If Chesapeake's sturdy 4-0 win at Old Mill last night is any indication of what's in store this fall, the rest of Anne Arundel County will have to find a fast pace to keep up.
With the needed goal out of the way early - a header from Mike Jungerheld off a Stephen Abey cross in the ninth minute - the No. 4-ranked Cougars kept right on coming, forcing the issue at every turn before scoring three late goals against the worn-out Patriots.
Bigger, deeper, more physical and just as fast, the Cougars (2-0) won most every challenge to dictate the play throughout the night.
But it wasn't until sophomore substitute Tim Bloom buried a shot from 25 yards out, finding the lower left corner with 12:39 left to play, that the Cougars' win was secured.
Alex Watts added a second cannon shot from 20 yards out and then found Abey with a cross to close out the scoring.
The win got mixed reviews from Chesapeake coach Earl Eckhardt.
"We're still not firing on all cylinders. Even though we have most everyone back, we're still trying to get everyone playing together," he said. "As long as our defense holds tight and keeps goals out of the net, we'll be able to fight through games."
With the 1-0 lead most of the way, the Chesapeake defense did have some tests.
Marking back Jon Philipp was on every ball that came to his side, sophomore sweeper Addison Pumphrey kept it simple with quick clears and keeper Nick Hovaker made a diving second-half save on a dangerous direct kick by Doug Spatafore from just outside the 18-yard mark.
Then the Cougars' depth won out in the end.
"We definitely have plenty of talent to go around, and when we put it all together, we can play some soccer," said Eckhardt. "We'll go deep into every game."
After opening the season with a win over Glen Burnie, the young Patriots simply didn't have enough staying power to match Chesapeake.
"I thought we stayed with them in the first half. We were just one or two touches away on some chances," said Old Mill first-year coach Jeff Martin. "We just ran out of gas in the last 30 minutes."