What are the best high school teams in Frederick this fall?
Thanks to the coronavirus, we’ll likely have to wait until next spring to find out. The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association postponed fall and winter sports until after the first semester, which ends in January, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
So to help fill the void, The Frederick News-Post thought it would be fun to ask readers to pick the best Frederick County high school teams of all-time in each sport.
Each week, we’ll feature a sport and list contenders from years past in that sport. Readers can visit www.fredericknewspost.com to vote for the team they think is best. We’ll do this for all sports, fall, winter and spring.
Each Thursday, when we list candidates for another sport, we’ll reveal the team from the previous week’s sport that got the most votes.
This week’s sport: Boys Soccer. May the best team win.
1972 Walkersville Lions
Record: 13-1, Class B-C state champion
The 1972 Walkersville Lions, coached by Tom Ford, became the first Frederick County boys soccer team to win an MPSSAA state title. In the state final, the Lions beat Pocomoke 2-1 in overtime on a goal by Bradley Grimes. In the District I playoffs, Walkersville rolled to a 4-0 win over Clear Spring, getting a shutout from keeper Dave Remsberg, before beating Mt. Savage in the final. Walkersville’s lone loss came to Middletown, but the Lions later beat the Knights 3-2 in the county title match, getting a decisive goal from Danny Crum.
1973 Middletown Knights
Record: 15-1, Class C state champion
Middletown’s first MPSSAA boys soccer champion, this team was coached by Cecil Keller and featured a high-powered offense that scored 87 goals in 16 matches, with the final two coming in a 2-0 win over Rising Sun in the state final. Senior Tim Fawley led the way, scoring an astounding 40 goals. But if opponents focused on containing him, they ran the risk of giving opportunities to other scoring threats like seniors Brian Sheffler and Jay Rhoderick and underclassmen Chuck Nichols and Mark Sheffler. That foursome combined for 41 goals and 44 assists. The defense included anchors Steve Martin and Gil Slacum and keeper Steve Stroup, while the midfield was bolstered by Kenny Keyser, Mic Gaver, Richard Axline and Rich Fulton. The Knights’ lone loss came against reigning state champ Walkersville, but the Knights defeated the Lions later that season in a playoff game.
1990 Brunswick Railroaders
Record: 15-2-1, Class 1A state champion
Heading into the 1990 postseason, the Railroaders had never won an MPSSAA playoff game. But once they started winning in the postseason, there was no stopping them. Under coach Alan Lescalleet, Brunswick won its first state crown, rolling to a 4-1 win over Havre de Grace in the state final. The Railroaders featured a player people in local soccer circles still rave about, Chris Doyle. As a junior midfielder in 1990, Doyle was named the Frederick News-Post Offensive Player of the Year, and he ended up earning all-state honors three times in his stellar career. He would go on to star at Division I Loyola, being named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 1995, and played professionally for the Rochester Rhinos (A-League). Other key contributors included Pat Darling, Randy Martin (who scored two goals in the state final), Jack Bentley, Jason Partyka and Kevin Conley. Brunswick’s losses came to perennial power Middletown and Hedgesville, and it tied South Hagerstown. Lescalleet later returned as head coach and guided the Railroaders to their third state title in 2014.
1993 Middletown Knights
Record: 15-0-1, Class 2A state champion
Relatively recent advances, such as a proliferation of club players and turf fields, seemingly give modern county soccer teams an advantage over those from past eras. But this 27-year-old Middletown team would likely hold its own, at the very least, against any Frederick County team of the 2000s and 2010s. Its cornerstone was a pair of stars, senior midfielder Peter Medd and junior striker Matt DeOrsey, who would both go on to enjoy stellar careers at Division I Towson University and play professionally. Those two all-state picks were surrounded by several other playmakers, including Michael Silverman and keeper Jeff Lowe, who also earned all-state honors, Jerry Nunziato, Eric Huckleberry, Jimmy Vandre, Jerome Moore, Basil Talonu, keeper Randy Strohmeyer and defender Greg Sandi. And all that talent was coached by the legendary Bob Sheffler, who also guided the program to a state crown in 1980. In 1993, Middletown outscored opponents 73-18, beating Fallston (which had outscored opponents 13-0 in the postseason before meeting the Knights) 3-1 in the state final. As another coach who has a team on this list said about the 1993 Knights, “They were ahead of their time.”
