Centennial's impressive 18-15 victory over Howard (3-1) in one of the best-played football games of the season should have convinced everyone that the hard-hitting Eagles (3-1) are for real.
Centennial's 80-yard touchdown drive in the last four minutes proved the team has plenty of character.
And the Eagles proved they can throw, as junior quarterback Brian Dowell completed 5 of 6 passes on that final touchdown drive. The only incomplete pass was one a receiver dropped.
They also proved they can hit, something Centennial teams in the past have not been noted for.
"They were big and physical," Howard coach John Quinn said of Centennial. "And we thought that if they had to pass it would be to our advantage."
Centennial coach Ed Holshue is convinced he has a winner.
"This is a different bunch. We have worked a lot on the mental aspect of convincing them they can play football," Holshue said. "We really gained confidence from the South Carroll game. They had beaten us badly a year ago, but we out-gained them this year."
Centennial lost to South Carroll, 3-0, in overtime. The Cavaliers also have beaten Wilde Lake, another indication that the Eagles should be right in the thick of the county race this season.
Howard's boys soccer season is not going the way first-year coach Dave Kelley would like.
The Lions (1-2), a team a lot of coaches thought might be a dark horse this season, have have scored only two goals in three games.
Howard's offense has produced more than enough scoring opportunities, but has failed to finish.
In a recent 2-0 loss to Thomas Stone (3-0), a team that was a state Class 3A semifinalist last season, the Lions allowed Thomas Stone All-American David Hayes to beat them with a goal and an assist.
"We dominated play for 75 percent of the game," Kelley said. "We created lots of chances but didn't finish."
Against Frederick, a game the Lions won, 1-0, Howard had 10 corner kicks in the first half without scoring. The Lions also missed a penalty kick.
"We didn't play well," Kelley said. "We should have scored four or five goals in that game."
In its opener, Howard came up on the short end of a 2-1 score -- an upset by Linganore.
"That was a major disappointment," Kelley said. "They went up 2-0 early in the second half and then packed it in."
Kelley believes the county is hindering its soccer teams by allowing teams only two preseason scrimmages when most other counties allow more.
"That we have only two is a major liability. Linganore had had five and we just weren't ready to play them in the first half," Kelley said.
But Kelley places most of the blame for the poor start on disappointing performances by several key players he was counting on.
"I can't really cite any highlight performances by individuals because we haven't had any yet," he said.
The future does look brighter, however, because the Lions have picked up a transfer from Spain, Sergio Fraile.
The 16-year-old junior exchange student is a striker -- exactly what Howard needs. Fraile played on a high-level team in Madrid, and even has attracted attention from the pros.
Fraile did not arrive in the United States until last Thursday because of problems in obtaining housing and getting a visa.
"It's good we don't have a game this week, because it will give him a chance to practice with us," Kelley said. "The style of play here is very different from Spain."
New basketball coach
Glenelg has promoted Klaude Krannebitter from junior varsity boys basketball coach to varsity coach. He replaces Terry Coleman, who resigned last spring.
Krannebitter, who lives in Catonsville, teaches at Glenelg Middle School.
Glenelg's top scorer Jason Beall (20.3-point average), second-leading scorer Scott Cline (17.6), starting forward Jeff Lewis and starting point guard Jamie Brinker all have graduated from a team that was 16-8 and finished third in the county.
Former Oakland Mills soccer scoring star Malcolm Gillian is carrying on that tradition at the University of Maryland.
Gillian, a junior, scored both goals in a 2-1 victory over North Carolina State and was named Atlantic Coast Conference Co-Player of the Week. It was the first multi-goal game of his career.
In 1990, Gillian led the Scorpions to a state Class 2A championship. He also played on the Scorpions' 1988 state championship squad.