The question is, who really gained as a result of last night's Anne Arundel County boys soccer championship at Old Mill High in Millersville?
The winner or the loser?
Eighth-ranked Chesapeake defeated the No. 12 Severna Park Falcons, 3-1, on Karl Watson's first career hat trick, at Bob Golliday Memorial Field.
Not to de-emphasize the county championship, but there are more important crowns waiting down the road.
The Cougars (14-2) hope they haven't switched places with the Falcons (11-4) after winning this year's regular-season meeting by 2-0 and adding the county title last night with a dominating effort.
Last season, the Falcons were left with the icing on the cake after taking the regular-season contest by 3-0 and the county championship match by 2-1. The Cougars then got the whole cake.
Chesapeake won the region final by 1-0 over the Falcons and went on to claim their first 4A state championship.
"Don't tell me that," answered Cougars coach Earl Eckhardt when asked if the teams were reversing roles. "You don't think that's going through my mind?"
The two teams are in separate brackets of the state open tournament and a rematch of last year's 4A East Region final is a possibility.
Chesapeake's county title was its third outright since the county championship game began in 1994. The Cougars and Falcons battled to a 3-3 tie in the inaugural and Chesapeake won in '95 and '97.
In their attempt to repeat, the Falcons' young and inexperienced back line got burned continually by Watson and mates as the Cougars outshot the Falcons, 18-11, and won the majority of balls.
"Seems like a different guy steps up every game for us," said Eckhardt.
"Karl just took it on his shoulders tonight. I've been waiting for that Karl Watson to play at this level. He's done some brilliant things this season, but not against a team of this quality."
Watson's first goal came midway through the first half as he took a feed from Mike Jungerheld and booted the ball into an open net. Falcons goalie Jon Hopp (10 saves) roamed too far from the net, giving the Cougars an easy score.
The second goal by Watson with 7: 42 left in the half came on a couple outstanding moves and a nifty finish on three defenders.
Severna Park's John Traylor, who scored the game-winner in last year's county final, cut it to 2-1 with a goal in the last four minutes of the half, but an unfortunate incident occurred soon thereafter.
With tension building because of aggressive play on both sides, Scott Mucci of Chesapeake and Severna Park's Jerry Cornett mixed it up pretty good on the far sideline from the benches. Both were ejected for fighting with 2: 26 left in the half.
As a result of the red cards, Mucci and Cornett, who shook hands behind their respective benches, have to sit out their quarterfinal playoff games next week -- Chesapeake at Old Mill, and Severna Park at Broadneck.
In the first six minutes of the second half, Watson put the Cougars in command with his third goal as he dribbled past everybody and made it 3-1 Cougars.
"I just had a good touch on the ball today and got lucky," said Watson, who now has eight goals and six assists.
Chesapeake's defense smothered the Falcons and Eckhardt used two keepers who got the job done. Mike Schlein made two saves in the first half before giving way to Mike Fileta in the second half.