It wasn't exactly what Centennial was hoping for, but, up against an inspired River Hill team Tuesday, the Eagles got what they needed.
Ian Dwyer scored midway through the first half to provide Centennial (9-0-1, 11-0-1) with just enough offense to hold on for a 1-1 tie against the Hawks (5-2-3, 6-3-3). The decision means that the Eagles can still win the county title outright with a win Thursday in their regular season finale against Marriotts Ridge (10-0-0, 11-0-0).
"In the end, no one here is happy with a 1-1 draw, but I feel like if there was one team that was a little luckier today it was us. They definitely had the better of the play the majority of the game," Centennial coach Jim Zehe said. "We were hoping to just hold on and make it to the finish line.
"The good news is now we're going into the last game of the season and we technically still control our destiny. That's all you can ask."
In its game Tuesday, Marriotts Ridge held off Reservoir, 3-2, to stay undefeated on the year.
River Hill won the possession battle all evening against Centennial, but for most of the contest that wasn't reflected on the scoreboard.
Centennial's Ian Dwyer put his team on the board first, settling a ball just outside the box in the 23rd minute and firing home a shot into the left corner. It turned out to be the Eagles only shot on goal in the first 40 minutes.
"If we didn't get that goal, I would hate to think about the kind of game we would have had to play," Zehe said. "We got so few opportunities, so for that to go in was huge."
River Hill kept pushing in the second half, getting a great chance for Zach Riso with roughly 10 minutes left in regulation. Riso's low shot, however, was stopped by a diving save from Centennial goalie Jackson Bicknell (5 saves).
It wasn't until there was just 4:27 left on the clock that the Hawks finally broke through. In a mad scramble in the box, River Hill's Donovan Pines headed the ball in the air and Michael Behrman managed to bicycle kick it into the right corner of the net to tie the game.
"We just kept plugging away and plugging away … and we finally got one there toward the end," River Hill coach Matt Shagogue said. "That goal was the result of a lot of hard work."
In the overtime, River Hill again had the majority of the chances. The best of the bunch came with 2:45 left in the second overtime period when River Hill's Jake Turney had a breakaway shot glance off the right post and go wide.
Ultimately, the two teams settled for the draw. River Hill goalie Tomas Potts finished with three saves.
Centennial 1, River Hill 1
Goals: C - Dwyer; RH - Behrman.
Assists: RH - Pines.
Saves: C - Bicknell 5; RH - Potts 3.
Half: 1-0 C.
Marriotts Ridge 3, Reservoir 2
Goals: MR - Applegate 2, Martinelli 1; Re - Sheriff, Akuffo.
Assists: MR - Chen, Muth; Re - Lopes, Jobst.
Saves: MR - Miller 4; Re - Linares 4.
Atholton 6, Long Reach 3
Goals: A - Johnson 3, Foster 2, Pitt-Bey; LR - N/A.
Assists: A - Jacobs 2, Foster 2, Courtney, Brosnan; LR - N/A.
Saves: A - Noah Bathras 3; LR - N/A.
Oakland Mills 1, Wilde Lake 0
The Scorpions scored the deciding goal with 14:33 left in the second half, as a long throw by Ben Kale glanced off Shackeem Black and onto the foot of John Joseph. Joseph finished into the back of the net for the game's only score.
Mt. Hebron 4, Glenelg 2
Howard 3, Hammond 1
Severn 5, Glenelg Country 0