Suddenly the road to the Anne Arundel county boys soccer championship seems to be veering away from Severna Park toward Chesapeake and its high-scoring forward, Ryan Frommelt.
Frommelt is certainly on a mission to prove county coaches such as Broadneck's Jonathan Braun wrong for their preseason remarks that went like this: "The road to the county championship still goes through Severna Park."
Frommelt was stung and angered by the comments and said, "We'll see."
The Cougars' senior knows all about the Severna Park tradition, but he can't quite figure out how people have forgotten already what happened last fall.
"We were 1-1-1 against Severna Park last year, and I felt we had finally proven ourselves," said Frommelt, whose 11 goals and six assists led the team in scoring.
Chesapeake bounced Severna Park from the 4A East region semifinals with a 2-1, double-overtime victory, after gaining a share of the county title by battling the Falcons to a 3-3 tie.
Also, the 14-3-1 Chesapeake record last season nearly matched Severna Park's 13-2-1 mark. But still no lasting respect for the 4-0 Cougars, who are ranked fourth in The Baltimore Sun poll this week.
Frommelt has taken matters into his own hands -- or, more appropriately, into his feet and head.
He scored a fast-break goal in a 2-1 victory over then No. 7-ranked Severna Park on Sept. 15, just three days after beating Eleanor Roosevelt, 2-1, in the season opener on a nifty header off a direct kick with five minutes left.
Since those two exciting victories to open the season, Frommelt and Chesapeake have been downright nasty to the opposition, routing Annapolis, 5-0, and blitzing Broadneck, 4-0.
He has drawn double coverage from all four opponents this season, with Annapolis and Broadneck being so intent on stopping him that junior midfielder Rich Kuhn was left alone to record four goals and two assists in those blowouts.
Frommelt was held scoreless in those two games, but he is far from frustrated.
"I passed the ball and played well against Broadneck," he said. "That was an emotional game for us. We were all pumped up because of what their coach [Braun] said."
In the romp past Annapolis, Frommelt said he "wasn't too happy when they started coming after my ankles, but I just walked away and told the refs about it. They gave one of their players a yellow card for doing it."
There is little wonder that Frommelt gets angry when people come after his legs. He has fought back from two knee operations in less than two years to keep playing soccer.
Chesapeake coach Earl Eckhardt has watched all the double teams and hard hits laid on his forward and is obviously a little concerned.
But he doesn't see it slowing Frommelt down.
"Ryan has natural, God-given ability and is quick as a cat," said Eckhardt. "He's able to fight through the tackles and play his game."
It's a game Frommelt has been playing for 12 years, and it might help him receive an appointment to the Naval Academy.
"I went down there to a seminar last summer and would like to play soccer," he said. "I already know the track coach at the Academy is interested in me because of my time in the half mile [1:58, which was good enough for fourth in the state 4A championships last spring]."
For now, the focus for Frommelt is on winning the county soccer championship outright and going to the state 4A tournament for a second straight year.
Certainly, a wave of soccer excitement has swept across the school, as the Cougars are now 2-0-1 in their last three starts against Severna Park.
"People around school look up to the soccer players now," said Frommelt. "We even have football players coming to our games. We had around 300 fans watching us beat Severna Park."