The Francis Scott Key Eagles were controlling the midfield, continually beating visiting Smithsburg to the ball in the first half last night in Uniontown.
They were also doing a great job of finding their top scorer, senior forward Robbie Green, in places where he could operate -- mostly down the right side -- where he was either finding his own shot or sending dangerous crosses through the goal mouth.
It was just what Key coach G. Hibberd was looking for, except the Eagles forgot to do one thing -- score.
The scoreless first half gave the Leopards an opportunity and they made the most of it when Adam Green scored 10 minutes into the second half. The goal would stand as Smithsburg (10-2-1) advances with a 1-0 win over Key (6-7) in a Class 1A West quarterfinal.
"I don't know how we could play any better. We played a good game," Hibberd said. "Hats off to Smithsburg. I thought we had enough chances, but you have to give the Smithsburg keeper [Justin Stevens] credit, he played tough and so did their defense."
The Eagles chances came early and often. Ten minutes in, Robbie Green sent three straight crosses over from the right side before getting around the same corner and firing a shot of his own Stevens turned aside. Billy Baker, Ryan Etzler, Jesse Oakes and Billy Kemp all had opportunities, but couldn't break through.
"We feel one of the toughest places to play is here at Francis Scott Key," said Smithsburg coach Gary Hawbaker. "We felt if we could keep them scoreless in the first 15 minutes, we'd be OK. They did exactly what I expected, they're an excellent team."
Smithsburg regrouped at the half, while Key was a bit frustrated seeing no results from a strong first half.
Last night's game was a lot like the two team's regular-season meeting at Smithsburg in early October, a 4-0 Leopard win that went into the half scoreless.
"It hurt us a little," Robbie Green said. "It was frustrating. Everybody's heads went down [at halftime]. They did the same thing up there."
Smithsburg did a better job at midfield at the start of the second half and got all the scoring it needed when Adam Green scored from just inside the 18-yard mark after a short pass from Ryan Lampton.
The Eagles pressed for the tying goal, but it never came. With 4:30 left. Robbie Green had two chances off a corner kick, but both shots were blocked in front.
"The bottom line was [Smithsburg] got the ball in and we couldn't," Hibberd said.
After a slow start, the Eagles won their last four regular-season games to even their record at 6-6 before the loss last night.
* Walter Johnson 3, Liberty 1: Walter Johnson advanced to the Class 3A West semifinals as Zack Copeland and Dave Marquardt scored first-half goals. Liberty ended its season at 4-9.
* Rising Sun 2, Edgewood 0: Visiting Edgewood (2-10-1) allowed a goal in each half and fell out of the Class 1A North tournament in the first round.
* Sparrows Point 12, Harford Tech 0: Sean Volz scored five goals to lead host Sparrows Point (9-4-1) to a Class 1A North Region quarterfinal win over Harford Tech.
* Franklin 2, Dundalk 1 (OT): Chris Hunt took a pass from Gene Balbir in overtime and scored as Franklin (8-3-3) advanced to the Class 3A North semifinals.
* Centennial 4, North Carroll 0: Melissa Schreibstein scored nine minutes into the game as No. 6 Centennial dominated from the start in a victory over visiting North Carroll (4-8-1) in a Class 3A-4A West quarterfinal.
Michelle Clare's header off a cross from Alexia Vogler gave the Eagles (10-3-1) a 2-0 lead 16 minutes into the contest. Jane Williams and Kristen Dinisio added first-half goals to end the scoring.
Centennial next will play the winner of today's game matching Westminster at Howard.