For Centennial, shock is over

Eagles use 8-4 run to beat Oakland Mills, 13-7, win 1st Howard title since '98

Boys lacrosse

High School

May 08, 2002|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

At the beginning of the season, just about everyone considered Centennial's boys lacrosse team the favorite to win the Howard County title.

Everyone except Centennial, of course.

"We knew until someone stepped up and knocked off Mount Hebron, they were still the team to beat," said Eagles coach Mike Seigert.

And so, searching for motivation, the Eagles adopted "Shock 'em" as their team motto. They put it on T-shirts, chanted it after games and repeated again and again, right until it became true yesterday as Centennial clinched its first county title since 1998, beating Oakland Mills, 13-7.

"We felt like people didn't really think we could do it," said Eagles junior Mike Down, who scored five goals and had an assist in the win. "That was just our motivation: to go out and shock people and prove that we were the best team."

One by one, the Eagles (12-2, 9-0 county) proved it this season, winning close games over county heavyweights Mount Hebron, Hammond and Glenelg. The Scorpions (4-8, 3-6), however, would not let the Eagles kick off their victory celebration early. Matching Centennial's hard-hitting style for much of the first half, Oakland Mills trailed only 5-3 in the closing seconds before intermission despite three scores from Down.

But with 10 seconds left in the second quarter, Centennial's Pat Davis shook loose from his defender and fired a shot past Oakland Mills goalie Matt Green. The goal not only gave the Eagles some much-needed breathing room, it also gave them a big emotional lift.

"That hurt us, definitely," said Oakland Mills coach Ken Hovet. "It's a tight game and we're doing all we can to hang in there, and that gave them some momentum going into the second half. From there, I felt like they just outhustled us to a lot of balls and out-worked us in general."

Centennial's deeper rotation and superior skills helped the Eagles pull away in the second half. Down scored twice in the third quarter, and Sean Dougherty also added two goals to help increase the lead to 11-4. Oakland Mills fought back to within 11-6 on goals from Sean McElroy and Zach Sandler, but Davis and Dougherty each added a goal to ice things.

"I couldn't ask for a better group of kids," Seigert said. "They're so unselfish and they were dedicated to working hard all during the off-season. We didn't assume anything today because we've seen how well Oakland Mills can play."

Green helped keep things close with 13 saves, while McElroy led the Scorpions with three goals. Dougherty scored four times for Centennial, and Joe Link added a goal and two assists.

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