MCPS shortens football season, doubles number of teams in playoffs


Quarterback Carson Robinson’s winds up to throw a pass during a home game. Next year, the football season will have nine games instead of 10. Photo courtesy Katherine Luo.

By Ben Stricker

The Maryland high school football regular season will be one game shorter next season, going from 10 games to nine games. The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association also added an additional round of playoffs games, which will double the number of teams that will compete in the playoffs following a vote at the end of April.

After sectionals in the playoffs, the remaining teams will be seeded based on record not geography, making it possible for teams from opposite sides of the states to play each other, athletic director Andy Wetzel said.

The possibility of losing a regular season home game and traveling far distances for the new first round playoff game concern some coaches and athletic directors, Wetzel said.

Now, 128 out of the 180 high school football teams in all four of Maryland’s divisions will play a tenth game with the the first round of the playoffs, according to the Baltimore Sun.

In the 2018 season, the Vikings 4A West division had 13 teams. Under the old format, only four of the teams qualified for the playoffs: Quince Orchard, Churchill, Northwest and Richard Montgomery. But under the new format, eight teams will qualify for the playoffs. The Vikes’, finishing seventh last season, would have made it to the playoffs if the new system was in place last year.

Assistant varsity football coach John Floyd is optimistic about the Vikes’ chances to qualify for the playoffs next season.

“Barring us having an absolutely horrible year, I feel confident that the system is set up so we have a good chance of making the playoffs,” Floyd said.

Players are enthusiastic about the possibility of playing in the playoffs, including lineman John Mackall.

“We’re excited about having a better chance of making the playoffs,” Mackall said. “When the current sophomores and juniors were on the junior varsity team, we went 7–1. If that translates to varsity, we could get in the playoffs and go on a great run.”