Howard youth teams tackle the playoffs


Six county programs are taking part in the Central Maryland league


The Central Maryland Football and Cheer league has a strong Howard County flavor in its age groups, something that has started carrying over to the playoffs.

Eleven divisions make up CMFC, and playoffs started in three of them last weekend. Six Howard County programs play in the league, which also has teams from Baltimore and Montgomery counties.

The Columbia Ravens could have the biggest impact in the playoffs involving Howard County teams. They have teams that are seeded No. 1 in the 8-10, 9-11, 10-12 and 11-13 age groups and should be well-represented throughout the playoffs.

Besides the Ravens, the five other Howard County programs are the Elkridge Hurricanes, Western Howard County Warhawks, Columbia Community Church Warriors, Howard County Terps and Columbia Steelers.

The CMFC, which has players from ages 7 to 13, will hold its championship games Nov. 19 at M&T Bank Stadium -- home field of the Baltimore Ravens.

League President Mike Milani, the sports supervisor for Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, met with Ravens officials this week to work on the final details.

The CMFC will be allowed to play eight games at M&T Bank Stadium, but that put Milani in a difficult position because the league has 11 divisions, each with internal divisions based on skill levels.

The three 7-9 groups will play their title games at a still-to-be determined location, Milani said.

"I thought the only fair thing to do was to take the youngest group to a different place," Milani said. "They'll have other opportunities to get to [M&T Bank Stadium] later on."

The league has a number of divisions in several age groups. The 7-9 group has three divisions while the 8-10, 9-11, 10-12 and 11-13 age groups each have two divisions.

For postseason play, however, Milani said that teams seeded first through fourth are the ones that have the chance to qualify for the finals -- those seeded lower play for a consolation-type final.

Playoff competition began last weekend in the 7-9, 8-10 and 11-13 divisions. The 7-9 and 8-10 National Divisions saw three Howard County teams advance.

Western Howard County won twice in the 7-9 division. Its Black team scored a 25-0 shutout over the Howard County Terps. The WHC White blanked Ravens Purple, 14-0. Elkridge also won in that division, with a 26-6 rout of Ravens Gold.

In the 8-10 National division, the Ravens Purple team beat Ravens Gold, 34-27.

Western Howard County won two playoff games in that division. Its White team scored a 13-6 win over the WHC Silver. The WHC Red beat WHC Black by the same score.

Howard County teams also advanced in the 11-13 National playoffs. Elkridge scored an 11-0 win over Catonsville and WHC outlasted Damascus, 12-6. WHC Red did not fare as well, dropping a 36-8 decision to Randallstown.

Several other Howard County teams are higher seeds for the playoffs that continue this week. In the 11-13 American division, the Ravens earned the top seed, and they will play fourth-seeded Elkridge at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Rockburn Park. Third-seeded WHC follows that game with a battle against No. 2 seed Catonsville at 7 p.m.

The Ravens also are the top seed in the 11-13 National division. They will meet No. 4 seed WHC White at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Rockburn Park. The Ravens also earned the top spot in the 10-12 American division and will play Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Rockburn Park.

Ravens Gold is No. 2 seed in the 10-12 National division and will play No. 3 seed Randallstown at 10 a.m. Saturday at Rockburn Park. Ravens Purple finished as the No. 4 seed and they will meet top-seeded Damascus at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, also at Rockburn Park.

The 8-10 American division saw Howard County nab the top four seeds. The top-seeded Ravens play fourth-seeded Elkridge at 9 a.m. Saturday at Cedar Lane Park West field No. 6 The second-seeded Terps follow 90 minutes later on the same field with a game against No. 3 WHC.

The 7-9 American division will see No. 2 WHC taking on the No. 3 seeded Terps at 5:30 Saturday on Cedar Lane Park West field No. 5. The Columbia Community Church team is seeded fourth and is to play top-seeded Randallstown at 4 p.m. on the same field.

In the 7-9 National division, No. 4 seed Elkridge meets top-seeded Randallstown at 10 a.m. Saturday at Cedar Lane Park West field No. 5. Fourth-seeded WHC White is set to play No. 3 seed WHC Black at 11:30 a.m..

Also on the same field Saturday will be a match between No. 2 WHC Red and No. 6 Ravens Purple. That game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

The Howard County teams definitely will have the biggest influence on this season's playoffs.

"They have put together real quality football organizations," Milani said. "They've done really well."

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