River Hill made it four straight regional boys soccer titles in the school's four-year existence, outclassing South River, 4-1, in Mayo last night for the Class 3A East championship.
The victory was the top-ranked Hawks' fourth straight in the playoffs this season. They have outscored, in order, Prince George's County's Duval, county rival Wilde Lake, Annapolis and South River by a combined 21-2.
River Hill (16-1) advanced to the state semifinals, where it will play the Class 3A West champion Walter Johnson on Nov. 12 or Nov. 13, with the site to be determined.
South River's season ended at 10-4-1 overall, with three playoff wins, including one last week over Columbia's Long Reach.
The Seahawks' defense actually allowed River Hill few good shots.
But South River did not have the skills under pressure to sustain an attack, which resulted in a lot of defending.
"We had more mental composure," said Josh Price, River Hill's junior forward who headed in the game's opening goal off a lovely cross from the right flank by junior midfielder Greg Hinkle.
Said Hawks coach Bill Stara: "When you play on someone else's field, under the lights, a regional final, everybody's inspired to play against you. . . . They had a lot of people back, and basically, we did tonight what we had to do."
Said veteran South River coach Greg Carroll: "It was good ballclub we played against, but I was not displeased by our guys. River Hill's legit; that's all I can say."
After what appeared to be a goal in the game's second minute, which was waved off, River Hill needed 30 minutes of persistent attacking of South River's bunkered defenders, particularly on the flanks, before Price scored.
About a minute before halftime, the Hawks made it 2-0, when senior forward Scott Buescher tucked away a contested ball in the goal area after a lob into the penalty box from central midfielder Jason Gotis, some 35 yards from the goal.
Both Buescher and Price had assists in the second half, setting up, respectively, senior forward Adom Crew in the 56th minute and senior defender Todd Tedrow in the 64th minute.
South River avoided the shutout in the 74th minute, as defender Matt Coughlan first-timed a bullet from about 12 yards off defender Scott Forney's free-kick chip into the right side of the box.