Skip to main content

Maryland high school football notebook (11/2/2023)

Concordia Prep's Ernest Willnor to play in Under Armour All-American Game; State Playoffs breakdown and brackets; Maryland High School Media State Poll

Ernest Willor left national powerhouse IMG Academy in Florida to spend his senior season in his native Maryland. The Concordia Prep star will be returning to the Sunshine State at the end of the year to play in the Under Armour All-American game.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end is regarded as the No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2025 from Maryland. Willor has more than 30 Power 5 offers including Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC.

Willor started his high school career at St. Paul’s School where he played basketball and football. He transferred to IMG Academy after his sophomore season.

Concordia Prep's Ernest Willnor has been selected to play in the Under Armour All-American game in January. Willnor, who started his high school career at St. Paul's, transferred back to Maryland after playing is junior season at IMG Academy in Florida.

Concordia Prep's Ernest Willnor has been selected to play in the Under Armour All-American game in January. Willnor, who started his high school career at St. Paul's, transferred back to Maryland after playing is junior season at IMG Academy in Florida.

“The experience [at IMG Academy] really helped me to get better, to develop my body and my mind. I loved being there and learned a lot about football,” said Willor to the Baltimore Banner. “The type of stuff they teach you about playing your position and the preparation that goes in at IMG is crazy.”

After helping IMG limit opponents to about three points a game last fall, Willor decided with his family that he should play his last high school season back home in Maryland. He enrolled at Concordia Prep, a small private school in Towson with an ascending football program.

Concordia is currently 8-1 (only loss to defending MIAA A Conference champ Archbishop Spalding), and is the favorite to win its second MIAA B Conference championship in three seasons.

Willor is the first player from Maryland chosen for the UA All-America Game which will take place at Camping World Stadium in Orlando in early January.

Maryland state football playoffs: Win or go home time

The postseason has arrived for Maryland public high school football teams. It starts this weekend with region opening round games.

The two winners after next weekend’s region second round will advance to the state quarterfinals. The state semifinals follow Thanksgiving weekend and the finals will take place again at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Nov. 30 thru Dec. 2.

Here’s a brief look at the six postseason tournaments.


Defending champion: Fort Hill

Region top seeds: Fort Hill (West), Patterson Mill (North), Perryville (East) and SEED School (South)

Playoff Bracket

Overview: Anything other than a Fort Hill/Mountain Ridge redux at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in a month would be a shock. The Western Maryland rivals have met in the last two state finals - both won by Fort Hill. The Sentinels have won 34 of 35 (only loss to Mountain Ridge) since the start of the 2021 season.

Fort Hill (9-0) and Mountain Ridge (8-1) are the top two overall seeds in 1A, meaning home field in the state semifinals. Patterson Mill (8-1) won the UCBAC Susquehanna title, but, like the rest of the 1A field, having to play either Fort Hill or Mountain Ridge in the Western Maryland mountains will be a tall order.


Defending champion: Milford Mill

Region top seeds: Damascus (West), Huntingtown (South), Owings Mills (North) and Stephen Decatur (East)

Playoff Bracket

Overview: Milford Mill, which ended a 35-year title drought last year, is the No. 3 seed out of the North. Stephen Decatur, which lost to Milford Mill in a thrilling semifinal, went undefeated during the regular season along with Owings Mills, the No. 1 overall seed in 2A.

Damascus, which won the 3A crown last year, may be the prohibitive favorite. The Montgomery County school has claimed five titles since 2015 including the 2A in 2017 to complete a run of three titles in a row (won 3A in 2015 and 2016).


Defending champion: Dunbar

Region top seeds: Calvert (South), Dunbar (East), Harford Tech (North) and Winters Mill (West)

Playoff Bracket

Overview: After a tumultuous opening month that saw longtime coach Lawrence Smith’s tenure abruptly end after being arrested on fraud and tax charges, one game stopped after a shooting and another for weather, Dunbar was able to post its third consecutive undefeated regular season. The Baltimore City powerhouse has won 34 straight since losing in the 1A state finals.

The Poets’ biggest obstacle will likely come from the South Region in Calvert, Douglass-Prince George’s and Patuxent. Patuxent jumped out to a two-touchdown lead on the Poets in last year’s state final before Dunbar pulled away late.

