With four games left in the regular season, Glenelg's boys soccer team is looking more and more like a defending state Class 2A soccer champion.
Last week, the Gladiators cleared a major hurdle by beating Oakland Mills, 3-2, and followed that with a 4-3 overtime victory against an underrated Mount Hebron squad.
Midfielder Jeff Cline was selected The Baltimore Sun's Player of the Week, as he scored or assisted on six of Glenelg's seven goals.
With most of last season's starters lost to graduation, the young, inexperienced team has been inconsistent.
They are 4-4 overall and 2-1 in the league. One loss was a forfeit of a game against Loyola that the Gladiators had won.
Reggie Brown (two goals, seven assists) played a dynamic game against Oakland Mills, as Glenelg went up 3-0 before the then second-ranked Scorpions battled back.
The Gladiators needed overtime to put away Mount Hebron, as Cline (7 goals, 2 assists) scored three goals.
"Mount Hebron was aggressive and we didn't play as well as we did against Oakland Mills," said Glenelg coach John Bouman.
Glenelg knocked off Oakland Mills in the state semifinal last year. But the Gladiators have moved into Oakland Mills' region this season, joining Atholton and Hammond.
The top four teams make the playoffs, and as of now, it appears that only three of those four county teams will earn playoff berths.
Through Monday's games, the Class 2A South regional rankings were: 1. Lackey, 4.62; 2. Oakland Mills, 4.16; 3. Atholton, 4.12; 4. Glenelg, 3.12; 5. Hammond, 2.97.
Appearances can be deceiving
The philosopher who said that appearances often are deceiving might have been describing a situation that occurred at the Wilde Lake football game last Saturday.
When Atholton players showed up at Wilde Lake wearing No. 35 taped to the backs of their helmets, it appeared to Wilde Lake that they were singling out Wildecat Mike Green, who wears No. 35 and is the team's top running back and an outstanding defensive player.
Green got fired up and went on to have his best game of the season, rushing for 118 yards and three touchdowns.
In reality, there was a completely different reason behind Atholton's use of the No. 35. The Raiders were honoring one of their own, Tony Vallance, who was injured at a summer lacrosse camp and forced to miss the entire football season.
Vallance, a senior, had worn No. 35 for the Raiders. He is held in such high esteem by his teammates that they elected him a tri-captain this season and taped his number to their helmets.
Atholton coach Don Van Deusen wants it known that his team does not use such tactics hoping to intimidate opponents.
Mount Hebron girls soccer team had not beaten Centennial since the
girls high school soccer program began in 1981. But they broke that 12-game losing streak Oct. 12 with a 3-2 victory.
The Vikings got ahead 2-0 on goals by Christina Eberhart and Liz Skorny. Eberhart scored again for the game-winning goal.
Mount Hebron entered the season with low expectations after graduating nine of 11 starters. They are 5-3 with wins over Severn, Liberty, Laurel, Edgewood and Centennial, and losses to C. Milton Wright, Hammond and Glenelg.
"Beating Centennial was a lot of fun," said coach Warren Michael. "They took us lightly at first and then we got too far ahead."
And the Vikings played that game without one of their three best players, Cathy Nelson, who has a broken nose and a pulled hamstring. Julie Kickham leads the team in scoring with five goals and four assists.
The Vikings' playoff chances aren't good, however, since they are vying with defending state champion Centennial for the fourth and final playoff spot and to make matters worse Eberhart sprained her ankle at practice Monday.
Quarterback Brian Van Deusen (Atholton) is having a record-breaking passing season at Western Maryland College.
He has set single-season records for completions (136), pass attempts (255) and passing yards (1,550). And his 10 touchdown passes are one shy of the school record. His 53.3 percent completion percentage is near the 54.7 percent record.
One of his best games was against Gettysburg when he completed 30 of 51 for 337 yards and one touchdown. He completed 29 of 51 against Muhlenburg for 318 yards and three touchdowns.