Top-ranked Oak. Mills edges No. 2 River Hill

Scorpions prevail, 1-0, on Johnson's early goal

Boys soccer

High Schools

October 01, 2003|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Saah Johnson scored for Oakland Mills 70 seconds into the game, and the Scorpions' defense, especially goalkeeper Dan Rogers, withstood a furious River Hill onslaught to preserve a 1-0 victory in a showdown of the two top-ranked and unbeaten teams yesterday at River Hill.

The game pitted No. 1 Oakland Mills, starting 10 seniors, against a much younger No. 2 River Hill team, featuring 10 Olympic Development Program players.

No Oakland Mills team had scored on River Hill's wide field in three previous opportunities, but Johnson stunned the Hawks with his left-footed volley at the far post off a throw-in by Brian Hamilton.

"We were trying to make a statement that we can beat anybody," Johnson said. "We don't get any respect because we're a [Class] 1A school, but today we beat the defending 3A champ."

Oakland Mills (6-0 overall, 4-0 Howard County), the defending 1A state champion and winner of four state titles in the past five years, recorded its third straight shutout and second straight win over River Hill. The Scorpions were one of only two teams to defeat River Hill last season.

It was Johnson's 11th goal to go with five assists this season. He has scored in every game.

"I told Rogers he was going to have to step it up today," Johnson said. "And he played a big game."

Rogers made 11 saves and played mistake-free despite intense pressure from River Hill (6-1, 4-1). The Hawks took 11 corner kicks, 12 long dangerous throws near the Oakland Mills goal and four direct kicks - a total of 27 dangerous dead-ball plays.

"Our defense held up well," Rogers said. "This was the most pressure we've faced this season. Their strikers wouldn't quit. Our sweeper, Kevin Gibson, played awesome. At the end, I tried to keep playing hard and not look at the clock."

Abraham Larrobra played stopper for Oakland Mills and deflected a crucial shot with three minutes left, and later made a 50-yard clear despite playing on a twisted right ankle.

"I kicked it [clear] with my left foot because I couldn't kick with my right anymore," Larrobra said.

The defense also included Kyle Marcon at left fullback and Jason Jannati at right fullback.

River Hill had four league shutouts and had outscored its opponents 18-3 before yesterday. It still leads the series with Oakland Mills, 4-3-1.

Said Hawks coach Bill Stara: "Their goalkeeper had a very nice game. We created opportunities but couldn't get a goal. On their goal, we made three mistakes: No one cleared; the goalkeeper didn't come off his line; and we had no one at the back post. Otherwise, we played well and people saw a good game."

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