When North Harford coach Ed Zorn moved star midfielder Keith Smith to forward against Oakland Mills, he took a calculated gamble.
"I was looking for more offense," Zorn said.
Even though Smith scored a goal for the Hawks, his absence at midfield created a vacuum that the Scorpions capitalized upon to win a hotly contested 4-3 game yesterday at Oakland Mills.
"I think we won the midfield and that was a key factor," said Marques Holmes, who scored Oakland Mills' fourth goal with four minutes left. That goal, his eighth of the season, put the Scorpions ahead 4-2 . Joe Mitchell got the assist.
"Rob Severn and Kevin Gardner did some good things at midfield today and got us down deep," Oakland Mills coach Don Shea said.
Once down deep, the Scorpions used corner kicks and long throw-ins to pressure North Harford and goalkeeper David Zorn, the coach's son.
Oakland Mills (4-2) had eight corner kicks and five long throw-ins in the first half, and as a result had outshot the Hawks 14-4 at halftime. But their lead was only 2-1.
Jason Gotis, a freshman striker playing his first varsity game, scored the Scorpions' first goal in the fifth minute following a throw-in.
About 30 seconds later, North Harford's Smith scored his eighth goal this season. He stole the ball off an Oakland Mills throw-in and volleyed a 35-yard goal belt-high to the inside post.
Keith Murphy, who has three goals and four assists, put Oakland Mills ahead 2-1 in the 20th minute when his left-footed direct kick found the net.
Goalie Zorn, who made 14 saves and batted away numerous corner kicks and throw-ins, leaped high but never touched the ball.
"I got pushed from behind," Zorn said.
Hawks stopper George Arteaga injured a heel before halftime and missed the second half.
Oakland Mills went ahead 3-1 in the first minute of the second half off a corner kick. Chris Miller headed Murphy's kick, and Teddy Lawler, standing at the back post, volleyed it in for his fourth goal this season.
North Harford (3-3-1) picked up its offense in the second half to outshoot Oakland Mills, 9-8. John Stearns scored from 35 yards away on a kick that Oakland Mills goalie Aaron Dane lost in the sun in the 47th minute.
Brian Renfro kicked in North Harford's final goal with 10 seconds left.