After 20 years as an assistant coach of the Saint Vincent Pallotti boys soccer team, Charlie Peterson took over the head position for Steve Shurman last year with a very young roster.
After a 7-1 loss in 2019 to Laurel early in the season he had a message for his team, “Before the year is out, I keep telling them, ‘Hey, I’m 70 years old and I don’t have forever, so I’m not building for next year or the year after that, I’m building for right now,’” Peterson said. “I like the group I’ve got. They are going to be fine.”
They righted the ship and reached the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference semifinals where they lost to Key.
That followed a win over St. John’s Catholic by penalty kicks in the quarterfinals.
Over the winter, the players competed in an indoor league against players two years older and they went 4-1 before the league was short-circuited by the coronavirus pandemic.
The defense got it in gear and stymied the Gerstell attack the rest of the day.
The offense got a spark off the bench with 18:16 left in the first half when junior Villafane drilled a ball into the top corner of the net. It was the first assist for Gbolagun.
“They were all chasing me and he was just sitting there right behind me and I was like ‘OK, I got you,’for a second he paused and I was like, ‘Shoot the ball,’ and luckily he put it away,” Gbolagun said.
Late in the first half the floodgates opened when the Panthers scored two goals in the final 127 seconds.
After James Ikebudu was tripped in the box he drilled a penalty kick, and with 38 seconds left Gbolagun assisted Miller for a 4-0 lead.