Soccer

All- Howard County

High Schools

Boys

November 26, 2003

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Saah Johnson

Oakland Mills

No striker in the Baltimore area drew more defenders than Johnson. Double-teamed and often triple-teamed, he still managed to score in all but two games with his combination of skill, finesse and quickness. He led the county in scoring (21 goals, seven assists), including a 1-0 game-winner that gave the No. 1-ranked and Class 3A state champion River Hill its only loss. He also scored winners in 1-0 contests against Centennial, Poolesville and Howard. Johnson, who transferred from Mount St. Joseph after his sophomore year, scored multiple goals five times, including a season-high four against Howard. His season was cut short in a 2-1 state semifinal loss to Pocomoke when he was ejected for pulling his shirt over his head after tying the score.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Bill Stara

River Hill

The Hawks graduated four first-team All-County players from last season's 3A state title team, but with just four seniors, the Hawks repeated as state champions, although it was a co-championship this time with Towson. The Hawks, who finished the season No. 1 with a 16-1-1 record, also shared the county title with Oakland Mills, the only team to beat them. The state title was Stara's 12th, the most by any coach. At 46, he has coached five state champions in eight seasons since moving from Centennial to River Hill. The 22-year veteran has a lifetime record of 327-38-16, the best career winning percentage for a Maryland coach.

FIRST TEAM

David Adams

River Hill

One of only four seniors for the Hawks, Adams kept a strong soccer tradition going with his three goals and 16 assists. He marked the top midfielders he faced, showed good field vision and was strong on the ball. Stara called him one of the best technical players in the county.

Antonio Almario

River Hill

Normally a midfielder with gifted technical ability, the junior played sweeper to fill a team need and helped the Hawks attack from the back. The Hawks allowed only six goals all season and Almario deserves a major share of credit for that.

Theo Byrd

River Hill

The junior had the ability to get behind the defense and break players down one-on-one. He scored five playoff goals, including the lone goal during the 1-1 tie with Towson in the state final. He finished with eight goals and nine assists.

Robbie Carper

Mount Hebron

A defensive center midfielder, the junior is strong on the ball and in the air. He was adept at shielding, switching the field and sending balls to the corners for the 13-3 Vikings.

Brian Chun

River Hill

A quick, smart senior with one of the highest work rates in the county, Chun was an ideal center midfielder with an ability to circulate the ball outward. After missing most of his junior year with an injury, he scored seven goals and had seven assists.

Scott DeFrances

Atholton

He had the longest goal kick in the county, and after he was moved from center midfield to sweeper, the Raiders won eight of their next 10 games while allowing just five goals. The junior led the Raiders to their first regional title since 1990.

Alex Douyon

Oakland Mills

The versatile senior scored nine goals and had seven assists while teaming up with Saah Johnson at forward. Working hard to develop his technical skills during the offseason, he had two-goal games against Eastern Tech, Catoctin and Wilde Lake.

Grant Driessen

Wilde Lake

The three-year varsity player and two-year captain played intelligently and solidified Wilde Lake's defense. Give him major credit for the Wildecats allowing just one playoff goal, a 1-0 loss to River Hill in the regional final.

Kevin Gibson

Oakland Mills

The Scorpions reeled off eight straight shutouts after the sophomore moved from outside back to sweeper. He also had three winning goals off dead-ball plays.

Lars Hill

Glenelg

The fourth-year varsity player's real strength was his ability to go to goal. His excellent first touch, one-on-one ability and speed made him dangerous. The senior scored 11 goals and had six assists.

Ryan Oates

Centennial

Adept at changing speed and controlling the ball in close quarters, the senior captain and three-year starter scored three game-winning goals. He finished with eight goals and six assists.

Dan Rogers

Oakland Mills

At 6 feet 4, 180 pounds, the repeat All-County player represented an imposing figure to opposing strikers. The senior keeper allowed just one goal during county competition. He was not scored on in regional play over the past three years.

Jeremy Smith

River Hill

The junior was the Hawks' most consistent player all season and a strong finisher from inside the box. He was second in the county with 12 goals and added nine assists to lead River Hill in scoring.

Jimmy Zabel

Mount Hebron

Strong in the air and hard to beat on 50/50 balls, the senior center midfielder tied for second in the county with 12 goals and added four assists.

THE BOYS TEAMS

Player of the Year: Saah Johnson, Oakland Mills

Coach of the Year: Bill Stara, River Hill

First team

Name School Class Position

Theo Byrd River Hill Junior Forward

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