Its season has been filled with the strangest of circumstances and unlikeliest of heroes.

But when No. 5 Broadneck (9-2-4) meets Bowie (15-0-0), ranked first in the area and second in the nation, in the Maryland Class 4A final tonight at Old Mill at 7:30, the Bruins think that maybe destiny will be on their side.

Broadneck is playing in its first state championship in the school's nine-year history. Coach Kevin McMullen's teams have advanced to the state semifinals twice before, losing in 1984 and 1986.

But this season the Bruins, after beginning the season 2-1-1, played to three scoreless ties, approximately 300 minutes without scoring a goal.

"We were still doing some very good things," said McMullen, who is 83-30-9 in nine years. "And the kids were still giving a very good effort. I felt that if we continued to play in the same manner, things would begin to click and we would break out of it."

Senior forward Rich Aftoora, who leads the team with 11 goals and six assists, looked at the three ties optimistically.

"I know that the ties helped us out in many games because of the pressure that comes from playing overtime," he said. "And the shape you get in from having to play all that extra soccer has also helped us out."

McMullen made one surprising change, moving junior fullback Matt Weimer to forward. The move paid dividends as Weimer scored eight of the Bruins' 16 goals in the final four games. The defense also finished strong, allowing just one goal.

Broadneck received a boost from another unlikely source when senior forward Brad Reinhart, who previously had scored only five goals, completed his second hat trick of the season to lead Broadneck over Wootton, 3-0, in the state semifinals. Reinhart's first three-goal game came in the opening game against Queen Anne.

"I was just in the right place at the right time," Reinhart said afterward.

But this isn't a boastful team. The Bruins, as Aftoora said, are just happy to be in the final. "It's a real big privilige to be here. I'm proud to be captain of the first Broadneck soccer team to make it to the state championship," said Aftoora.

The Bruins have outscored opponents by 31-10 and said they realize they are huge underdogs to Bowie, which defeated them, 2-1, in a preseason scrimmage.