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  • Writer's pictureSheldon Shealer

Mountain Ridge, Linganore join Top 25

Mountain Ridge and Linganore join the Maryland Media Top 25 this week for the first time this season.

Mountain Ridge, last year's 1A state runners-up, checks in at No. 23 with a 5-0 record heading into its clash at No. 19 Fort Hill. Meanwhile, Linganore snags the No. 25 spot as it prepares for its annual showdown with Frederick.

Elsewhere, there was little movement in what's becoming an ever-growing competition gap in high school football.

Last week, the top six teams in the state's Top 25 -- Good Counsel, DeMatha, Spalding, Quince Orchard, St. Frances Academy and Wise -- won by the running clock with a combined scoring margin of 274-6. Among the 22 current Top 25 winners last week, 11 won by the running clock.

Now, before those results get written off as obvious mismatches involving the state's elite teams, it's fair to look at the entire Week 5 results. Last week, 112 games were played involving Maryland high school teams. Thirty-eight of those games ended with a running clock (i.e. victories of 35 or more points). Beyond that, there were another 17 games that were decided by 24-34 points. Overall, 49 percent of all games played last week were decided by at least 24 points. And that's not an anomaly -- it's happening every week. Even the win-loss records reflect the disparity in competition. More than 25 percent of the state's high school football teams are either 5-0 or 0-5, and that percentage would be even higher if it wasn't for half a dozen forfeits recorded so far this season.

Sure, there will always be winners and losers, but what we are seeing is big winners and big losers, and hardly any middle ground.

Now, what does all of this mean for the Maryland Media Top 25? Well, it adds up to more of the same -- by this point in the season, there are really only 30-35 teams really in the conversation for Top 25 spots. So be prepared for only placement jockeying in the next few weeks while the overall Top 25 teams remain largely the same.

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