If the non-league season that ends this weekend is any indication, then the dominance exhibited in county boys soccer shows no signs of abating, even in what can be labeled a rebuilding year for most of the top teams.
Through Saturday's games, the county's top six teams accumulated a non-league record of 16-4-1. All four losses were by one goal; three of them were 1-0; two of them were in overtime.
Oakland Mills (3-0) and Glenelg (3-0) lead the pack with the best records. Oakland Mills, seeking a third-straight state Class 1A title with a largely rebuilt team, is led offensively by Trevor Shea (three goals, five assists), Kyle Farmer, Hughes Paul and Brandon Hawkes. The No. 3-ranked Scorpions have victories of 5-2 over Elkton, 2-0 over Springbrook and 4-2 over Bethesda-Chevy Chase.
Glenelg, state 1A champ three seasons ago, has been led by Connor Nixon (three goals) and goalkeeper Corey Shea to victories of 3-0 over South Carroll, 4-3 over Westminster and 2-0 over Liberty.
Wilde Lake (3-1) suffered its first loss to Laurel, 1-0. "We had two goals called back on calls that I was quite surprised by," coach Dave Nesbitt said. "One was called offside and one was called a dangerous play." The Wildecats defeated Northern-Calvert, 3-1, and High Point, 4-3, in a tournament last weekend and face River Hill today.
Matt White scored three goals and had three assists during Mt. Hebron's wins over Linganore (7-0) and Westminster (5-0) last week. The No. 2-ranked Vikings (3-1) seek to repeat as Class 2A champs.
Nate Zachman leads Centennial (3-1) with four goals and one assist while Greg White has three goals.
River Hill (1-1-1), going for its fourth straight state title with a completely rebuilt team, tied Urbana, 0-0, lost to Bethesda-Chevy Chase, 1-0, in overtime, and defeated Kennedy, 4-1, last week.
In 1999, the county won three state soccer titles, giving it a total of eight during that time and a state-best 32 overall.
With its hard-earned 28-10 victory over Mt. Hebron on Saturday, Howard remained one of two undefeated county teams along with Long Reach.
Lions coach Vince Parnell said the game was much closer than the final score and that Mt. Hebron is a much better team than people think.
"It was a 14-10 game with seven minutes to play," Parnell said.
Gerrick McPhearson led the Lions with 176 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. He also made eight tackles and had an interception. Travis Irving had 136 yards rushing and caught a touchdown pass. Adam Snyder made 10 tackles and Nathan Kohler made nine tackles.
The Lions, the defending county co-champs, face the other co-champion, Wilde Lake, Saturday.
Centennial earned its first win by defeating Atholton in a wild game. Two Atholton fumbles at their own 30-yard line set up Centennial's first two touchdowns. Then a 77-yard scoring pass from quarterback Pat McKevitt to Brian O'Connor gave the Eagles a 19-0 halftime lead.
"It was a completely different game in the second half," Eagles coach Ed Holshue said. "We didn't block."
Atholton recovered a blocked punt at the one-foot line and then Bruce Cummings scored, with Mark Carbone picking up the two-point conversion on a run to make it 19-8. Atholton made it 19-14 with 10:51 left to play.
"Then we just hung on," Holshue said. "They drove to our 6-yard line with 1:58 to play, but they fumbled an option on second down and Jim Plank recovered for us. Then we got our only first down of the second half to run out the clock."