Two defensive miscues by a depleted Oakland Mills squad and stellar play by the Bowie defense enabled the third-ranked Bulldogs to shut out the top-ranked Scorpions, 2-0, yesterday at Oakland Mills.
Oakland Mills (2-1), the No. 1 team in the area according to The Washington Post preseason poll, played without four senior starters, three of whom were suspended from school this week for non-academic reasons.
A fourth player, star midfielder Malcolm Gilliam, injured an ankle in last week's win over Calvert Hall.
Fullbacks Ryan Burke and Dan Bickell and forward Mike Fitzgibbon are lost for an indefinite period, said Coach Don Shea, possibly all season.
"I can't understand how those kids can decide to do a stupid thing like this the day before a big game," Bowie Coach Rich Kirkland said. "It's a shame."
But Bowie (1-0) is coping with other matters.
The Bulldogs are wearing black armbands in memory of Donnie Zukowski, the starting goalkeeper killed in a car accident this summer.
Then, before the season started, Zukowski's replacement, Jason Spring, was declared academically ineligible.
In addition, all-American midfielder Mark Jonas, who is trying out for the U.S. national under-16 team, missed the game and, according to Maryland rules that forbid players from missing a game or practice to be with another team, could be declared ineligible for the season. Bowie is attempting to appeal the rule, aimed at club teams rather than national tryouts.
The absences clearly affected Oakland Mills more than Bowie.
Todd Hicks scored 8:15 into the match, when the Scorpions' first-year goalkeeper, Tony Richmond, dropped a cross from Dave Briles. Richmond appeared to collect the cross cleanly but as he fell the ball popped out and bounced directly to Hicks, who tapped in the easy five-footer.
The Bulldogs immediately dropped into a defensive style of play and succeeded in neutralizing all-American Clint Peay and the rest of the Scorpions' attack.
In fact, the Bowie defense was so successful, inexperienced goalkeeper Blake Hunter was forced to make only two saves.
"The defense made the saves for him," Shea said. "Their defense shut us down. The goalie was the one we thought we could beat, but we never got the chance."
Oakland Mills was not without its chances, however. The ball was sent into the middle of the goal area nine times on powerful throw-ins by Wallace Chandler, but each time the Scorpions were unable to convert.
With four minutes left and Oakland Mills more aggressive, Bowie forward Seth Brannon put the game out of reach with a goal from 15 yards.