Easy pickings: Eagles the team to beat again Two-time defending champs aiming for 3rd straight title 1993 Howard County high school boys soccer preview Centennial

September 07, 1993|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

Every county coach but Bill Stara says Centennial is the team to beat in Howard County this season.

Maybe they do because the Eagles are two-time defending state Class 3A champions with a 32-game unbeaten streak and

back-to-back 14-0-2 seasons.

Or maybe they do because of Stara, The Baltimore Sun's All-Metro Coach of the Year last season. Stara began coaching at Centennial in 1981 and his teams have won five state championships and compiled a record of 140-17-7.

Or maybe they do because they know that Centennial has a flood of freshmen and sophomores whose talent is far above average.

Whatever the reason, the feeling runs deep that Centennial, young as it might be, will take command again.

As Stara admits: "We have some holes to fill, but people who can fill them."

Stara won't say his team will finish first, though.

"We have some speed and creativity, and some stability at midfield, but we're a young team and will have growing pains," he said. "I'll need to be patient and hope the older ones will hold us together long enough. I have no idea where we'll finish. It could be fourth to first. We're just starting to mesh."

Centennial has only three seniors: fullback Allen Alejandro, midfielder Morgan Kershner and goalkeeper Dan Christine.

Stara is banking heavily on Alejandro, a solidly built athlete, to play a much larger role than he did last season.

Christine returns at goalkeeper after an outstanding all-county season, but he must fight for his starting job. He filled in for injured junior Brock Yetso last season, but Yetso is healthy again. Stara hasn't decided on a starter yet.

And the Eagles have a third outstanding goalkeeper in sophomore Luke Timmons, who played for Stara's Darby club team that won a regional championship this summer.

The third senior, Kershner, like his junior midfield counterpart, Chris Dramby, brings flexibility and stability to that part of Centennial's game.

Junior Brad Terrill will play an attacking midfield role.

Junior Doug Ulman likely will play a defensive midfield or stopper position. A team leader, he was all-county and scored nine goals and had three assists last season.

The other midfield spot will go to a younger player. Four sophomores, Bob Landolt, Corey Piette, Andrew Peverly and Tim Walton, and freshman Ben Stephenson have a shot.

Centennial will count on sophomore striker Brian West to score. He's exceptionally fast with a knack for finishing.

If he needs help, freshman striker Matt Stephenson, another Darby player and Ben's twin brother, is considered capable by Stara.

The defense must be rebuilt from among juniors Chris Donohue, Chris Kurcz, Steve Otten and Jason Rosenberg, sophomore Seo Choi, and freshmen Cort Yetso (Brock's brother), Brian Otten (Steve's brother) and Marcus Lages.

Centennial's toughest opponent this season should be Whitman, team the Eagles defeated twice last year, 1-0 in the state championship game, and 1-0 in a regular-season contest. This ++ year's contest is scheduled for Oct. 5 at Centennial.

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