Top-ranked Centennial extended its unbeaten streak to 30 games and won the Class 3A, Region III boys soccer title the hard way yesterday -- in a 1-0 shootout over visiting Atholton.
The same teams played in the regional final last year, and Centennial also won that game in a shootout before winning the state title.
The Eagles (12-0-2), who shot after Atholton, made six of their nine shootout penalty kicks. Atholton (9-4-1) made four of its 10 attempts.
Centennial goalkeeper Dan Christine made three saves during the shootout. One was sensational.
"Dan was the key to the shootout," Eagles midfielder Chris Arcella said. "He kept us in it."
This game bore no resemblance to an earlier meeting, which Centennial won, 3-0.
Ninth-ranked Atholton, third seeded in the region, came out fired up and never let down. The Raiders controlled Centennial's normally dominant midfield.
Atholton goalkeeper Josh Seidman stopped a breakaway by Brian West in the 61st minute with a diving save at the 10-yard line.
West also broke free in the second of two 10-minute overtime periods. His shot bounced off Seidman toward the net, but fullback Alex Denno made a saving clear.
Other near-misses by top-seeded Centennial included a header off the crossbar by Mike Resau in the 78th minute, a kick off the crossbar by Arcella in the 86th minute that almost bounced in, and an open shot by Brad Terrill from 15 yards that sailed wide left in the 79th minute.
Atholton also had scoring chances, especially in the first half. But its best chance perhaps came in the last second of regulation. Denno hit a long direct kick that Derrick Phillips headed left of the post as time ran out.
Several Atholton players and coach Reg Hahne said that the ball went into the net on that play and should have been a goal.
But Gerry Grimes, the official who made the call, said that the ball never went in.