Mia Dammen's goal in the 78th minute produced a 1-0 Oakland Mills victory Friday over archrival Centennial, putting the Scorpions (8-2 overall, 5-0 league) in a solid position to win their fifth straight county title.
They have two games remaining, against Mount Hebron and Glenelg this week.
The game also kept alive Oakland Mills' chances of making the Class 3A/4A Region IV playoffs. That region includes Centennial and Howard.
Oakland Mills has made a habit of winning the close ones. The Scorpions beat all three of their top county competitors by one goal -- Howard 4-3, Hammond 1-0, and Centennial, 1-0. They also won by one goal over Wilde Lake, 2-1.
The winning goal Friday developed off a direct kick by Kim Gove that Danette Lemerise headed to Dammen, who was about six yards from the net.
Dammen kicked it into the lower corner past diving Centennial goalie Jenny Kling's right side.
"We were playing for our (playoff) survival and the county title today," Dammen said.
The Scorpions never would have won without a big effort from their goalie, Jenny Golding, who made seven saves, including a spectacular one on a breakaway in the first half.
Centennial dominated the first half, taking 12 shots, five of which bounced off the football crossbars just above and behind the soccer goal.
"We were just unlucky," Meg Caro, Centennial's star midfielder, said. "We outplayed them, but Mia (Dammen) showed some nice composure on that last shot."
A 15-to-25 mph wind was a factor in the game, and Centennial had it at its back in the first half.
When Oakland Mills, playing at home, gained the wind advantage in the second half, the Scorpions started getting the majority of the shots.
Dammen had three other good second-half opportunities before her game-winner.
Scorpion Tyann Blissett also missed wide at dangerously close range in the 59th minute.
"Our defense played really well today," Oakland Mills coach Cindy Odell said.
Of the team's five victories, three have been shutouts. Only Howard and Wilde Lake have scored on the Scorpions.
Oakland Mills plays Christine Copeland at sweeper, and she made several key clears in the second half when Centennial mounted scoring threats.
Centennial (7-2, 3-2), which was coming off a 5-1 trouncing of Hammond last Tuesday, faces a three-game schedule this week, playing Westminster Monday, Atholton Tuesday and Mount Hebron Friday.
"This game reminded me a lot of our win over Hammond," Scorpions coach Odell said. "In that game, Hammond dominated the first half, and then we took charge in the second half."
Dammen said that Oakland Mills "prefers to have the wind in its face during the first half -- because we're a second half team."
Caro said the same thing about Centennial: "We definitely wanted the wind in the second half."
Barring a collapse this week, the Eagles appear to have a playoff spot clinched.