It is easy to watch the top guns in boys soccer this season. After all, two of the top three scorers play for the same team -- unbeaten Patterson.
Clippers senior Scott Zakroski leads the area (15-13--43), while junior Mike Chalmers (16-9--41) is tied with North County's Jody Haislip (17-7--41).
Chalmers was a bit unlucky in Tuesday's game at Northern. He actually entered the contest tied with Zakroski for points. He got two assists, but failed to connect on several shots, including one 35-yard scorcher that slammed off the crossbar. Teammate Roger Main netted the rebound in the 8-2 victory that improved Patterson's record to 9-0.
"It doesn't matter who gets the goals as long as we are scoring," said Zakroski.
"We don't plan who will shoot and who will pass," said Chalmers. "It just happens and it doesn't matter who ends up with the ball."
Zakroski and Chalmers frequently swap positions. Zakroski starts at striker, Chalmers at midfield, but both impress with their unselfish style. Chalmers will make a run and push a pass through the defense, setting up Zakroski. In the next instance, it's Zakroski beating a defender, then dropping the pass back to Chalmers.
They have played together since 10-and-under recreation ball at St. Patrick's. As their soccer shoe sizes grew in the green grass of Patterson Park, so did their skills. Even now, in the offseason, they still play indoor soccer for St. Patrick's in the 19-and-under league.
"It's mostly with players from Essex Community College," said Zakroski.
Both agreed that Patterson probably should be playing in the A Conference this year.
"We scrimmaged McDonogh even before the season," said Zakroski.
McDonogh, ranked No. 9, leads Division I of the MSA A Conference with a 12-0 record.
Patterson coach Derek Maki keeps pushing his Clippers. He knows the other players can't sit back and watch Zakroski and Chalmers do all the work if his team is to win the B Conference championship.
"We play very well until we get a lead, then we seem to drop off," said Maki. "We have to get to the point where we sustain our intensity for the full 80 minutes."
Maki knows he has more than a two-man team and keeps encouraging the others to play to their potential. He has the Clippers using the wings, Everett Witherspoon and Tom Scharf (7-6--20), to take advantage of the whole field. While that clears the middle and gives Zakroski and Chalmers room to work, it also paves the way for runs from the wing midfield.
Mike Gizzi (9-5--23), Main and Bernie McDonald will roam forward and trigger shots at will.
It all keeps the pressure off goalkeeper Mike Valcourt and defenders Michael Bush, Donald Waitt and Pat Giusto.