Boys’ soccer: Walter Johnson, Bowie Maryland 4A title
By Eric Detweiler,
CATONSVILLE, Md. — Bowie senior Josh LeMaster was the first to reach junior Moises Lazo. Many others arrived seconds later, quickly piling on the pair. Others headed toward the team’s packed fan section, screaming and pointing.
Instead of accepting the Maryland 4A boys’ soccer runner-up trophy on Friday night, Bowie got to celebrate an unlikely ninth state title. With Walter Johnson closing in on the crown, the Bulldogs tied the score with 17 seconds left in regulation and won, 2-1, on Lazo’s goal 61 seconds into overtime at UMBC.
“After I scored I didn’t know what to do because it was such a big thing,” Lazo said. “I just started running like crazy.”
For much of the night, a second-minute goal by Walter Johnson senior Noah Sheetz-Ziegel looked like it might be enough to deliver the title to the team ranked second in the area.
But junior Bonoventure Akinlosotu kept Bowie’s hopes alive after his 30-yard shot went over the goalie’s head and just under the crossbar to force overtime. Akinlosotu — a defender — was only pushed up in the Bulldog’s final minute desperation, and the player known for winning balls in the air with his head guessed it was his first goal scored with his foot.
“I saw my chance,” Akinlosotu said, “and I just took it and it went in.”
The Bulldogs didn’t waste time in the extra period, capitalizing on the momentum. Lazo took advantage of a miscommunication by the Wildcats’ defense to make a steal and break in on the goal alone. He beat the goalie on the left side for the winner.
“I’m still reeling from it,” Bowie Coach Richard Kirkland said. “It’s a neat feeling.”
Bowie junior goalie Brady Mazzei deserved much of the credit for making the comeback possible. Despite dominating play throughout the night, Walter Johnson didn’t add to the lead. Mazzei came up with several impressive saves, including two sprawling second-half stops on breakaway opportunities.
Those efforts proved important when the Bulldogs (13-5) launched into their comeback and earned the chance to celebrate.
The Wildcats finished 17-1-1.
“It feels so good,’ said LeMaster, who was on the last Bowie championship team in 2008. “I can’t even think right now. It’s great.”