North Carroll was moved to the Class 1A South region in reclassification this year. The Panthers had absolutely no trouble with the teams in this region, outscoring their three Class 1A South foes by a combined score 26-1.
North Carroll scored three goals in the first 12 minutes against a Ben Franklin team that dressed just 12 players. Three of Cooper's four goals came in the first half. He had a potential fifth goal go just wide.
North Carroll coach Andrew Harrell took out his starters with 37 minutes remaining in the second half.
Junior goalkeeper Cameron Keith even got a chance to play in the field late in the second half. He scored a header goal with four minutes remaining to give the Panthers a 14-0 lead. Keith had no saves on the evening. That's because Ben Franklin registered zero shots on goal.
After the game, the Panthers posed for a photo with the region championship trophy in front of the net. The seniors were asked by coaches to pose for a photograph in front of the scoreboard in what could have been the final soccer game ever to be played at Powelson Field.
While the Panthers were preparing to play Wednesday evening, Carroll County Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Guthrie announced his final recommendation to close three schools — Charles Carroll Elementary, New Windsor Middle and North Carroll High — for the 2016-17 school year at a Board of Education meeting.
That decision was the topic of conversation for most spectators. The North Carroll seniors, knowing they could be leading the last soccer team in school history, are motivated to win a second state championship in three years.
"We want to live up to everything this school is about," Ros said.
Long before the superintendent's recommendation was announced, Ament was determined to get back to a state championship game. It was a goal from the opening practice in August.
"That was the goal," he said. "We wanted to bring a state championship back to this school."