Oakland Mills stopper Chris Miller stood on the sidelines and smiled as the game wound down against No. 11 Wilde Lake.
He seemed to like the fact that his shirt had been ripped apart at the left shoulder. A badge of courage. On a team noted for its physical, black-and-blue style, he is one of the more physical players.
But Miller never had experienced a game quite as personally satisfying as this one.
His No. 4 senior-dominated team finally wore down a sophomore-dominated Wilde Lake (3-2-2, overall, 0-1-1 league) after 62 minutes and went on to a 3-0 victory.
And he scored two of the three goals, his only goals of the season.
The victory was even sweeter because Oakland Mills (5-1, 1-1) played 75 of the 80 minutes with 10 men instead of 11, because Carlos Santiago was ejected for roughness in the fifth minute.
And Miller had one more thing to smile about. He escaped certain ejection after throwing a punch that decked Wilde Lake sweeper Jeremy Young in the 28th minute.
"The official didn't see it," Miller said.
Wilde Lake, a more skilled passing-oriented team, couldn't crack the Oakland Mills defense. Time and again, Wilde Lake players paid dearly with jarring checks from Oakland Mills an instant after volleying a connecting pass.
Finally its youth, the unseasonable heat and Oakland Mills' intimidating style took its toll on the Wildecats.
Simon Bwayla's header in the 62nd minute deflected off Miller and into the goal for a 1-0 Scorpions lead. A corner kick began the play.
Two minutes later, Zuri Barnes volleyed in a goal from close range. Jason Gotis got the assist on a corner kick.
And in the 74th minute, Miller volleyed in a corner kick from Chris Ford.
When asked if Oakland Mills could play any more physically than it did yesterday, Miller replied: "Yes, definitely."
"One of our hardest hitters, Luke Tortlotte, didn't get to play today because he got injured during practice yesterday," Oakland Mills coach Don Shea said.
Oakland Mills, which likely will face Wilde Lake again in the playoffs, started two underclassmen. Wilde Lake started two seniors.
"We're young," Wilde Lake coach Dave Nesbitt said. "We did nothing to come back after they scored that first goal."