As many as five teams could tie for second place in the MIAA A Conference
With the MIAA A Conference employing a football post-season for the first time since 2012, it seemed it would be a fairly simple matter for four playoff teams to emerge from the seven team league, but with parity reigning over the conference, below undefeated and top-ranked St. Frances, the battle for the final three seeds will spill over into the final week of the season.
Calvert Hall, a team which figured to be on the outside looking in after consecutive losses to Gilman and Archbishop Spalding, gave its playoff chances new life while gaining a huge potential tie-break advantage with a 35-21 win over No. 2 McDonogh, in Owings Mill Friday night.
It didn’t look good early as McDonogh jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and led 21-7 at the half, but the Cardinals got three long touchdown passes from quarterback Mike Campbell, two to Xavier Gravete and one to Cole Herbert, and Jordan McLaughlin rushed for two scores to lead the Cardinals’ charge. Calvert Hall also built momentum by recovering a pair of onside kicks.
St. Frances (9-0 overall), which defeated Mount St. Joseph, 37-22, Friday night, completed its league schedule at a perfect 6-0 and will go into the playoff as the top-seed.
At 3-2 in the league, McDonogh (6-3 overall) is still in strong playoff position as it remains in second place, but should it lose to Gilman in its finale next week, the Eagles could be in jeopardy. Part of the reason is a complicated formula adopted by the conference which factors in the Calvert Hall/Loyola game, which will not even be played until after the championship game is complete.
Under the formula, for playoff seeding purposes only, Calvert Hall is credited with a win over Loyola because it has a better league record over than the 0-5 Dons at this point. This essentially makes Calvert Hall 3-3 in the playoff standings . Gilman and Archbishop Spalding, who play on Saturday, are both 2-2 and St. Joe is now 2-3. The Gaels play Spalding next week in the regular season finale for both teams.
The tie-breaking scenarios are mind-boggling to say the least because five teams could still possibly end up tied for second place at 3-3.
In its loss to St. Frances, St. Joe may have provided a little hope for the rest of the conference, as the Gaels scored 22 points. The Panthers had allowed just 23 points in their previous eight games combined.
The MIAA A Conference football semifinals will be played as a double-header on Sunday, Nov. 12th CCBC-Essex and the championship game will be on Sunday, Nov. 19th at Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood Field. In the semifinals, St. Frances will meet the fourth-seed at noon and the third and fourth seeds will battle directly after.