In the midst of its best start to a season in over two decades, Howard learned a tough lesson Tuesday.
Sometimes, records don't mean much.
A South Carroll team that came into the day with just two wins capitalized on a big fourth quarter to earn a 9-6 non-county victory on the road. It was just the second loss of the season for the Lions (6-0 county, 7-2 overall) and a not-so-subtle reminder about never underestimating the opposition.
"It's important to respect all opponents and we didn't do that today," Howard coach Jimmy Creighton said. "We're not good enough to overlook anyone."
South Carroll (3-6), which has lost five games this spring by two goals or less, showed great poise down the stretch in a game that was tied on three different occasions in the fourth quarter. Every time Howard would pull even, the Cavaliers answered back with a goal in the next 90 seconds or less.
"We're inexperienced, having lost a lot of good seniors (from last year), so it's taken some time for us to get everyone on the same page and learn how to win," South Carroll coach Bill McDermott said. "We've been so close in all these games and, you know, maybe that helped us today finally come through."
Howard never had the lead over the final 45 minutes of the game despite playing the majority of that time either tied or within one goal.
"We were able to stick a few and tie it up, but were never really able to get over that hump," Creighton said. "We couldn't get that big stop to get the ball back when the game was tied, or when we did get it, we couldn't get the shots to fall."
South Carroll's Dylan McDermott led the way for his team with three goals and an assist, followed by two goals apiece from Nicholas Cimino, Jacob Brown and Ryan Smith. Howard ended up with two goals each from Dan Kaplan and Brock Wendt in the loss.
In net, South Caroll goalie Taylor Schmitz made 11 saves, while Howard's Brian Mauser made 12.
Howard must now regroup and get ready for a key match-up with Marriotts Ridge (5-1, 6-2) on Friday at 7 p.m.
"We're going to have to be a different team on Friday and I have confidence we will be," Creighton said.
South Carroll 9, Howard 6
Goals: SC - McDermott 3, Cimino 2, Brown 2, Smith 2; Ho - Kaplan 2, Wendt 2, Striebich, Gerus.
Assists: SC - McDermott, Cimino; Ho - Mills 2.
Saves: SC - Schmitz 11; Ho - Mauser 12.
Half: 4-2 SC.
Reservoir 9, Hammond 6
Goals: Re - Marsh 3, Kevan 3, Schuster, Evans, Olenick; Ha - Conwell 2, Wehermeister 2, Alex 2.
Assists: Re - Mitchell 4, Marsh 2; Ha - Shuta 2.
Saves: Re - Teodori 8; Ha - Fruendschu 7.
Half: 4-1 Re.
Atholton 12, Oakland Mills 3
Goals: A - Tennessee 4, Courtney 3, Foster 2, Haas, Gryski, Kasoff; OM - Seweje 2, Mawolo.
Assists: A - Foster, Tennessee, Courtney, Haas; OM - Seweje.
Saves: A - Mills 6; OM - Dudek 16.
Half: 5-1 A.
Marriotts Ridge 14, Mt. Hebron 7
Goals: MR - Harrison 5, Bradley 3, Campbell 2, Kerr 2, Sullivan, Schwarz; MH - Stevens 4, Bulshur, Huber, Lucchesi.
Assists: MR - Kerr, Williams, Sullivan, Campbell; MH - O'Rourke, Lucchesi.
Saves: MR - Schwarz 10; MH - Nass -16.
Half: 5-4 MR.
Glenelg 19, Long Reach 0
Centennial 11, Wilde Lake 4
Friends 8, Glenelg Country 5
Goals: GC - McAuliffe 2, Burks 2, Suontausta.
Assists: GC - Dizon 2, Haines, Murphy.
Saves: GC - Wootton 20.