Atholton's boys soccer team left no doubt last week that it has blossomed into a major power with the ability to win a state Class 2A title this year.
After a soul-stirring effort against the top-ranked Howard Lions at Howard last Tuesday that resulted in a heart-wrenching 1-0 defeat, Atholton went on cruise-control Friday against Mount Hebron, winning 7-0.
That win pushed Atholton's record to 7-1, tying the school record for wins in a season.
"I think our team has come of age," Raiders coach Reg Hahne said.
"The next day at practice after the Howard loss, our kids were sky-high because they knew they had played well."
That loss should do nothing to alter Atholton's No. 8 ranking by The Sun. And Friday's win at Atholton kept the Raiders on track toward a playoff spot.
"We'll need nine wins to guarantee us a playoff spot," Hahne said.
"Eight wins will be iffy."
The Raiders have county games remaining against Oakland Mills, Hammond, Centennial and Wilde Lake.
The biggest celebrant Friday was sophomore Todd Bradford, who scored three goals, two in the first half, when Atholton gained a 3-0 lead.
Mount Hebron (3-5 overall, 1-2 county) spent most of the half trying to stop Atholton's attack and did so successfully for 25 minutes.
Then Tony Dedmond, the county's leading scorer with eight goals, beat Vikings goalie Todd Fuhrman. A couple of missed clears by Mount Hebron fullbacks set Dedmond up for the easy score.
Three minutes after Dedmond's goal, Atholton made it 2-0 when Bradford scored off an assist from Nick Bostrom. Bradford took the crossing pass from Bostrom at the far post and drove it into the net.
In the 38th minute, Bradford beat Fuhrman one-on-one and a rout was on.
Bostrom started the second half by scoring in the 41st minute from 10 yards out against a new Vikings goalie, Doug Smith, making it 4-0.
Phil Lazzari got the fifth goal from 20 yards in the 46th minute with a beautiful shot into the upper right corner of the net.
Tim Witcome took a pass from John Walter and headed it in from 10 yards out in the 53rd minute.
And Bradford finished the scoring in the 60th minute with a kick from the 10-yard line.
"We were fired up, and we just kept shooting away," Bradford said.
"After the Howard game we realized we can play with anyone."
Bradford, Atholton's backup goalie, has five goals this year. His cousin, George Bradford, played goalie for Wilde Lake last year.
Mount Hebron mounted several scoring threats in the second half, missing a half-dozen scoring chances. Starting Atholton goalie Kori Hunter sat out the second half except for a few minutes when he played forward.
The Vikings have beaten Hammond, Aberdeen and North Harford this season. The Hammond win came in overtime, 2-1.
The team narrowly lost to Wilde Lake, 2-1.
The Vikings are a young, small team that took a beating from the bigger, physical Raiders but played well to stay scoreless for the first 25 minutes.