Severna Park and South River made quite a statement for county boys soccer by sending home the Sun's No. 1 and No. 2 teams Friday.
Unranked Severna Park stunned top-ranked River Hill, 2-1, in the 3A East regional semifinal on the Hawks' turf in Howard County; No. 8 South River outlasted No. 2 C. Milton Wright, 2-1, in double overtime in the 4A East semifinal at Chesapeake.
The winning goals for each came off corner kicks. Severna Park's clincher by J. P. Murphy came indirectly from Andrew Ennema after a corner kick midway through the second half.
Andrew Hall initiated a corner kick that Paul Miller headed off teammate Zack Davis and into the net to give South River the victory a minute into the second overtime. It was the Seahawks' first goal off a corner kick this season.
Severna Park (10-5-1) will host Mount Hebron (11-4-1) 7 p.m. Tuesday in the 3A East final. South River (15-1-1) plays Thomas Johnson (13-1-2) of Frederick for the 4A East title at Chesapeake High School.
Thomas Johnson made a second-half goal stand up for a hard-earned 1-0 win over Broadneck (8-6-1) in Friday's first game at Chesapeake.
"That's a pretty good statement for our county and its quality of play, " said Severna Park's Don Gregg. "They [soccer aficionados] don't think a lot of us because we don't have as many ODP [Olympic Development] players."
The win by Severna Park (10-5-1), which hung out in the Sun's Top 15 most of the season before faltering near the end, was the most unlikely. River Hill (12-1-1) was unbeaten before the game and appeared to be on the way to its state championship form of 1997-99 after going 10-5-3 last year.
"No doubt about it, River Hill is a very good team, but our kids have come a long way on and off the field, " said Gregg.
Gregg, the county's winningest soccer coach at 294-10-14 in 28 years, is 0-7-1 in state finals, the last appearance a 2-1 loss to Walt Whitman of Montgomery County in the 1996 4A state final. Severna Park's 1983 team was AA co-champion with Bowie of Prince George's County.
Anne Arundel County's lack of state titles is one of the major knocks against it. Anne Arundel boys soccer teams have won only two of their five titles outright, 4A Chesapeake in 1998 and Class A South River in 1987 under coach Greg Carroll, who is finishing his 25th season in Edgewater.
Besides Severna Park, Arundel shared the '87 AA title with Bowie and Andover was Class 2A co-champion with Hereford in 1989. It was Andover's final year before merging with Brooklyn Park to form North County.
If Class 4A East region champion Chesapeake (11-2-2) defeats West titlist Quince Orchard (11-2) in the 12.30 p.m. state semifinal at Goucher tomorrow, the Cougars would play in the school's first state championship game.
Also, retiring coach Jerry Taylor would have her 200th career victory. But Taylor, with 199-108-23 career record, is more focused on preparing her squad for the pressure of playing in a state semifinal.
"I think it's going to take every one of our kids to be on completely," she said. "They have to be mentally prepared."
Chesapeake will rely on a tried-and-true formula: creating scoring opportunities at one end while shutting them down at the other end. The Cougars have given up just eight goals and senior goalie Meghan Bush has recorded nine shutouts.
Offensively, junior Maria Schrum (eight goals, six assists), senior Amanda Weitzell (seven, five) and junior Amanda Shelton (three, eight) lead a team that is averaging 2.7 goals per game.
"Our defense has kept us in games, " said Taylor, adding that 13 different players have either a goal or an assist.
Quarterback Keith Williams passed for 256 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for 120 yards as Glen Burnie (6-3) notched its first winning season since 1994 with a 56-22 romp over Severna Park (1-8). Williams broke the county record of 2,032 total offensive yards for a QB set by Ziz Abdur-Ra'oof of Northeast in 1982. Williams has 1,203 yards rushing, 1,107 passing for a record 2,310 total yards. ... Beating Arundel (3-6) by 28-6 gave Northeast (6-3) its first winning season since in 12 seasons. ... No. 5 Meade (8-1) defeated Southern-AA (3-5) by 30-12 and can set a school record for regular-season wins at Arundel Friday. Southern's Justin Holland returned an interception and a fumble for touchdowns in the loss.
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