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Centennial boys soccer captures outright Howard County crown following Saturday’s 3-0 win at River Hill

The Centennial boys soccer team poses for a photo after defeating River Hill, 3-0, on Saturday, Oct. 23, to claim the Howard County title.
The Centennial boys soccer team poses for a photo after defeating River Hill, 3-0, on Saturday, Oct. 23, to claim the Howard County title.

It was all right there for the Centennial boys soccer team on Oct. 23: Win its last regular-season game and stake claim to the Howard County title. But the assignment wasn’t a simple one against host River Hill.

The Eagles were more than ready for the challenge.

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With energy and purpose from the onset, Centennial scored two goals in the first 15 minutes and never looked back to claim a 3-0 win over the Hawks.

With the victory, Centennial matched Mt. Hebron with a 9-1-1 league mark, but its 1-0 win over the Vikings on Sept. 14 gives the Eagles the outright crown based on the head-to-head tie-breaker established prior to the 2019-20 school year. It’s the first county title for Centennial (11-2-1 overall) since 1995.

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On Saturday, junior forward Adam Fowble scored the opening two goals, seniors Eddie Aguilar (two assists) and Cameron Grable controlled the midfield and junior goalkeeper Kartik Sullivan (five saves) made two timely saves in the second half to keep the Hawks (9-4, 8-3) at bay.

“It was a lot calmer than I thought it would be — River Hill is a great team, obviously,” Centennial coach Justin Thomas said. “But we have a good group. They’re locked in and I think going forward this gives us a lot of confidence.”

Going into Saturday, the Eagles had motivation from last year’s county championship game loss to Marriotts Ridge. The team also got the opening it needed when Glenelg tied Mt. Hebron in double overtime, 0-0, on Wednesday. A spirited week of practice led up to the game against the Hawks.

Their readiness showed up from the start with an opening goal in the ninth minute. Junior midfielder Omar Hassan played a ball to the right side for senior Andrew Fritz, who quickly sent a pass across for Fowble to power home from 12 yards.

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Six minutes later, Fowble got to a ball sent in by Aguilar and used good touch in chipping a shot over River Hill’s drawn-out goalkeeper Zach Glass to make it 2-0.

“It’s been years since we’ve won this,” Fowble said. “Since this morning, I’ve been focused, I’ve been ready and I was thinking about scoring some goals. It feels amazing to put two in the back of the net.”

The Hawks regrouped in the second half and had a couple chances to get within a goal, but Sullivan proved sure-handed with his biggest save coming on a left-footed shot by Aiden Edmonds from 12 yards out with 17:43 to play. Junior forward Riley Senisi put the game away when he scored off a feed from Aguilar with 15 minutes left to make it 3-0.

“It’s a great feeling, especially since we lost in the county championship game last year. I knew we wanted to come back out and win it this year if we had the chance,” Aguilar said.

“We practiced all week, we were working really hard. We knew how bad we wanted it, so we had to go out and make it happen.”

Up next for both teams is the Class 3A East region playoffs — Centennial in Section I and River Hill in Section II.

Hawks coach Matt Shagogue, who was quick to credit Centennial’s superior play Saturday, was asked how he expects his team to respond when the playoffs start in about a week.

“That’s a good question — you hope this drives them,” he said. “We have a week to see if we can reorganize and all that. We got to play better, we got to be a lot tougher. Not a good game, Centennial was much, much better. They are very good and they deserved it 100%.”

Thomas had a question for his Eagles as well, with their last state championship also coming in 1995.

“I asked them, ‘Are you the one? Are you the team that’s going to make history?’ And maybe they are,” he said.

Goals: C – Fowble 2, Senisi

Assists: C – Fritz, Aguilar 2

Saves: C – Sullivan 5; RH – Glass 5

Half: C, 2-0

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