Howard rallied in the second half before finally defeating upset-minded Wilde Lake, 3-2, at Howard Friday night.
The win clinched a boys soccer playoff spot for the undefeated Lions and kept alive a 26-game unbeaten streak.
Sophomore Jason Yancey scored the winning goal in the 63rd minute on a follow-up shot off the hands of Wildecats goalie Mike Klingler.
Klingler, a sophomore starting in place of injured senior Jean Pierre Petit-Jean, made 11 saves, several of them difficult.
After a scoreless first half in which both teams squandered several chances, Wilde Lake (4-6 overall, 1-4 league) went ahead 1-0 in the 43rd minute on an unusual shot.
Wildecat midfielder Matt Nesbitt, from the center of the field, kicked a 40-yard shot that glanced off the top of Howard sweeper Chris Smith's head at the 15-yard line. The ball ricocheted upward out of the reach of Howard goalie Steve Sunderland, who started in place of regular goalie Joe Wilson.
The 'Cats' lead didn't last long. Wilde Lake was called for a handball violation on a Howard throw-in, giving the Lions a penalty kick.
Steve Sietsema drove it past Klingler's left for a 1-1 tie in the 46th minute.
Howard (9-0-1, 4-0-1) came right back to go up 2-1 in the 51st minute, when Erin Reid used his upper body to knock the ball into the net from a foot away. Jarrod Moreland got an assist, as he followed Sietsema's corner kick at the far post.
But Wilde Lake didn't quit. In the 56th minute, Mike Curtis, in heavy traffic, kicked a follow-up shot inside the left post for a 2-2 tie.
The Wildecats almost gained the lead in the 58th minute, when they worked a 2-on-1 break, but Sunderland came out and made a sparkling kick-save.
Following Yancey's winning goal, Howard had two more excellent chances, as Jeff Morton and Josh Smith each had one-on-ones stopped by Klingler.
Smith's effort was outstanding, as he dribbled 70 yards, beating two defenders and hitting a hard shot.
Wilde Lake was forced to play the final eight minutes without one of its premier players, Nesbitt, who injured an ankle.