Two conference football crowns and a host of state titles will be on the line for county athletic teams this weekend.
Westminster High hopes to win a Central Maryland Conference football title, and Western Maryland College hopes to do the same in the Centennial Football Conference.
Meanwhile, three of the seven county teams in Saturday's state cross country meet are legitimate threats for state titles, and as many as three Carroll field hockey teams could battle for state crowns the same day.
With its 25-19 victory over Linganore Friday, Westminster is tied with Frederick and Thomas Johnson for the CMC crown, and the Owls will tie for the title with a victory over South Carroll at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home.
The winner of this weekend's Frederick-Thomas Johnson game will share the title with Westminster if the Owls win, but one of the Frederick schools would own it outright if Westminster loses.
In the traditional season-ending game for both teams, Westminster blanked South Carroll, 31-0, last year, as the Owls shared the CMC crown with Linganore.
To win this year's game, the Owls (6-3 overall and 4-1 in the conference) must stop the passing attack of South Carroll (4-5, 1-4).
Quarterback Joe Goodwin is 95-for-179 and 1,216 yards with 13 touchdowns, best among county throwers.
His favorite receivers are Michael Downs (25 catches for 313 yards and five touchdowns) and Bryan Baker (23 catches for 319 yards and two touchdowns).
Though none of them had more than 36 yards against Linganore's stingy defense, Westminster still can counter South Carroll with the top three running backs in the county, based on yards per carry. Mike Rogers is the county's top ground-gainer, with 649 yards on 132 carries, while Calvin Warfield has 528 on 76 carries (top average, second best in total yards) and Boomer Warfield has 373 on 55 carries (second-best average, tied for fifth-best total).
The trio also has accounted for 15 touchdowns.
Defensively, Westminster held Linganore to just 210 yards of total offense last week, while Frederick gained 322 on the Cavaliers.
In other sports this weekend:
* Like Westminster, the Western Maryland football team heads into a traditional season-ending rivalry needing a win to clinch a league title, but the Green Terrors have a little more breathing room. They could lose and still earn the title if Dickinson were to lose to Ursinus.
The Green Terrors, 5-1 in the conference and 6-2-1 overall, nipped Hopkins, and will have sole possession of first with a win or will share the title if they tie and Dickinson wins. The only way WMC would not at least share the title is to lose while Dickinson wins or ties.
Like the Terrors, Hopkins (4-4-1 overall) is having its best season in years, and a win over WMC would boost Hopkins to third in the CFC standings.
Saturday's game is at 1:30 p.m. at Homewood Field in Baltimore.
* Francis Scott Key's boys have the best chance among county teams of winning a state cross country title. Monocacy Valley Athletic League teams have won 15 boys state titles, most in Class 1A or 2A, in the 22-year history of the meet.
MVAL schools have won 10 of the 19 Class 1A state finals (Classes 1A and 2A were combined in 1986, 1987 and 1988), and Key, fresh off Thursday's region II championship, seems on track for victory this year.
Westminster, which swept the Class 4A Region I meets Thursday, will have a tougher time earning state crowns. Walt Whitman of Montgomery County is favored in the boys race, even though the Vikings finished seventh last year. Perry Hall of Baltimore County and Broadneck of Anne Arundel County are other top teams.
Region winner Scott Luers of Westminster will be looking to improve on his second-place finish of last year.
Whitman also seems to be the girls favorite, probably more definitively than the boys squad, said Westminster coach Jim Gilford. Whitman was second to Frederick last year. Other contenders figure to be Severna Park of Anne Arundel County, Dulaney of Baltimore County and Roosevelt of Prince George's County.
"If we have one advantage, with both the boys and girls teams," Gilford said, "we have more team depth."
Of the four county teams qualified for the Class 3A meet, Liberty's girls, second in the region, seem to have the best shot. Region champ Centennial, Great Mills and Leonardtown from Southern Maryland and Rockville of Montgomery County appear to be other favorites.
Oakland Mills, winner of six straight state crowns in a variety of classes, is the prohibitive favorite to win the 3A cross country team title. South Carroll should finish in the top 10 among 3A boys teams.
* Westminster might be competing for the state Class 4A field hockey crown at Goucher College in Baltimore County Saturday. The third-seeded Owls play second-seeded Severna Park of Anne Arundel County at Goucher today at 3, and the winner advances to Saturday's championship at 11:30 a.m.
* At least one county volleyball team will play in the Class 3A Region I championship Saturday. Top-seeded North Carroll plays host to fourth-seeded South Carroll tonight at 6:30, and Liberty visits Centennial of Howard County at 6, with the winners meeting at the highest seed's home gym Saturday.
Third-seeded Francis Scott Key is at Sparrows Point of Baltimore County tonight at 7 in the Class 1A Region II semifinals tonight and also would play Saturday if it wins.