"They were the show this year," Wilde Lake Coach Dave Nesbitt said. And anyone who watched much Wilde Lake soccer would agree.
Not only were Hamisi Amani-Dove and Matt Nesbitt the two most-skilled soccerplayers in the league -- a head above everyone else -- but they carried their team to a state Class 1A championship as well.
Because of that, the teammates are The Howard County Sun's Co-Players of the Year.
Amani-Dove could strike with a lightning bolt's suddenness from his forward spot.
He moved effortlessly with no wasted motion, streaking past opponents as though they were standing still.
His dribbling and passing skills were so advanced that their display left many opposing players and coaches gaping in disbelief. No scorer since Howard's Todd Haskins in 1989 has been quite as fearedand respected by opposing coaches. Amani-Dove's 17 goals and seven assists don't even begin to measure his value to his team.
He forced opposing teams to alter their styles of play to try to stop him. Despite being a marked man, he rose to the challenges over and over.
Amani-Dove is scheduled to compete for the Eastern Regional Olympic Development Team in Dallas this week and hopes to be selected for thenational under-20 team based on his performance.
Nesbitt and Amani-Dove worked as a team to score 33 of Wilde Lake's 50 goals. Nesbitt's 16 goals and 16 assists indicate his dominance at midfield.
Howard Coach Rudy Storch said: "I would pick Nesbitt as the player who made that team go. He had a tremendous presence on the field."
Whenthe Wildecats faced Clear Spring for the state title, that team's coach, Mark Myers, said: "Nesbitt is the best player on that team. If he doesn't play well, then the team doesn't. He's the playmaker."
Nesbitt often seemed to toy with opposing players, dribbling in combinations that left them confused and frustrated. He took a tremendous physical beating from opposing players because of his superior skills,but he stayed injury-free.
He made lead passes to Amani-Dove withuncanny accurateness. The two communicated well and could anticipateeach other's every move.
They play on the same club team, the Bethesda Mustangs, and they are both first-team All-State selections by the Maryland Association of Coaches of Soccer.
Rarely does a team possess two players of such extraordinary talent.