Calvert upended Patuxent last weekend, spoiling the Panthers’ bid for an undefeated regular season. Douglass, which won the Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A title, won the 2A title in 2021.


2022 champion: Damascus

Region top seeds: Arundel (East), Edgewood (North), Mount Hebron (East), and Oakdale (West)

Playoff Bracket

Overview: There will be a new champion with Damascus now in 2A. Undefeated Oakdale (9-0), which won the 3A state crown in 2018, is the favorite with University of Michigan commit Dominic Nichols (tight end/defensive end) and fellow Division I commits Evan Austin (Charlotte) and Hunter Thompson (Ohio).

Linganore (8-1; No. 2 seed in West) could be the Bears’ greatest threat. The Lancers lost to Oakdale, 21-14, in week three.

Arundel (7-2) reached the 4A/3A state final last year while Edgewood (8-1) won the UCBAC Chesapeake crown. Mount Hebron (7-2) enjoyed a breakout campaign, winning the Howard County title.


Defending champion: North Point

Region top seeds: Blake (South), Frederick (West), North Point (South) and Perry Hall (North)

Playoff Bracket

Overview: North Point, which didn’t allow a postseason touchdown in 2022 until the second half of the state final, looks to go back-to-back. The Eagles (9-0) won the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference championship in the regular season.

Blake and Perry Hall hope for an extended postseason run after surprising undefeated regular seasons. Perry Hall won the Baltimore County Division I crown, highlighted by a week 8 victory at reigning 2A state champ Milford Mill. Blake won its first Montgomery County title (3A/2A Division).


Defending champion: Quince Orchard

Region top seeds: Walter Johnson (North), Old Mill (East), Quince Orchard (West) and Wise (South)

Playoff Bracket

Overview: Quince Orchard, the state’s top public program, will try to win a third straight 4A crown. The Montgomery County school beefed up its regular season schedule, winning matches against Northern Virginia strongholds South County and Stone Bridge.

Wise and or Flowers are likely to be Quince Orchard’s biggest obstacle to a three-peat. Wise (8-1) ruled the 4A (won five titles between 2012 and 2019) while Flowers will be motivated after losing, 31-13, to Quince Orchard, 31-13, in last year’s state final.

Status quo in state Maryland High School Media State Rankings

There was little change in the next to last Maryland High School Media State poll of the season.

Good Counsel remained the unanimous No. 1, followed by DeMatha, Archbishop Spalding, Quince Orchard and St. Frances. Undefeated North Point slid into the Top 10.

After beating previously undefeated Patuxent, Calvert jumps five spots to 20th. Patuxent fell from No. 19 to 22nd.

The final state poll of the 2023 campaign will be released after the conclusion of the Maryland state public playoffs.

Here is this week's complete Maryland High School Football Media State Poll:

Rank, School, Record, Points, Last week’s rank

1. Good Counsel (10 first place votes), 7-1, 250, 1

2. DeMatha, 8-1, 240, 2

3. Archbishop Spalding, 7-2, 228, 3

4. Quince Orchard, 9-0, 218, 4

5. St. Frances Academy, 3-5, 214, 5

6. Wise, 8-1, 200, 6

7. Flowers, 8-1, 190, 7

8. Oakdale, 9-0, 177, 8

9. Concordia Prep, 8-1, 170, 9

10. North Point, 9-0, 155, 11

11. Fort Hill, 9-0, 145, 12

12. Georgetown Prep, 6-2, 141, 10

13. Loyola Blakefield, 4-3, 126, 13

14. Mount St. Joseph, 7-3, 120, 14

15. McDonogh, 5-2, 117, 15

16. Dunbar, 7-0, 100, 16

17. Bishop McNamara, 6-3, 85, 17

18. Linganore, 8-1, 83, 18

19. Perry Hall, 9-0, 65, 21

20. Calvert, 8-1, 64, 25

21. Riverdale Baptist, 6-3, 45, 20

22. Patuxent, 8-1, 40, 19

23. Old Mill, 8-1, 34, 22

24. Broadneck, 7-2, 23, 23

25. Winston Churchill, 8-1, 11, 24

Others receiving votes: Milford Mill (6-2, 3 points); Mountain Ridge (8-1, 2); Stephen Decatur (7-0, 2); Northwest (7-2, 2); Blake (8-0, 1); Mervo (8-1, 1)