There’s been a major shakeup in the Montgomery County playoff picture.
Blake was forced to forfeit two wins for using an ineligible player and, as a result, Wheaton will clinch a postseason berth for the first time in nearly two decades.
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The Bengals (0-9) forfeited wins over Wheaton (Sept. 18) and Magruder (Oct. 15), according to Blake athletic director Jared Fribush.
“Blake did self-report two forfeits for football due to violations of the MCPS attendance policy with regards to participation in athletics,” said Fribush. “It is unfortunate for the team, students and coaches, but Blake does uphold the standards set forth by the county and state.”
Meanwhile, Blake’s forfeitures will help Wheaton (6-3) advance to the postseason for the first time since 1996 when Lee Branthover guided the Knights to the Class 2A state title at Maryland’s Byrd Stadium.
This year’s Wheaton squad is sparked by senior running back Dominyck Sims, who ranks among the area’s leading rushers.
Construction at the school has forced the Knights to play their home games at Blair this season.
Despite that set back, the football program persevered under pressure, according to first-year athletic director Keith Adams.
“The kids are extremely excited about the opportunity presented to them,” said Adams, who praised Knights’ head coach Ernie Williams’ hard work and dedication to the program. “I’m happier for him and his staff knowing the work they have to put in.”
Meanwhile, Paint Branch could be in danger of missing the postseason despite its 8-1 record heading into this weekend’s regular season finale against Quince Orchard.
The Panthers host the playoff-bound Cougars (8-1) but find themselves in a must-win situation in order to qualify for the postseason.
“If they lose, they no longer control their destiny,” said Sheldon Shealer, who tracks playoff points for the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, the governing body for high school athletics in the state.
A loss could be detrimental to Paint Branch’s playoff hopes because Mervo and Perry Hall could surpass the Panthers depending on the outcome of their games.
“If we lose we need Mervo to lose as well,” said Paint Branch head coach Michael Nesmith.
Defending 4-A state champion Northwest is still alive in the hunt for the playoffs.
Meanwhile Quince Orchard and Richard Montgomery are also alive in the playoff hunt.