Scott Yeager was incorrectly identified in a photo that appeared on Friday's Local Sports page. The Sun regrets the error.
Eighth-ranked Perry Hall had dominated its opponents entering yesterday's Baltimore County 3A-4A league boys soccer game against visiting Dundalk.
The defending county champion Gators had averaged eight goals, outscoring the competition 49-3 with three shutouts.
Perry Hall (7-0, 6-0) broke a 2-2 tie in the second half to survive yesterday's battle of unbeatens, 4-2, behind Greg Stark's hat trick.
And second-team All-County stopper Chris Ude played excellent defense, also scoring his sixth goal of the season to give Perry Hall a short-lived 2-0 lead.
But what was most unusual about yesterday's game was how the Gators played it.
A more balanced skillful team than last year's 4A regional runners-up, the Gators abandoned last year's kick-and-run style against the Owls (5-1-1, 3-1-1), displaying an up-tempo passing game.
It impressed Dundalk's second-team All-County striker Luke Bell, the Owls' top scorer with 11 goals and eight assists.
"Perry Hall is a good passing team," said Bell, whose team trailed 2-1 at halftime after his late first-period goal. "They hustled and knew what they were doing."
But if you ask Stark (12 goals, six assists), a Calvert Hall transfer and Perry Hall's second-leading scorer behind Scott Kennell (14 goals, seven assists), the Gators weren't at their best.
"They played us really well, but we didn't run to the ball as much as we should have," said Stark. "We have a lot of quality players this year. You get the ball to anyone and they're going to produce."
The Gators' closest victory previously had come by 3-0 over Bel Air. Woodlawn took the worst beating, 18-0.
"Unlike last year, there's not just one player who can score," said midfielder Jeff Patterson, who has five goals and five assists.
Scoring threats include Brian Doherty (four, five), Brandon Oliver (three, four) and Jay Stephan (three, two).
"We take our time and make better passes. We just play better as a
team," said Ude, who got defensive support from Brian Neiberline, Scott Yeager and Adam Nastalski.
Ude and company were troubled by the speedy trio of Bell, Eddie Dyer and midfielder Jason Parks . Dyer's goal off a long feed from Parks tied the game at 2-2 just two minutes into the second period.
Stark made it 3-2 with 20 minutes left, redirecting a cross from Allen Batac from 15 yards out. The goal scored to the right of keeper Gene Woods (14 saves).
His third goal came on a penalty kick with six minutes left, set up after a collision with Dundalk's Chris Astarita.
"We capitalized on some Perry Hall mistakes but we had other chances to put it in the net and just couldn't finish," said Dundalk coach Bob Hutsler.