Balt Sun: Football Preview
The Sun's Initial Top 15
Coach: Larry Luthe
Last season: 10-1, No. 10
Postseason: Class 2A West Region semifinalist
Outlook: The Lions return plenty of good players this season, with quarterback Nate Kent (22 TDs) and linebacker McClain Butler leading the way. Liberty should again be strong on offense and defense and hopes to go a few steps farther than in 2018.
Other teams considered: Westminster (8-4)
The Liberty Lions made a great run last year, finishing with a 10-0 regular season, before falling to eventual state champion Oakdale in the regional semifinal. The Lions led 14-0, before the 14-0 Bears scored 38 unanswered points.
Carroll County still searches for its first state title in its 46th season in the MPSSAA, with just three state finalists to show – Westminster ‘76, ‘05, South Carroll ‘05.
Liberty will battle Oakdale, Glenelg and Middletown, for the top spot in the 2A West, while Westminster will compete in the 3A East, along the likes of River Hill and Long Reach, among others, for the top spot in that region.
Liberty (10-1, 6-0) >>> The Lions have won 18 of their last 19 games versus Carroll County competition. The Lions have made three straight playoff appearances, with three first-round exits. The Lions have one post-season victory (‘14) in school history.
Coach Larry Luthe, who guided the Lions to that win, is 44-21 in six seasons at Liberty.
Quarterback Nathan Kent is back, after throwing for 1,511 yards and 22 touchdowns, while adding 648 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. Three-time All-County linebacker McClain Butler returns, after recording 123 tackles and 10 sacks during his junior campaign. Kyle Hutchison will be a target for Kent, while assisting Butler on the defensive side of the ball.
Westminster (8-4, 5-2) >>> The Owls have made three straight post-season appearances, and knocked out South Hagerstown in ‘18 in the regional semifinal, before being dispatched by eventual 3A runner-up Linganore in the regional final.
The Owls graduated quarterback Christian Etchison, who threw for 176 yards per game in ‘18, and while passing for 16 touchdowns in 9 contests. In addition to the loss of Etchison, the Owls lost playmakers Arabian Montgomery and Jaden Louis. The Owls return All-County lineman Patrick Almony and All-County kicker Evan Warren.
Century (6-5, 4-2) made its fourth playoff appearance in school history in ‘18, before getting routed by Damascus in the regional semifinal. The Knights All-County lineman Andy Christian returns for his senior season.
South Carroll (5-5, 3-3) also boasts a returning All-County lineman in Mike Crown.
Keep an eye out for; WK1 Linganore at Liberty, South River at Westminster; WK2 Liberty at Walkersville, Westminster at Linganore; WK4 Glenelg at Westminster; WK8 Westminster at Liberty