BY mATT pALMER
They did that in the Class 1A/2A state title game and in the process broke a few records too.
The Eagles (17-2) won their first state championship since 1998 with a thoroughly impressive 16-6 win over Southern, of Anne Arundel County. The game was played May 21 at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
The 16 goals were the most ever scored by a Class 2A team in a championship game.
Garnering most of the attention afterward was Sean Dougherty, an attack who scored a Maryland championship game record nine goals in the game. By halftime, he had tied the previous high of seven.
At times, Dougherty looked unstoppable, getting feed after feed from classmate Mike Down, who broke the Class 2A record for assists in a championship game with six.
Dougherty was not aware of the significance of his goals until an announcement was made through the stadium's public address system. Even then, it seemed to matter little to the unassuming junior.
"I'd rather win than not even score. It's more of a team thing," Dougherty said.
Centennial did not start out as well as it finished, as Southern (14-5) took the first lead 3:10 in the game.
Evan Calvert got the Eagles on the board with the first of his two goals to even the game at 1-1.
Southern seized the lead back, getting a goal from Danny Witt. Then the Eagles went on a game-changing 7-0 run that featured a goal from Calvert and five from Dougherty. The other goal came from Dougherty's freshman brother Brennan, who added two goals in the game.
The Eagles did not look back after taking the 7-2 lead, getting goals from Pat Davis (three assists), Andrew Cardoni and Down.
For Down, the last few days have been sweet. He had a decisive assist to Dougherty in a 7-6 semifinal win over Pikesville, the same team that bounced the Eagles from the semi-finals a year ago. However, he was not prepared for his team's offensive explosion in the championship.
"I didn't know how it would turn out," Down said. "I knew we were capable and we had the players."
When talk turned to a possible repeat next season, Down got excited.
"It's pretty awesome. I want to do this again," he said. "We're on top. I want to stay here."
Although Centennial graduates seven seniors, the Eagles will return a bevy of talent next season.
The celebration after the championship game was just like every game this season. Huddled around, each member of the team began to say in unison the team motto in hushed tones. Slowly it built to a loud crescendo that echoed in the brisk spring air.
The win was a culmination of a year-long obsession with a state title. The Eagles began the season 2-2, with losses coming to Annapolis and Friends School. The loss to Friends on March 30 proved to be the team's last and the Eagles had a firm grasp on the trophy they had been dreaming about since the loss to Pikesville a year ago.
"Everyone on the team contributed," Centennial coach Mike Siegert said. "It's great because it's neat to see a group of people commit to something. You want to strive for excellence, and they did."
E-mail Matt Palmer at email@example.com.