Write Glenelg coach John Bouman's name on the ever-growing list of people who think Centennial sophomore Brian West is an extra-special soccer player.
West scored a goal and added an assist in second-ranked and Howard County champion Centennial's 3-1 victory over Howard County runner-up Glenelg yesterday.
West's missed shot off the right post also helped create %J Centennial's first goal.
"The difference in the game was Brian West," Bouman said. "He went wild on us."
With the wind at its back, visiting Glenelg (6-5-1, 4-2-1) played a strong first half against the Eagles, but its failure to score at least one goal during that time left it in a precarious position. The game was scoreless at halftime.
"I kept telling my team to keep them scoreless until halftime because we'd have the wind in the second half," Centennial coach Bill Stara said.
Stara's team was outshot 11-5 in the first half, but the Eagles still managed three dangerous shots on goal, and Glenelg goalkeeper John Golding made one sensational diving save off a shot by Matt Stephenson.
Glenelg nearly scored off a corner kick 11 minutes into the game, and followed that closely with two more dangerous situations.
"We had to score in that first half," said Bouman, who during that half wore an orange hat with a black wig attached in an attempt to keep his team loose.
"I was trying to break the tension, but it really didn't work," he said. "You could cut it with a knife."
Although the game was virtually meaningless because the county championship had been decided and both teams were guaranteed playoff spots, the action still was intense.
Centennial (10-1-1, 7-0) didn't score until the 57th minute. West, who was marked by Andrew Williamson, dribbled through a couple of defenders and blasted a hard shot off the right post. It bounced back and was retrieved by Centennial. Eagles sophomore Cory Piette then sent a cross to freshman Matt Stephenson, who headed it in for his eighth goal.
Centennial waited until the 74th minute to get the game-clinching goal. West sent a cross from deep in the right corner to Morgan Kershner who was standing unguarded about 10 yards from the goal at the far post. Kershner headed it inside the opposite post.
The Eagles went up 3-0 in the 77th minute on West's 13th goal. He dribbled into the right corner with two defenders on him but stopped suddenly inches before the goal line. The defenders kept going. West turned, dribbled back to a good angle and his left-footed volley found the upper part of the net.
Glenelg scored in the final minute off a corner kick. Tony Marchegiano volleyed in a deflected ball from short range.
"Glenelg was dangerous on their set pieces but not too dangerous off its dribble," said Matt Stephenson. "And their goalkeeper was pretty good. But this was really just another game for us."
Stara said, "Glenelg did well in the middle section of the field and created some things. But Dan [Christine, Centennial's goalkeeper] didn't have to make any miraculous saves.