Centennial, ranked No. 2 in the Baltimore area, lost, 2-1, yesterday in a double-overtime boys soccer thriller against Walt Whitman, breaking the Eagles' 36-game winning steak.
But the Eagles, a young team that played without three veterans who were suspended for allegedly breaking a school rule, won a lot of respect from their coach, their fans and Whitman coach Sam DeBone.
"With their youth, they played brilliantly," said DeBone, whose teams were 0-for-4 against Centennial, including a loss in the state Class 3A championship game last season.
Centennial (3-1-1) started two freshmen, four sophomores, two juniors and three seniors. Whitman (7-0) -- which is ranked No. 1 in the Washington area by The Washington Post -- started six seniors and five juniors.
The older, stronger Vikings wore down the Eagles, who held Whitman scoreless in the first half. Whitman had chances, outshooting Centennial 13-2, but none of them were easy.
"We couldn't create the space we needed to play our style," DeBone said.
Centennial scored first, on sophomore Brian West's goal in the opening minute of the second half.
West cruised down the right side with a defender on his hip, gained a step and blasted a shot inside the near post from 16 yards out that beat goalkeeper Darren Lamiman.
From that point on, Whitman's offense took charge, finally scoring in the 56th minute, when two Eagles defenders failed to clear the ball from Ben Ferry at the 35-yard line. He made a quick move to the 20 and his left-footer found the upper-right corner to tie the game, 1-1.
Centennial goalkeeper Dan Christine was sensational in the second half under intense pressure.
He stopped Whitman's star striker Judah Cooks' shot in the 65th minute with a diving block high in the air at the 15-yard line. He made another outstanding save in the second overtime on a shot that had lots of English and short-hopped just in front of him.
But he was unable to stop Whitman's spectacular winning shot with four minutes left in the second 10-minute overtime period.
After Centennial was called for holding at its 40-yard line, Ferry made a 30-yard pass to Cooks, a U.S. national team player, who leaped and kicked the ball into the upper-right corner. It was his 12th goal this season and Ferry's 10th assist.
"That's definitely the class team in the state of Maryland," Centennial coach Bill Stara said about Whitman. "We showed we can play with the best. I'm really proud of the way we played. We gave the best we had today."