Tom Stickles has coached soccer at Northwestern High School for 23 years, but last Wednesday's 2-1 upset at Bowie had to be one of his greatest victories. It end the Bulldogs' 17-game winning streak.
"Defeating the (Class AA) state champion is always a great thrill, but we thought we could beat them," said Stickles, who returned 10 starters from last season's 5-4 squad. "We're quicker and more talented than Bowie. It was just a matter of discipline and organization."
Bowie outplayed the Wildcats in the first half and led, 1-0, on Joey Hughes' goal. But Northwestern dominated the second half. Conrad Williams tied the game and was assisted by Conrad Hackett. Malcolm Stanford followed his own shot and powered it past goalie Tony Mazzei for the game-winner 25 minutes into the half.
"We've got three 6-foot, 190-pounders on our offensive line and they're so quick and strong that defenders just can't stay with them," said Stickles, whose team lost three 1-0 matches last season. "Everyone recognized that this was the game for us. In Prince George's County, the season always starts with the question, 'Who can challenge Bowie?' "
Beating Bowie takes exceptional defense and Northwestern had it in sweeper Greg Blair and goalie P.J. Johnson, who had seven saves.
"We played well offensively, but we won the game with our defense," said Stickles. "We didn't play Bowie last year and 46 of our 52 players are foreign-born, so there wasn't that much rivalry going into the game.
"But after playing each other, both teams have a healthy respect for each other. I just don't wish to play them again any time soon."
Top performances of the week: De Matha's Mike Anderson scored four touchdowns and rushed for 143 yards to help the Stags beat Northwestern of Baltimore, 42-21. Anderson leads the area in scoring with 54 points. Bart Drummond kicked a 16-yard field goal in overtime, scored two touchdowns and rushed for 130 yards to lead Whitman to a 31-28 victory against Meade. Drummond is the son of former Wilson High School and George Washington University fullback Dick Drummond. High Point's Billy Henson caught a 60-yard scoring pass, then blocked the potential game-winning field goal in overtime as the Eagles stopped Crossland, 13-10. Lackey's Keith Whitaker scored three toucdowns, one on a pass interception, to help beat Great Mills, 21-7. Rodney Spencer rushed for 119 yards and scored twice as Glen Burnie beat Andover, 25-14.
Wheaton does not have a field hockey team this season. Coach Pat Abell had just six players try out. Blair and Paint Branch also don't have teams. Wheaton forward Donna Collier has received a waiver to transfer to Kennedy, while the others can practice and play with Peary's team this season. Knights Coach Pat Abell expects the program to resume next year when the school will receive students from Peary, which will close in June