2006 Thomas Johnson Patriots
Record: 17-1, Class 4A state co-champion
This is the only Frederick County team to win a 4A boys soccer title, which the Patriots shared after playing to a scoreless tie with Walter Johnson in the final (the MPSSAA didn’t use PKs to break ties after overtime periods back then). After losing its season-opener to Broadneck, the Patriots won their next 17 matches, including a victory over Broadneck in the state semis. This was the first state title as a Frederick County head coach for Mitch Rubin, who would later guide Oakdale’s girls and boys teams to state crowns. Rubin said TJ was loaded with athletes, including five players who played college soccer and a couple Division I track recruits. TJ sweeper Jason Kremer was named Frederick News-Post Defensive Player of the Year, bolstering a unit that posted 11 shutouts and gave up just nine goals in 19 games. Stephen Powell marked opponents’ best player, Jason Koski heaved long throw-ins that helped him set a single-season record for assists (15), midfielder Rob Scherer earned all-state honors, keeper Drew Nicholas recorded eight shutouts and Michael Thomas had eight goals and 10 assists to finish second on the program’s all-time scoring list.
2012 Brunswick Railroaders
Record: 17-1-2, Class 1A state champion
One of Brunswick’s non regular-season setbacks shows just how good this team was — the Railroaders lost in PKs to eventual Class 3A finalist Urbana in the county championship match. Coached by Ken Putnam (who is now the Hood College men’s soccer coach), the Railroaders won the program’s second state title in dominant fashion, stomping Washington 7-2 in the state championship match. This team featured Frederick News-Post Offensive Player of the Year and all-state second-team pick Drew Demich, who scored four goals in the 1A final and finished with a county-best 26 goals in 2012. He broke Brunswick’s all-time career goals record, which had been held by Putnam. The Railroaders didn’t rely solely on Demich, though. They also had contributors like Nathaniel Eiben (16 goals, 22 assists), Joe Fawley (seven goals, 11 assists) and defender Dain Polyniak. The Railroaders’ lone regular-season loss came to Middletown.
2013 Urbana Hawks
Record: 20-0, Class 3A state champion
By 2013, Urbana was a perennial state power under coach Scott Schartner, but the Hawks put together a season that year that ranks among the finest in Frederick County history. The Hawks are the only team on this list that won every match they played in a season, and their perfect mark was complete when they beat Northern-Calvert 4-1 in the 3A final for their first state crown (they won another under Schartner in 2016). The Hawks were led by senior William Eskay, a difference maker who went on to star at William & Mary (where he was a three-time All-CAA selection) and professionally with the Harrisburg Heat of the Major Arena Soccer League (he made the MASL’s Top Newcomers list as a defender). A landslide pick for Frederick News-Post Offensive Player of the Year honors and all-state first-team pick in 2013, Eskay scored 28 goals (including two in the state final) to lead the county and set a team record. He also had 13 assists and finished as the Hawks’ all-time points leader. Other threats on this talent-laden team included midfielder Spencer Allgaier, who earned second-team all-state honors, and Brett Labonte, who had 16 goals and six assists. Urbana’s defense also came up big, posting 12 shutouts and giving up just 10 goals all season. Urbana keeper Brian Howell, who earned Frederick News-Post Defensive Player of the Year honors, recorded 10.5 shutouts and was an all-state honorable mention. Senior defender Karl Maier also helped the Hawks stay stingy.
2015 Oakdale Bears
Record: 17-3-1, Class 3A state champion
Several key players who helped the Bears win the 2014 2A state crown — the program’s first — returned to help the team win the Class 3A title under head coach Dan Mulcahy. Keeper Dakota Harich, who was named Frederick News-Post Defensive Player of the Year and made the all-state second team, posted 13 shutouts and had a 0.45 GAA. Joe Gula had a team-high 12 goals, added five assists and consistently won 50-50 balls. Brian Flatter had 11 goals and 12 assists, scoring the decisive goal in the region final over Tuscarora and two goals in a 3-0 win over CM Wright in the state final. Two of Oakdale’s losses came to Urbana, including a 1-0 defeat in the CMC championship match, and the other came to Mount Hebron. No shame there — the following season, Urbana beat Mount Hebron 1-0 in the 3A state final.
2016 Middletown Knights
Record: 19-1, Class 2A state champion.
The Knights defended their 2015 state crown with authority, boasting a stingy defense and a spread-the-wealth offense that coach Jeff Colsh put to good use. Middletown’s lone loss came in the CMC title match to eventual Class 3A state champ Urbana, a team it beat earlier in the season (that was the only loss for those Hawks). The Knights gave up just 10 goals all season and posted 13 shutouts, including a team-record 11.5 by keeper Ethan Remsberg (.41 GAA). The final shutout, 1-0, came against Fallston in the state final. Will Miller, an all-state second-team pick, helped anchor the defense. The offense got vital contributions from Josh Woozley (who led the county with 19 goals), Luke Ahalt, Grant Brandenburg, Evan Joseph and Owen Smith, who combined for 45 of Middletown’s 65 goals and 37 of its 52 assists.