Winningest Boys Soccer Team Aiming For State Title

Granite Baptist, Already 5-1, Dominates League

September 20, 1991|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff writer

Quick, name the county varsity boys soccer team with the most wins this season.

If you said Severna Park, you're automatically disqualified for choosing the obvious answer.

And the wrong one.

Granite Baptist of Glen Burnie raised its victory total to five yesterday in typically quiet fashion, defeating Clinton Christian School of Prince George's County, 7-0.

The Braves have gone 5-1 while competing in relative anonymity, also known as the Chesapeake Christian Athletic Conference. Their only loss occurred Monday at Shenandoah Valley, 3-2, in a shootout, though they controlled play during regulation and held a 25-6 advantage in shots.

"Ithink that loss was really what we needed," Coach Jack Wilson said.

"It humbled us and let us realize it's going to require getting upfor every game and playing our best for every game, which we really didn't do against Shenandoah."

Granite Baptist was at its best yesterday, despite a heavy downpour. But will anyone, besides its loyal following and conference foes, even notice?

"Not many people know about us, but everyone here knows we can play soccer," said junior Drew Leonovich, the Braves' leading scorer with 11 goals, including twoyesterday. "Our coach told us this is probably the best year we'll ever have. We were expecting to be good, but I don't know if we were expecting to be this good."

Seven schools belong to the CCAC, but only five are offering soccer this season. All seven will field teams next year.

Wilson is in his fifth year as coach at Granite Baptist, a private school with an enrollment of around 230, pre-kindergartenthrough 12th grade. But this is only his second season on the varsity level.

Previously, the Braves competed as a junior varsity team -- but often went up against varsity competition.

The result was predictable but beneficial.

"We had eighth-graders on the team, butthat's what happens when you're a small Christian school. You have to make do," Wilson said.

"We got beat by those teams, but we learned from it."

It's the Braves who do the teaching now.

Last year, they won 11 of 13 regular-season games but were clearly outclassed by Riverdale Baptist in the finals of the Maryland Association of Christian Schools Athletic Commission state tournament. Wilson says thisyear's team will go farther.

"We're looking at this year as the best chance we've ever had to compete at the level we want to compete at, namely at the state tournament," he said. "We've got three seniors and seven juniors. I know at the county level that might not seem good, but for our level that's a pretty strong team. And next year, wemay be even stronger."

With Granite Baptist in command yesterday,Wilson instructed his players not to shoot for most of the second half, and the Braves

had to settle for a game of keep-away against the outmanned Eagles.

They finished with a 31-1 advantage in shots against a team that was 3-0 in its first year of soccer. The Eagles normally play flag football this time of year.

A few more games like yesterday's might persuade them to switch back.

Junior Buddy Grammer scored two goals, and senior Greg Breen, sophomore Eric Nettle and freshman Ben Baab had one apiece. Nettle's goal was his first of the season.

Last year's leading scorer, junior Chad Baab, had five assists, and Leonovich was credited with two.

"It's rough on the guys because we work on the essentials of soccer and what it takes to win at the level we want to win at, and then you have to turn all that off," Wilson said. "No team wants to have too many of these types of games during the season."

Other members of the Granite Baptist team are seniors Jason Baab and Mike Maggio, juniors Jack Pumphrey, Anthony Sansone, Dave Ritter and Mike Cumming and freshmen Phil Nettle and Zack Wells.

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