Using a full complement of players a day after posting a tough 11-9 win over Culver Academy, No. 1 Boys' Latin's superior depth and stickwork subdued Howard County public school power Glenelg, 14-7, on Wednesday afternoon.
Although the Lakers (7-0) were never really threatened in the non-league battle, they had a difficult time shaking the No. 12 Gladiators (2-1) until scoring six unanswered goals to open the fourth quarter.
Seniors Michael Lynch and Casey Rees started the run that their junior midfielder counterparts T Moyer and Jimmy Parker finished. Lynch and Moyer scored twice during the decisive stretch.
Up until that point, Glenelg only trailed, 8-5, after three quarters against a team widely regarded as the best in the nation.
"I told the kids that we took a big step today," Glenelg coach Josh Hatmaker said. "We got punched in the gut and kicked in the teeth — and still competed."
Hatmaker admitted the level of competition between Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference schools and their public school rivals definitely favors the MIAA.
"There's no doubt the MIAA is the best (high school) league in the country," he said. "But the biggest difference is depth. They can run three midfield lines out there while we have about one and a half."
The Gladiators, though, have several standout players in their own right, including senior midfielder Mark Darden and junior goalie Landry Marshall (10 saves), who could play for just about any team in the country.
Marshall kept his team close with some key saves until the Lakers unloaded on him late in the game.
And Darden's quickness and accurate shot gave his squad a threat not to be taken lightly.
The problem for Glenelg was that the Lakers can score in so many ways — and with so many different players — that defenses expend a ton of energy attempting to stop an offense with such a deep arsenal.
The game started in just that fashion with Boys' Latin senior attackman Ben Levin notching the first goal before Moyer, junior attackman Shack Stanwick and senior midfielder Ben Pridemore followed suit for a 4-0 lead.
A goal by junior attackman Nick Forrest dented the advantage for the Gladiators, who gave up goals to Rees and junior midfielder Greg Sheetz before Darden ripped in a shot to keep Glenelg within striking distance at 6-2.
After Levin and Darden traded goals to open the second half, Levin converted a feed from junior attackman Devin Shewell to increase the Lakers' margin to 8-3. Glenelg junior attackman Tommy Chaisson then pumped in a pair of goals, the last of which was while short-handed and in transition to trim the deficit to 8-5.
Boys' Latin coach Bob Shriver said that his reluctance to play back-to-back games was mitigated by the fact that both were at home.
It also gave him an opportunity to see just how much strength resides on his bench.
"We played everybody," said Shriver, whose team won't play again until it travels to Edgewater to meet Anne Arundel County opponent South River on April 2. "Those guys deserve to play, too."
In the interim, Shriver said the Lakers will get almost four full days off.
"It's time for them to enjoy Easter with their families," he said.
Goals: (G) Forrest 1, Chaisson 2, Darden 4 (BL) Moyer 3, Rees 2, Lynch 2, Pridemore 1, Stanwick 1, Sheetz 1, Parker 1, Levin 3
Assists: (G) Salandra 1, Forrest 2 (BL) Moyer 1, Walsh 1, Lynch 1, Stanwick 3, Heacock 2, Shewell 2, Dempsey 1
Saves: (G) Marshall 10 (BL) Caplin 5, Pisanic 2