For Chesapeake boys soccer coach Chris Collins, a good measuring stick to the team's success this season - 8-0 going into the week - can be found in how much voice he has had left after a win.
Last season, the Cougars finished .500 with an entirely new back line, and Collins was often found yelling on the sideline to help the group stay organized. This season, the same four starters - sweeper Eric Townsend, stopper Nick Mattox and marking backs Josh Klaiss and Jared Fohs - are all back and putting last year's experience to good use.
Going into Tuesday's game against North County, the No. 12 Cougars have surrendered only five goals, with goalie Kody Herd recording four shutouts.
"Last year, we were just starting out as a unit, and then this year we have that experience together, we've learned what each of us can do back there as far as functioning together," said Klaiss, a senior captain. "We're all good friends, and that makes it better."
After a tough out-of-county test against Tuscarora on Saturday, the Cougars will host perennial county powers Severna Park (5 p.m. Tuesday) and Broadneck (7 p.m. next Thursday) before closing out the regular season with a visit to Annapolis on Oct. 20.
"It's going to be a dogfight. Each team has its own strengths and weaknesses," Collins said.
Two qualify for golf tourney
The Broadneck and South River golf teams each qualified for the Class 4A-3A state tournament after the two schools finished one-two, respectively, in last week's District V championships at Fairway Hills Golf Course in Columbia.
South River senior Josh Eure won the boys individual title, while Arundel freshman Elyse Smidinger was the top female finisher in the county, placing second. Broadneck junior Summer Madison was third.
The state tournament is set for Oct. 21-23 at the Potomac Ridge Golf Course in Waldorf.
Football quick hits
Severna Park travels to Meade tomorrow, with the two teams heading in different directions. The visiting Falcons (3-2) have won three straight games - including last week's 26-0 victory over Glen Burnie - after opening the season 0-2. The Mustangs (2-3) opened 2-0 before losing to Old Mill, North County and Arundel. The Falcons' defense, which forced six turnovers and had four sacks against the Gophers, will try to handle the Mustangs, who stayed close for three quarters to Arundel before falling, 46-25. ... At 4-1, North County is off to its best start since 1999, and one reason has been the steady play of senior running back Dino Stevens. In the Knights' 13-0 win over Southern last week, Stevens carried the ball 21 times for 189 yards and both of the team's touchdowns.