Centennial making noise in football



September 20, 2006|By Pat O'Malley and Glenn Graham | Pat O'Malley and Glenn Graham,sun reporters

Centennial has emerged as a team to watch in Howard County football. The Eagles stunned then-No. 4 Long Reach, 25-18, at home last Friday with a 19-point third quarter and a 90-yard touchdown run by Justin Harris in the final minutes of play.

The result left both teams at 1-1 to start the season and served notice that the Eagles are not to be taken lightly. They bounced back to upset the Lightning after losing their opener, 28-7, at then-No. 5 River Hill (2-0).

River Hill scored 21 of its points in the first half before the Eagles' defense tightened up in the second half. The second-half effort carried over to the Long Reach game.

Centennial has not been to the playoffs in 26 years, when it made the state semifinals in 1980. The Eagles, who have gone 6-23 over the past three seasons, have not had a winning season since 2001 under coach Ed Holshue.

Holshue led the Eagles to back-to-back 6-4 seasons in 2000 and 2001.

Current Centennial coach Jamie Wagner is in his third season. Wagner welcomed back eight starters on offense and nine on defense this season, and the Eagles have some depth.

Centennial visits Wilde Lake (2-0) at 3 p.m. Friday. Containing the Wildecats' Zach Brown, who is averaging 8.6 yards per carry with 369 yards and four touchdowns on 43 carries, will be quite a chore for the Eagles' defense, which is led by linebacker Alex Bechta.

Keeping it simple

New Oakland Mills boys soccer coach Brett Cutler, the Scorpions' third coach in four years, has one basic goal.

"The biggest thing I've been trying to stress is that we want to be competitive every time we walk out on the field," he said.

To do that, the Scorpions will emphasize defense first and take a direct route to goal.

The Scorpions, who opened the season with a 1-0 win over Eleanor Roosevelt last week, have a senior-laden team with some quality underclassmen. Junior Cory Marcon is the team's most potent offensive threat, and Cutler will lean on senior sweeper Keith Meyers, senior fullback Parker Frost and sophomore back David Jannatti to anchor the defense.

An early-season test comes Tuesday when the Scorpions travel to River Hill.

Ready for some futsal

Looking to build on the program's first state tournament appearance last season, the Reservoir girls soccer team has a new coach, Mike Scarff, who brings an unusual philosophy.

Scarff has incorporated futsal, an indoor version of soccer minus the artificial turf and side boards, into practice sessions to help improve the players' skills and decision-making. Futsal is a five-vs.- five game usually played on a gym floor with a smaller ball.

"It's all about skill. Because it's a smaller ball, it's harder to handle, so it builds skills and quick decision-making. And it really puts the word hustle into the game," Scarff said.pat.omalley@baltsun.com glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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