It's becoming quite a season of firsts for Atholton's football program.
Under first-year head coach Kyle Schmitt, the Raiders are off to its best start in at least 20 years and the team makes its first-ever appearance in the MDVarsity.com Media State this week at No. 25.
That's the good news.
The bad news -- Atholton puts its 8-0 record on the line this week against county rival and No. 6-ranked River Hill. The Hawks are riding a state-best 36-game win streak and have not lost a league game since 2005.
Atholton is one of three new teams to this week's Top 25, joined by No. 23 Poly and No. 24 Paint Branch.
Roger Wrenn was the architect of the Patterson program when the Clippers were annually among the state's better 4A programs. Now at Poly, he has guided the Engineers to an 8-0 start and back into the state picture. Prior to the Baltimore City schools joining the MPSSAA, Poly was a fixture in the state Top 25, climbing as high as No. 2 in 1990 and 1993. The Engineers went a decade without being ranked at all (1997-2006), before Wrenn appeared. This is the program's first Top 25 appearance since it spent one week in the rankings in 2007. Poly certainly will be challenged this week with a league showdown against three-time defending Class 1A state champion Dunbar (7-1).
Paint Branch, like Poly, is enjoying a rebirth under a relatively new head coach. Mike Nesmith, in his third season as head coach, has taken a program with promise and delivered with a 7-1 record. This past week, Paint Branch knocked off previous Top 25-ranked Clarksburg to earn its first state ranking since 2002.
TUESDAY, OCT. 27 -- Week 8 Poll
Compiled by Sheldon Shealer.
The poll is based on a statewide voting of sports reporters. The 2009 season marks the 20th year of the official media state poll in Maryland.
Schools are ranked by points received. The number in parenthesis reflects first-place votes. LW is last week's ranking.
OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES:
Clarksburg (6-2, 18), Queen Anne's (8-0, 17), Boys' Latin (8-0, 16), Landon (7-1, 15), Chesapeake-BC (8-0, 14), Eastern Tech (7-1, 12), Hereford (6-1, 10), Seneca Valley (5-3, 8), Catoctin (8-0, 5), Gilman (5-3, 4), Allegany (6-2, 2), Kent Island (8-0), 2), Loyola (6-2, 2).