Top-ranked Centennial won its sixth straight Howard County championship and extended its winning streak to 43 games yesterday with a bloody, 3-2 overtime victory over Mount Hebron.
The win did not come easily. Fourth-ranked Mount Hebron's Mike Stromberg converted a penalty kick to tie the game with 34 seconds left in regulation.
And it took a shot by reserve midfielder Wesley Wolfe with 40 seconds left in the first overtime to secure the win for Centennial, which is ranked fourth in the nation and hasn't lost to a county team since 1990.
"We actually played one of our better games," said Centennial midfielder Matt Laycock. "But Mount Hebron is a good team, and we didn't clear two balls. On a wet field anything can happen."
Laycock (nine goals, 11 assists) got the assist on Centennial's first goal in the 10th minute. It was an unusual three-header goal FTC that started with Cort Yetso's corner kick and a succession of headers by Dave Johnson, Laycock and, finally, Brian Otten.
About 20 minutes after that goal, Otten, a center midfielder, had to leave after one of his teeth was knocked out as he went up for a header. He did not return.
Mount Hebron (10-2 overall, 8-1 league) nearly tied it on the hardest shot of the game, a left-footed 25-yarder by Brian Picker in the 40th minute. But Centennial goalkeeper Christian Lewis made an outstanding save, punching the ball above the crossbar.
"I was lucky because I lost sight of the ball and then picked it up at the last second," Lewis said.
Picker also had his face bloodied and a tooth loosened early in the second half and missed the rest of the game.
"This was one of the most physical games we've played," said Matt Stephenson.
Centennial (12-0, 9-0) scored its second goal in the 55th minute as Stephenson's shot bounced through Vikings goalkeeper Tom Wunk's hands, and Stu Kessler kicked it in.
That lead held up until the 72nd minute, when Wunk sent a long kick from midfield toward the goal and Mike Stromberg headed the ball in. Lewis dove and got one hand on it.
Wunk kicked another long ball from midfield to set up the tying goal. Lewis dove for an initial save, but the ball bounced free and as he was getting up, he grabbed Mount Hebron's Pat Halter enough to draw a holding call and a penalty kick.
The game-winning goal started with Yetso's corner kick and was headed in by Wolfe.
"We're disappointed," said Mount Hebron coach Scott Conroy. "We didn't play the corner kicks well."
Centennial coach Ron Martin said: "We really hadn't been tested in a while, but we played well except for the two set pieces."
Pub Date: 10/24/96