No. 1 Patriots lightin' up record books

October 25, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

The records keep falling for the No. 1 Thomas Johnson boys. And there's no real reason to think the Patriots can't keep up their shattering pace for a few more weeks.

Wednesday night, the Patriots (14-0-1, 7-0-1) tied Century, 1-1, for their first-ever undefeated regular season. The 14 wins also equals the school record established by last year's 14-3-1 squad, which won the East region before falling to eventual state champ Magruder in the state semifinals.

With Wednesday's tie, TJ, the top seed in the Class 4A East region, also secured its first Central Maryland Conference title since 1999.


"Our goals in the beginning were to win the county title, which we did, the conference title, which we did, and to get the top seed in the region, which we have," said TJ coach Mitch Rubin. "Now, we hope to win the regional title again, obviously, and a state championship."

Individually, some Patriots have also been knocking off some goals. Senior midfielder Jeff Swanson scored TJ's lone goal Wednesday for his school-record 15th score of the season, besting Pete Quinn's 10-year-old mark of 14.

Senior striker Lucas Dowiak registered the assist against Century, giving him 10 for the season, two more than his school-record eight from last year.

"We've decided to attack a bit more than in the past," said Rubin. "But the biggest thing is just individual talent. Lucas is a dynamite, skilled attacker, and Jeff ... people are saying he might be the best player in the state."

Defensively, the Patriots feature junior keeper Gladimir Elysee, who's posted seven shutouts this season, one shy of the school record. Yet, his 13 career saves are a school record, passing the 11 Andrew Funch ended with in 1998.

Of course, it's taken a lot more than a few individuals to carry TJ's load this fall.

"We're undefeated and we haven't had the same starting lineup twice in back-to-back games," said Rubin. "We've had injuries and suspensions, but we've just had a great contribution from 24 kids. We get numbers across the board. That's what makes us so dangerous. Every night it can be someone else. We're just a great team."

Now, the Patriots are preparing for another team run in the postseason. After a first-round bye, they face Monday's Glen Burnie-Arundel winner Thursday in the quarterfinals.

Despite all of his team's successes this season, Rubin isn't taking anything for granted.

"The region is just hellacious. There are some unbelievable teams," said Rubin. "South River, Old Mill and Frederick are all fantastic. Any of us four could win it, and there are three or four others that could make a run."

Smokin' Leopards

No school is hotter right now than Smithsburg. And with the postseason right around the corner, it obviously couldn't come at a better time for both teams.

The No. 8 Leopard girls (10-4) have won four straight by a combined score of 21-3. Meanwhile, the Smithsburg boys (10-4-1) have yet to lose in October, having won six straight by a combined score of 17-2.

Mid-Penn All-Stars

Several area boys have been named Mid-Penn All-Stars.

James Buchanan leads the charges in the Colonial Division, as striker Matt Myers is the Colonial Player of the Year, Tyler Appleby is a first-team defender, and Eric Guyer is the Coach of the Year.

Greencastle defender Tyler Mowen and strikers Jared Barkdoll and Matt Mohler are on the second team.

In the Keystone Division, Waynesboro defender Andrew Eshleman and striker Nick Kipe are on the first team, as is Chambersburg midfielder Joey Lapinsky.

Chambersburg keeper Mike Hepner and defenders Tim Brenzie and Colby Nitterhouse are on the second team.

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