Fallston likely to stay in a league of its own 1993 Harford County boys soccer preview

September 05, 1993|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

In the past three years, the closest Fallston High School came to losing a soccer game in 21 tries to any of its Harford County rivals was three ties.

Though the race should be tighter than last year, more of that kind of punishment is expected this fall.

Coach Len Petrey has four starters back from last year's Class 1A state championship team, and enough of a supporting cast to rate as the county favorite once again.

Aberdeen, which went 7-1-1 a year ago, accounted for one of those three Fallston ties, and made the Class 3A playoffs.

Most of that cast has gone, however, along with the county's co-coach of the year, Ken Zorbach, and Stu Hinch, switching over from coaching the Eagles' girls team, has a major rebuilding problem.

The strength in the county is expected to come from three of its northern teams -- Fallston, C. Milton Wright and North Harford, with Bel Air and Havre de Grace seen as their closest challengers. Joppatowne looms as the best of the rest, with that group probably only beating each other in the league.

Fallston's domination of county soccer in the past 12 years -- eight titles -- has come despite every opponent pointing at the Cougars. That will be the case again, but opponents' chances for success might be better than in the past.

A year ago, Shane Dougherty, the All-Metro Player of the Year, scored in every one of his team's 16 games, including a 13-goal barrage in four playoff games.

With that weapon gone, Petrey is hopeful of a more balanced attack complemented by a defense that could be the equal of last year's unit (15 goals allowed, seven shutouts).

More bad news for the rest of the teams: One strength of Fallston's team this year is its five starters who are among 10 juniors on the roster.

C. M. Wright could be next best, with veteran defenders and four sophomores who got a lot of playing time as freshmen, including starting goalkeeper Tim Hilyard.

North Harford rates an edge on Bel Air and Havre de Grace because of experience, but the other two could be there, especially if there is strength in numbers. Havre de Grace, for example, has 23 players, a big increase over recent years.

Adding interest to the championship race is the reclassification to Class 2A for Fallston (up from 1A) and Aberdeen (down from 3A), giving the county four schools (with Edgewood and North Harford) in that group. Bel Air and C. M. Wright remain in Class 3A, and Havre de Grace and Joppatowne in Class 1A.

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