How to stop Brian West has become a perplexing problem for Centennial opponents.
West, a sophomore striker, repeatedly ripped holes in second-ranked Oakland Mills' defense yesterday to lead the fifth-ranked Eagles to a 2-0 victory in boys soccer.
He had one assist and one goal, but set up several other near-goals with brilliant passes. And he was denied one goal on a tough save by Oakland Mills goalkeeper Aaron Dane.
"He was the man today," Centennial coach Bill Stara said of West, who has nine goals and five assists. "It was his game."
Freshman Cort Yetso, making his first start, scored his first career goal and the game's first goal after a pass from West down the left side.
Yetso, who is left-footed, kicked a right-footer inside the upper far post nine minutes into the game. The shot, which at first appeared to be a pass, demoralized Oakland Mills (3-2).
Oakland Mills coach Don Shea called it "a soft goal."
After that score, Centennial (6-1-1) added a fifth midfielder and went with West as the lone striker.
"That took Teddy [Lawler] out of the game because every time he'd start rolling, a midfielder would step up on him," West said.
Lawler, Oakland Mills' most dangerous scoring threat, was still nursing a knee injury received during last Friday's 2-1 win over Howard. Yesterday, he had trouble going to his right.
Lawler had sat out most of Oakland Mills' 3-2 upset loss to Glenelg on Tuesday.
"He was still only 60 percent today," Shea said. "After the Glenelg loss we just weren't mentally ready to take on Centennial."
Midway through the first half, an outstanding pass by West set up freshman Brian Otten for an easy goal, but Otten missed from 15 yards out.
A hard shot by West a short while later bounced off Dane, and trailer Matt Stephenson was a split second too late getting to the rebound for what would have been an easy scoring opportunity.
Centennial missed on several other dangerous scoring opportunities as it dominated the first half.
West made the play of the day eight minutes into the second half. He dribbled through three defenders down the left side and kicked a left-footer on the ground to score Centennial's second goal.
Centennial's Dan Christine made the save of the game in the 78th minute by diving left and smothering a hard, low shot by Lawler near the post.
Then West, using his speed, nearly duplicated his drive that had resulted in Centennial's second goal.
This time he dribbled by Zuri Barnes, Brent Mascott and Mike Jenkins. But his kick was high.
"Brian is one of the most consistent players I've played with," said Centennial sweeper Ben Stephenson. "He has the potential to score two goals every game."
"I don't think there is anyone around who can stop him," Stara said.
An indication of Centennial's domination was the Eagles' 25-16 shot advantage.
Oakland Mills was successful at getting seven long throw-ins that created dangerous situations. The Scorpions also had two corner kicks.
But Christine aggressively batted away several of those throws, and defenders Allen Alejandro and Ben Stephenson headed away balls from in the front of the goal.
Centennial, which plays an offensive style similar to Oakland Mills', created seven corner kicks and five corner throw-ins.
The Eagles last week lost three starters for the season because of disciplinary reasons. Yesterday they were missing yet another starter, forward Brad Terrill, out for two weeks with a sprained ankle.