The South Carroll High football team could help itself -- and county companions Liberty and Westminster -- with a victory over Central Maryland Conference foe Linganore at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Winfield.
The Cavs, who already have one conference loss this year, could hand the Lancers their first loss in Friday's game.
Westminster, unbeaten in two league games and playing non-league St.
Albans of Washington, D.C., at home at 7:30 p.m. Friday, would be the biggest beneficiary of a South Carroll win by putting the Owls in the driver's seat of the CMC as the lone undefeated team.
And if Liberty beats Frederick on the road (also at 7:30 p.m.), the Lions, South Carroll and Linganore all would have one league loss.
Such a situation, of course, is based on the South Carroll victory, and that's hardly a sure thing.
South Carroll's defense has been strong all year, but the offense has been inconsistent. Two weeks ago, Liberty shut out the Cavs in South Carroll's only loss.
Last week, South Carroll rebounded for 234 yards of total offense, but the running game still only gained 70 yards in a 21-15 victory over North Carroll. Linganore, meanwhile, held Liberty to a mere 23 yards of total offense in its 14-0 victory.
If South Carroll has an advantage, it is a better balanced offense than Liberty's. The Cavs can pass as well as they can run.
Quarterback Joe Goodwin has passed for 543 yards in five games, with Craig Frizzell (10 catches for 168 yards) and Mike Downs (10, 127) as the leading targets. Paul Marcum is the team's leading rusher with 384 yards, but nobody else on the team has 100.
This week's games also are important in the race for playoff spots.
Oakland Mills seems destined to win the Class 3A, Region I title -- the Scorpions of Howard County have defeated Linganore and likely will have just one serious test in their county league -- but the battle for second appears intense. (Under the state guidelines, the top team from each region and the next four teams with the highest average based on a complicated point system advance to the playoffs).
Westminster, which still is in the hunt for a Class 4A Region I berth along with the CMC chase, will be in a difficult situation Friday.
St. Alban's is one of the top-ranked teams in the Washington, D.C., area, but it is a small school worth only five points to Westminster if it wins. On the other hand, Westminster will get bonus points for every game St. Alban's wins.
The other two games involving county teams this week includes Thomas Johnson at North Carroll in a matchup of 1-4 teams, and Middletown (4-1) at Francis Scott Key (0-5), both at 7:30.
In other sports this weekend:
* The Western Maryland College football team likely will learn whether it is a contender or pretender in the Centennial Football Conference when pre-season favorite Dickinson visits the Terrors at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
* Francis Scott Key's boys will be one of the favorites heading into the Monocacy Valley Athletic League cross country championships at 11 a.m.
Saturday at Middletown in Frederick County.
Key's girls, fielding its first full team in years, isn't in the team title hunt, but Cindy Bollinger could be among the top individual finishers.
* In girls soccer, Liberty has a busy week of county and CMC games. The biggest is today's match with South Carroll (7 p.m. in Eldersburg), which could be important in both loops.
Liberty also plays Westminster at 10 a.m. Saturday and Key at 7 p.m.
Monday, both at home. By the way, the four county schools are at the top of the CMC.
* North Carroll has two important county and CMC volleyball matches. The Panthers play host to Westminster at 7 p.m. tomorrow, then visits South Carroll at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
* South Carroll travels to Liberty Tuesday in an important county boys soccer match.
* In field hockey, Westminster is at North Carroll today at 4 p.m. in a battle of the top two teams in the county.