out of hand and the Bucs won 43-20. The Bucs only two losses came to #1 Decatur and #2 North Caroline, the latter by just a TD on the road. This is still a strong Bucs team as it was last year but different in some ways. Last year’s team had a strong regular season too but made it to the State Championship. The playoffs start a new chapter this season and this ’23 team will have to write their own history. Offensively the Bucs, who like their power run game also had a solid complimentary passing game early in the season but that has simmered in recent weeks. How much that affects HC Bryon Sofinowski’s offensive play calling in going to the air and trying to be balanced in the playoffs has yet to be determined. Both teams are physical in the trenches and the Rams have good size. Parkside’s run game shined in the first half last week at Decatur with two long TD drives and were in that game 22-14 at one point. It highlighted that when they are at their best, they can be a factor on the ground. The Rams are built to play a team like Kent Island. The Bucs though are strong at home and matchup style wise to the Rams as well. Their defenses are usually one of the best in the Bayside year in and year out and this year is no exception. However, they have given up some points in some games this season (City, Decatur, Bennett). I do think the Bucs will need to make some plays in the air in this one, but I don’t think they have to get pass happy. They ran the ball well against a good Queen Anne’s front last week. This game has some intrigue to it like North Caroline/Wicomico. I will go with the Bucs though who even in their losses have been able to move the ball offensively and are still more balanced and they have a better defense. The Bucs should win and advance.
#5/#6 Colonel Richardson (4-5) at #4 Bo Manor (5-4)-6pm-If Colonel had defeated Nandua, VA the Colonels would have been hosting this game but that did not come to fruition. Colonel was short of Bo Manor by 3.70 in the cumulative points. Both teams played Kent County this season and both won big, Colonel won 57-8 and Bo Manor won 42-6. The difference was Colonel’s win was more recent and Bo Manor’s was at the beginning of the season. All of Bo Manor’s wins have come against teams with losing records and all their losses against teams with winning records. Colonel has two wins over winning teams in Cambridge-SD and Snow Hill. Colonel has scored almost 100 more points than Bo Manor. Colonel’s defense gave up 28 more points. These are never easy games to call as we get outside of the Bayside but despite it being a road game, I will give the edge to Colonels with their unique offense which when successful eats up clock and limits opponent’s offensive opportunities. That said I don’t expect this game to be easy by any stretch and the Colonels defense will need to step up and have a solid game.
Last Week Picks: 6-1
2023 Regular Season Picks: 56-10