Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association determines the four teams that advance to the postseason in football through a points system that rewards schools for defeating good teams. Here's a look at the race for playoff berths with two regular-season games to be played:
Quince Orchard High School has clinched a playoff berth and controls its own destiny for the No. 1 seed. It's possible Quince Orchard clinches the No. 1 seed this weekend, even if Gaithersburg also wins.
Gaithersburg has also clinched a playoff berth and controls its destiny for a top-two seed.
Northwest controls its destiny for a top-three seed and would clinch a playoff berth by winning either of its last two games (Quince Orchard or Springbrook).
Clarksburg controls its destiny for making the playoffs.
Whitman must win at least one of its remaining two games (Churchill and Blair) to have a chance of qualifying, but even two wins won't guarantee a playoff berth.
If Wootton loses to Rockville and Clarksburg beats Magruder this week, Wootton would be eliminated. If Wootton beats Rockville, Wootton will enter Week 10 with a chance to make the playoffs, but even a final-week victory over Quince Orchard wouldn't guarantee a postseason berth.
Blair can possibly remain in contention with a loss to Blake this week. But Blair cannot overcome a loss to Whitman the following week. Even with a win over Blake, Blair could still be eliminated this week.
Paint Branch controls its own destiny for receiving a top-two seed. Paint Branch would clinch a playoff berth with any one of the following outcomes in the next two weeks: Paint Branch over Sherwood, Paint Branch over Gaithersburg, Woodlawn over Kenwood, Parkville over Kenwood, Bethesda-Chevy Chase over Richard Montgomery, Churchill over Whitman, Einstein over Seneca Valley, Franklin over Dundalk, Patapsco over Landsowne, Bethesda Chevy-Chase over Walter Johnson, Blair over Whitman, Blake over Seneca Valley, Churchill over Damascus, Einstein over Watkins Mill, Kennedy over Sherwood, Springbrook over Northwest, Franklin over Catonsville, Towson over Dulaney, Perry Hall over Dundalk or Milford Mill over Woodlawn.
Sherwood would guarantee a playoff berth by winning either of its final two games (Paint Branch or Kennedy). Sherwood controls its own destiny for receiving a top-three seed.
Springbrook must win its final two games (Kennedy and Northwest) to have a chance of reaching the playoffs. If Springbrook beats Kennedy, either of two sets of outcomes would eliminate Springbrook this week: First, Howard over River Hill and Sherwood over Paint Branch; second, Howard over River Hill, Whitman over Churchill, Northwood over Watkins Mill, Quince Orchard over Northwest, Magruder over Clarksburg, Richard Montgomery over Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Seneca Valley over Einstein and Springbrook over Kennedy. If Springbrook beats Kennedy and any other set of outcomes occurs, Springbrook will enter the final week with a chance to make the playoffs.
Damascus has clinched a playoff berth. If it wins its final two games, Damascus could finish with the No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 seed. Damascus could split its final two games, regardless of which it wins and which it loses, and finish with the No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 or No. 4 seed. If it loses its final two games, Damascus could finish with the Nos. 2, 3 or 4 seed.
The loser of Friday's Seneca Valley-Einstein game will be eliminated. Both teams will be eliminated if South Hagerstown beats Williamsport or North Hagerstown.
Rockville must win its final two games (Wootton and Poolesville) and South Hagerstown must lose its final two games (Williamsport and North Hagerstown) for the Rams to have a chance of reaching the playoffs.
Poolesville, currently ranked third, controls its own destiny for making the playoffs. If Poolesville beats Boonsboro and one or both of the two teams directly behind Poolesvile (Catoctin and Oakdale) lose this weekend, that alone would not guarantee Poolesville a playoff berth. With wins in both its final games, Poolesville could finish with the No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 or No. 4 seed.