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  • Writer's pictureSheldon Shealer

Perry Hall makes its first Top 25 appearance since 2008

Every year there seems to be a high school team that surprises all the voters.

This year, that team might be Perry Hall.

The Gators are 8-0 following a late 24-20 come-from-behind victory over former No. 10 and defending state champion Milford Mill Academy. Now, the Gators are state-ranked for the first time since 2008.

Perry Hall, at No. 21, and Calvert, returning to No. 25, are the lone newcomers to this week's rankings.

Perry Hall has toiled in the "others receiving votes" for several weeks as voters were unsure if the team's hot start was worthy enough of a Top 25 spot. All of that changed this past weekend, but it took some doing. Late in the fourth quarter, it appeared that Milford Mill Academy, leading 20-12, was on its way to a 28th straight win over a rival Baltimore County opponent. A pick-6 for Perry Hall cut the score to 20-18, but the Millers still led with the clocking winding down. Then, the unthinkable. Milford Mill muffed the punt exchange and handed Perry Hall the ball at the Milford Mill 11 with under three minutes to play. Jacob Wagner responded with an 11-yard scoring run for a 24-20 lead that Perry Hall was able to hold.

Perry Hall has long been one of the better programs in Baltimore County, but seldom has it been a front-runner. Even while undergoing four head coaches over the past six seasons, Perry Hall always managed winning records. This past week, however, was the defining victory that has eluded the program since the early 2000s.

Perry Hall was last ranked in Week 5 of the 2008 season when the Gators were No. 25. This week's No. 21 ranking is the program's highest since finishing No. 18 in the final poll of 1993.

As mentioned, Calvert, formerly ranked No. 25, has inherited that position this week, just in time for a showdown with No. 19 Patuxent. Calvert edged Milford Mill for the last spot in the Top 25 this week.

Elsewhere, there was not much movement in this week's Top 25. Good Counsel was idle and remained No. 1. DeMatha survived a third OT game in five weeks, this time beating St. John's (D.C.), to remain No. 2. Archbishop Spalding remains No. 3 despite a loss to national Top 10 St. Joseph's Prep (Pa.). Quince Orchard is the state's top-ranked public school at No. 4.

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