It was "Don Gregg Day" yesterday at Severna Park, as hundreds of fans -- including a number of former players and assistant coaches -- turned out to salute the longtime Falcons coach on earning his 200th career win Tuesday against Arundel.
But on a day when Gregg received such keepsakes as a framed newspaper clipping and a sweatshirt embroidered with the golden number "200," there was one gift that again proved elusive.
A win over Calvert Hall.
The fourth-ranked Cardinals scored three times in the second half en route to a 3-2 win over the host and fifth-ranked Falcons.
In Gregg's 21 years at the helm, his teams have gone 200-70-9, won 11 county titles and played for the state championship seven times.
But, after what was believed to be at least the 15th meeting between the teams, Severna Park has yet to defeat the Cardinals.
After leading, 1-0, yesterday at the break, Severna Park lost its latest chance by veering from the game plan, playing defensively in the second half and trying to sit on its lead.
"We started sitting on our heels," said Gregg. "We didn't do what we said we wanted to do. We completely got out of our game, but that's no thanks to them."
After looking sluggish in the first half, Calvert Hall (7-0-1) -- spurred by a heated halftime pep talk by coach Bill Karpovich -- took complete control in the final 40 minutes.
The Cardinals took nine of the first 10 shots in the half, scoring three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead midway through the half.
"The coach's speech had a big effect on us," said Cardinals forward Jeff Link, who had assists on two goals. "He told us we were playing on our heels, and that we needed to be more aggressive and get off some shots."
And Karpovich's team did just that.
After coming out firing, it tied the game at 1-1 just 2:16 into the half when Gino Amasia headed in Dave Federline's high crossing pass. Then, 10 minutes later, they took the lead when Deepak Rana tapped in a loose ball in front of the goal.
Said Karpovich: "I got on them a little bit at halftime and they responded pretty well."
Calvert Hall, which had lost the vast majority of loose balls early in the game, completely turned the tables on Severna Park (2-1) in the second half, and kept possession for most of the half.
The teams traded goals down the stretch -- Severna Park's coming from Kelley Harris after a throw-in by Jim Himes -- but the Falcons never came close again.
Gregg said that the game will serve as a valuable lesson to his team as it heads into the thick of its Anne Arundel County schedule.
"We can't just sit back," said Gregg. "We have to attack."
As for the pomp and circumstance, the soft-spoken coach said it didn't really fit his style.
"It's much appreciated, but it's too much hoopla," said Gregg. "I would have been just as happy by beating Calvert Hall."