Even after dusk had settled over Mayo's Camp Letts soccer field yesterday, the question of which Christian school soccer team was the county's best still was unsettled.
Annapolis Area Christian School and Glen Burnie's Granite Baptist School had heard about each other throughout the season. So naturally, curiosity got the best of both teams -- so much so, that AACS coach Bob Topp and Granite mentor Jack Wilson decided to schedule a season finale between the two small schools.
"I started the idea (of putting the game together), because I sawwhat a successful season Jack and his team were having," Topp said.
"I kept seeing them in the papers and everything, plus the attraction of being fellow Christian schools in this county just made this an attractive game."
Both coaches were correct in the assumption that their teams would make for an interesting game, as play ended in regulation at a 2-2 standstill. Darkness made it impossible to settle the game with an overtime.
Granite Baptist had just come off of a heart-breaking 2-1 shootout loss against Riverdale Baptist on Saturday in the finals of the Maryland Association of Christian Schools state postseason tourney. The 11-6-1 Braves were the regular-season champs of the Chesapeake Christian Athletic Conference.
AACS had wound up its season with a 12-1-2 mark, dumping Grace Brethern, 4-0, for the Christian School Athletic Association title on Saturday.
"Honestly, I think it was a great way to end the season," said Wilson.
"Last Saturday, we played four overtimes -- 110 minutes of soccer, and we lose in a shootout. It was a tough way to lose. So we were lookingforward to playing in this game."
Annapolis Area took the early lead just four minutes and 39 seconds into the game, when junior halfback Ryan Robey sent a long pass toward freshman striker Jimmy Himes. Himes, who finished the year with a county-leading 16 goals, took thepass in stride andblasted a low liner into the left corner past diving goalie Jason Baab (12 saves).
The two teams played evenly throughout the first half, both taking five shots. Junior striker Buddy Grammer narrowly missed knotting the game at one when he cranked a right-footer from just outside of the penalty box, but an alert Todd Painter deflected the shot wide left.
The offense came fast and furious during the opening minutes of the second half, as Braves winger Shaad Baab fed Drew Leonovich on an indirect kick just two minutes and 26 seconds into the half.
Two minutes and five seconds later, the Eagles broke the deadlock, thanks to Josh Segerstrom's 11th goal of the season. Jaime Skillen placed a difficult pass through two defenders, as Segerstrom finished off the play by touching it past goalie Baab.
With 12 minutes remaining, Leonovich pounded in a penalty kick after a pushing violation, sending a rocket into the upper right corner. In the next couple of minutes senior Brent Moore narrowly missed wide on two left-footed shot attempts.