After breaking his right foot, St. Mary's Todd Lord got a late startin preseason soccer scrimmages. But since the first game of the season, his goal scoring has been right on time.
At 6-feet-1 and just 150 pounds, Lord says, "I can't picture anyone worrying about me as ascoring threat."
But he is.
In fact, the senior striker has been in on seven ofthe 10 goals the Saints have scored this year, netting six of them himself. He has already equaled his scoring total of a year ago with 11 games left in the regular season.
Lord argues that there are teammates who have more expertise on a Saints squad which leads DivisionII of the Maryland Scholastic Association's A Conference. He lists seniors Eamon McCormick, a striker, and midfielders Steve Marsella andRob Tobin, and junior Justin Dunbar, to name a few.
"There are just so many other guys on the team to worry about," said Lord, 18. "Our offense is so incredibly talented that I'm shocked at how well I'm doing."
But as Tobin and Coach Brent Boone explain, Lord is unmatched in the art of materializing in front of the ball for a scoring opportunity.
"He just seems to be a natural goal scorer," said first-year coach Boone, a 1987 Annapolis High graduate. "He's just a solid, good finisher."
Tobin, who has four assists, said, "There are others who do the work to get the ball there, but he's been getting it done, so no one's complaining. We have a lot of guys who can score, but no one else has been putting it away. Todd's not quick or anything, but he's always there for a goal."
Lord was there for two goals in a two-minute span after a scoreless first half in the Saints' season-opening 2-0 victory over Severn.
He also had two goals and an assist against Gilman in a 4-0 victory.
And the Saints trailed Division II rival Archbishop Spalding, 1-0, at halftime before Lord's tying goal ignited a three-goal rally for a 3-1 victory.
Lord also scored St. Mary's only goal to tie the game in an eventual 5-1 loss to Baltimore's Friends School. That game was also his first experience with being targeted by the opposing team's defense.
"They just put a guy on me and he went everywhere that I went," said Lord. "I think scoring is a challenge, but I'm just trying to work my hardest for the team. That game taught me that I have to take each game one at a time."
Lord began playing soccer when he was 6 years old and living in Stuttgart, West Germany, where his father, a military officer, wasstationed. His family relocated to Olney two years later and, after just two months, moved to Annapolis.
Lord was a member of the Severna Park Green Machine's traveling squad for five years, teaming up with current All-County players like Archbishop Spalding's Pat Mohr and Severna Park's Brian Peterson.
At 13, Lord entered Indian Creek Middle school, where he played soccer until his freshman year at St. Mary's. He was a junior varsity player until last year, when the Saints' varsity squad went 9-9-2.
"He's definitely been a surprise," said Boone, whose Saints are 3-1 overall and 2-0 against the MSA A Conference.
"He broke his right foot after the second day of practices and had to wear a cast for 12 days, so he really didn't get much work in scrimmages because of that. But he gradually worked his way back in."
Boone says Lord's potential has scarcely been tapped. He has yet to take full advantage of his height, for instance. Just one ofhis goals has been scored on a header.
"There's a lot of room forimprovement in the rest of his game," said Boone. "And that's encouraging."
And with big games coming up against McDonogh this Saturday, followed by Cardinal Gibbons (Sept. 30), St. Paul's (Oct. 2) and MSA A champion Calvert Hall (Oct. 4), Lord knows he could be a marked man.
"I know it's going to be tougher on me, but I expect some of my teammates to start coming through," he said. "I liked being an unknown player, but I guess that's over now."